Saturday, 13 June 2009

Ten Cholesterol Lowering Food Tips

Cholesterol lowering food in combination with a healthy fit lifestyle has been proven over and over again to be one of the most effective ways of lowering cholesterol naturally.

More people than ever before have high cholesterol even with millions of dollars being spent each year to try and educate people on this problem.

Unfortunately, instead of focusing on such things as cholesterol lowering food the emphasis for dealing with this health problem has been on 'statin' drugs. Drugs are never a good idea and when it comes to the 'statins' it's even worse.

So, how can you lower cholesterol naturally without taking risky prescription medication?

As mentioned above using your diet to lower cholesterol with the help of cholesterol lowering food is a very good place to start.

There are of course other ways of lowering cholesterol naturally such as adding cholesterol lowering vitamins to your health regime, making exercise an important part of your life, etc. but in this article we'll stick with cholesterol lowering food and food additives.

Before going any further it's important that you understand the difference between LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. You always hear these terms repeated on the news but what's the difference between them?

In simplest terms HDL cholesterol is healthy for you. You body needs it. On the other hand LDL cholesterol is the bad guy. LDL helps to cause heart disease by allowing cholesterol to build up in your arteries.

Cholesterol lowering food tip #1. Sandwich's are good to eat for lunch or when you're in a rush. Use whole wheat bread or a pita with some either lean turkey, chicken, tuna or most other fish along with vegetables.

Please avoid high cholesterol, processed meats such as hot dogs, bologna, and salami. Some condiments are ok to add to your sandwich, but avoid mayo.

Cholesterol lowering food tip #2. As part of a good diet to lower cholesterol eat fish such as salmon. The wild red salmon varieties are better and healthier for you because they contain high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids (also known as Essential Fatty Acids - EFA).

If you can't find a good source of salmon use an EFA supplement. These come as flax seed oil, fish oil or a combination of both.

Cholesterol lowering food tip #3. Look at food labels and stay away from all foods containing Trans fats. Trans fats will increase the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood stream and decrease the good HDL cholesterol.

Foods that contain trans fats include margarine, vegetable shortening, most processed foods, some types of peanut butter and foods that contain partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

Cholesterol lowering food tip #4. Feel free to occasionally snack on different varieties of nuts. The best are walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews, and pecans. While it's true that most nuts are high in fat, they contain good fat that your body needs.

Cholesterol lowering food tip #5. Even though it's very tough for most people, try to keep a tight rein on the amount of desserts you eat each week. If you absolutely must have a desert after a meal try to eat only healthier ones such as angel food cake, graham crackers, Jell-O, and yogurt.

Cholesterol lowering food tip #6. Include high fiber foods in your diet to lower cholesterol. Some good choices include whole wheat bread, oatmeal (not the high sugar flavored type), fruit, vegetables, beans, and certain cereals.

Cholesterol lowering food tip #7. Always eat lean meat and use a grill or a barbeque to cook them. This way the harmful grease will just fall away.

Cholesterol lowering tip #8. Salads are good, but most salad dressings, bacon bits, croutons, etc. aren't. Try to use olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice.

Cholesterol lowering tip #9. As far as a diet to lower cholesterol is concerned, most fruits and vegetables being high in nutrients and antioxidants are very good.

The best are: green peas, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, oranges, mangos, papaya, pineapple, tomato, garlic, onions, spinach, water chestnuts, bananas, apricots, blueberries, and kiwi.

Cholesterol lowering tip #10. Fast foods and fast food restaurants should be avoided at all times. Yes a lot of burger joints are now offering "healthier" choices but why get tempted?

As mentioned earlier in this article there are many other ways to lower your cholesterol, but sticking to a diet to lower cholesterol is a very good place to start.

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Must Have List Of Foods That Lower Cholesterol

Cholesterol is present in our bodies by one of two ways; our liver produces cholesterol and we eat foods containing cholesterol. High amounts of cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol that is bad for us, can lead to many health complications and significantly increase your risk of heart diseases.

While there are many foods that are high in LDL cholesterol, there are a lot, which can actually help to lower your LDL cholesterol levels and increase your HDL cholesterol or the good cholesterol. Here's a list of foods that lower cholesterol, which is a must have for anyone who is trying to reduce their LDL levels and increase their HDL levels.

Apples: Everyone has heard of the saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". Well, apples are also very good for lowering your LDL cholesterol levels. 2 full apples, or 12 ounces of apple juice, if taken everyday, can reduce your risk of heart diseases by as much as 50%.

Garlic: Garlic helps to lower LDL cholesterol and thins your blood naturally. This prevents clogging up of arteries and thus lowers your risk of heart diseases.

Onions: Eating just half a raw onion everyday can increase your HDL levels by 25% and lower your LDL as well.

Beans and Legumes: These contain soluble fiber which helps to increase your HDL cholesterol and reduce your LDL cholesterol. All kinds of beans and legumes such as pinto, kidney, black-eyed, lentils, pink beans, etc are good for your heart.

Unsaturated Fats: Contrary to the misconception that all kinds of fat are bad for you, unsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids can actually be good for your heart. Monounsaturated fats (olive oil, canola, peanut, and almond oil) and polyunsaturated fats (corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil etc) increase the HDL cholesterol and lower the LDL cholesterol and are thus good for your heart.

Other Cholesterol Lowering Foods: Oats, fenugreek, artichokes, turmeric, guggul, green tea, nuts, and black tea, are all known to lower LDL cholesterol in your body.

Of course, diet is no substitute for a doctor’s care when you are ill. Diet and nutrition represent "the other side of the coin" and always inform your doctor whenever you make a dietary change, especially if you are on a pharmaceutical drug.

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Low Cholesterol Foods and Lowering Your Cholesterol

Low Cholesterol foods - diet necessity or diet nonsense?

Low cholesterol foods are all the rage. Virtually every newspaper, magazine, even TV ads trumpet the latest "low-fat", "low-cholesterol" or "cholesterol lowering" yoghurt , spread or even chocolate! These low cholesterol foods must be good news, mustn't it? Well yes, of course.....if you buy the "cholesterol kills you" propaganda from the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Cholesterol is an essential component of thousands of body processes, not least the majority of hormones, especially the sex hormones. Without cholesterol, these body processes would not be able to take place properly and the body would fall into disprepair (otherwise known as disease). Consequently, low cholesterol foods and foods that lower cholesterol may actually have a detrimental effect on many body processes. Blindly using chemicals (because that is what is in these "foods") to lower cholesterol disregards the actual CAUSE of the problem (for an in-depth report, see cholesterol) which will almost invariably correct itself if the cause of high cholesterol is removed.

What are low cholesterol foods?

Some low cholesterol foods are simply foods that have had their cholesterol removed. Whilst totally unnatural, these are probably the least unhealthy low cholesterol foods. Other low cholesterol foods have had their healthy, natural fats replaced with unhealthy, unnatural and downright dangerous plastics known as hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are high in trans-fats. These are highly dangerous chemicals that are implicated in many fat-related diseases.

A third group of "low cholesterol foods" (or claimed "cholesterol lowering foods") have apeared in recent years which give similar cause for concern. Many manufacturers have recently released products that are not only low in cholesterol (which is, of course utterly irrelevant) but which act chemically in the body to reduce cholesterol levels still further.

This is not good news for a body that has raised its cholesterol levels - a perfectly natural and healthy thing for it to do - the body does not increase cholesterol levels for the fun of it - the cholesterol levels are tightly controlled by the liver and the amount of cholesterol in the blood is totally unrelated to the amount of cholesterol in the diet (see cholesterol). As a consequence low cholesterol foods are a complete nonsense and may do more harm than good.

Do yourself a favour, inf out more about cholesterol, what it is, what it does and avoid low cholesterol foods completely!

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Foods Can Lower Cholesterol and C-reactive Protein

If you have high cholesterol, the American Heart Association’s low-cholesterol, low-saturated fat diet will fail you. Even when applied conscientiously, it achieves a disappointingly modest reduction in LDL cholesterol of approximately 7%. Starting at an LDL cholesterol of 150 mg/dl, for instance, you would drop to 139. It’s no surprise that many people turn to alternative diets (Ornish, Pritikin, Zone, etc.) to get a bigger bang. And no surprise that many physicians go directly to statin agents for their nearly effortless 35% or greater reduction.

The Adult Treatment Panel-III (ATP-III) is a committee of experts charged with developing guidelines for cholesterol treatment for Americans. The latest ATP guidelines suggest the use of fibers for a nutritional advantage in lowering cholesterol. Despite the ATP-III’s endorsement, however, there has been no ”real-world” data that documents the LDL-lowering effectiveness of combinations of fibers and other foods added to an AHA Step II low-fat diet (fat 30% of calories). Dr. David Jenkins from the Clinical Nutrition & Risk Factor Modification Center at St Michael's Hospital, Toronto has therefore explored such a multi-ingredient program, reported in the Journal of the American Medicine Association1. He calls this program the “dietary portfolio,” highlighting the inclusion of several different healthy foods combined to achieve the goal of lowering cholesterol.

The study enrolled 46 adults (25 men, 21 post-menopausal women) with a mean age of 59 years. All participants were free of known heart disease, diabetes, and none were taking any cholesterol-lowering agents. Baseline LDL cholesterol was 171 mg/dl for all participants. Three groups were designated: 1) Viscous fiber, phytosterols, and almond diet, the so-called “dietary portfolio”; 2) Control diet (AHA Step II); and 3) Control diet with lovastatin 20 mg/day (a cholesterol-lowering statin drug). Cholesterol panels were reassessed after a four week period in each arm. All diets had equal calorie content.

The dietary portfolio provided 1.0 g of phytosterols (a soy bean derivative) per 1000 kcal; 9.8 g viscous fibers (as oat bran and oat products, barley, and psyllium seed) per 1000 kcal; 21.4 g soy protein per 1000 kcal; and 14 g (around 12 almonds) per 1000 kcal. A typical 2400 kcal diet would therefore provide 2.4 g phytosterols (2 tbsp Take Control or Benecol), 24 g viscous fiber, 51 g soy protein, and 34 g of almonds (around 34 almonds). Average fiber intake for participants was an impressive 78 g/day. (The average American takes in a meager 14 g/day.)

The control diet was also abundant in fiber at 57 g/day, but contained little of the viscous variety, as the primary fiber sources were whole wheat products which lack viscous fibers. The diet was otherwise very similar to the dietary portfolio in fat and cholesterol content, protein, and total calories.

The dietary portfolio achieved an impressive 28% reduction in LDL cholesterol. Unexpectedly, there was also a 30% reduction in C-reactive protein (CRP), a popular measure of inflammation. The results achieved with the dietary portfolio were virtually identical to the results obtained with lovastatin. The control diet achieved a paltry 8% reduction in LDL and a 10% reduction in CRP. Interestingly, a third of the participants in the dietary portfolio group reported that there was too much food (given the satiety-effect of fiber rich foods). This was the group that lost the most weight, though only a modest 1 lb.


Dr. Jenkins’ portfolio of fiber-rich foods had the same effects on LDL cholesterol and CRP as a moderate dose of lovastatin. This is quite remarkable, given the relative failure of the diets usually prescribed to improve cholesterol values. Conventional diets, in fact, have been so ineffective that some physicians have abandoned the use of dietary recommendations in their practices.

The fiber-rich foods used in the dietary portfolio are readily available and inexpensive. Though the specific components used in the study have each been shown to lower LDL cholesterol when used independently, the combination has not been examined. Many would likely have predicted that, in view of the similar mechanisms of LDL-reduction among the various components of the portfolio, the LDL lowering effect would not exceed 15%. (Soy protein is the only component with a significantly different mechanism of action—suppression of liver synthesis of cholesterol.)

Instead, this powerful combination achieved an impressive 28% reduction, as good as the prescription agent lovastatin. (In our experience with this approach, LDL cholesterol typically drops 30 to 50 points, sometimes more.)

The high-fiber approach of the dietary portfolio significantly exceeds the fiber intake of the average American. As a practical matter, people who elect to follow this program should introduce each component gradually and drink plentiful water, as constipation can result if hydration in inadequate.

To reproduce the LDL and CRP benefits of the dietary portfolio, a practical combination would be:

• Oat bran—1/4 cup (uncooked) + 3 tsp psyllium seed

• Soy protein powder—6 tbsp/day

• Almonds—34 or approximately 2 handfuls/day

• Take Control or Benecol 2 tbsp/day

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