Robert Eckel, MD, an endocrinologist and past president of the American Heart Association states – Diet Makes a Difference.
If you follow the National Cholesterol Education Program’s (NCEP) Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet, or way of living — which entails reducing saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, losing weight, and eating more soluble fiber — you can slash your LDL cholesterol by as much as 20 to 30 percent.
In addition to cutting out cholesterol-raising foods, make sure you eat more of the following foods as part of your cholesterol-lowering plan.
· Oats and Barley: Whole grains are among the best sources of soluble fiber, which blocks your body’s ability to absorb cholesterol and “is your best friend” in lowering LDL cholesterol.
· Beans and Other Legumes: Beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts are also excellent sources of soluble fiber.
· Green Tea: According to a new meta-analysis of 14 studies, Green Tea significantly reduced total and LDL cholesterol levels.
· Oils: While butter and other solid fats raise cholesterol, the unsaturated fats in oils help lower it. Polyunsaturated fats, found primarily in corn, safflower, sesame, soybean, and sunflower oil, slash LDL cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats, found mainly in olive, avocado, and canola oil, not only lower LDL but may also raise HDL.
· Nuts: Good source of fiber, protein, and monounsaturated fats.
· Plant Sterol- or Stanol-Fortified Foods: These plant compounds are found naturally in small amounts in certain fruits and vegetables, oils, nuts, seeds, and grains. Higher amounts may be found in certain fortified foods. They help prevent cholesterol from being absorbed, which can lower LDL without negatively impacting HDL cholesterol.
· Soy: High in fiber, low in saturated fat, and cholesterol free. Soy is the only complete plant-based protein, which means it’s an equal swap for animal sources like meat and dairy. However, soy is a phytoestrogen-containing food, therefore is may raise estrogen levels and in men, lower testosterone. Flax products contain even more copious amounts phytoestrogen. Beware.
· Psyllium: 10 to 12 grams of blond psyllium per day can decrease LDL cholesterol by 5 to 10 percent. i.e., Metamucil.
· Red Wine or Grape Juice: Red wine, because its polyphenol antioxidants, has shown that it can raise levels of good HDL cholesterol by as much as 5 to 15% and also lower LDL levels. If you’re not into vino, grape juice can provide some of the same heart-healthy benefits.
· Cocoa: A meta-analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that cocoa or dark chocolate consumption, in moderation, lowered LDL cholesterol by more than 5 mg/dL in people at risk of heart disease.
· Tomatoes: Consuming 25 mg of lycopene (the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red pigment) daily can reduce LDL by about 10%.
· Fruits and Vegetables: Produce high in soluble fiber should ALWAYS be part of any cholesterol-lowering diet.
Man Alive Team DPM