Limitations Of The Study
Patel said one of the limitations of the study is that researchers did not follow people longer than 28 days. So its unknown if LDL cholesterol levels would drop more in people taking one of the dietary supplements for a longer time.
Still, statins typically start to work within about a month, he said, so I think if we were going to see any change, it would happen during this time.
The Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade association for the dietary supplement industry, released a statement November 6 in response to the study, saying, dietary supplements are not intended to be quick fixes and their effects may not be revealed during the course of a study that only spans four weeks, particularly on a multifactorial condition like high cholesterol.
Even more perplexing is the researchers selection of the supplements in the study, the council said in their statement. Its as if the study was set up for misdirection and failure of the supplements. While all the supplements included in the study are well-recognized for their benefits related to heart health, only three are marketed for their cholesterol-lowering benefits.
Some research supports the longer-term impact of certain dietary supplements.
One review of previous studies found that people taking krill oil which contains similar omega-3 fatty acids as fish oil saw a larger drop in LDL cholesterol when they used this dietary supplement for more than 12 weeks.
Substitute Soy For Dairy
Add Foods Fortified With Sterols And Stanols
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What Makes Up A Heart
Eat lots of fruits, vegetables and plant-based foods
Vegetables, pulses , fruits, nuts, seeds and wholegrains are full of nutrients and good for your cholesterol and your heart. Go for at least five portions of fruit and veg a day to stay healthy and help you eat less high-calorie foods. Fresh, frozen, canned and dried all count.
Eat a variety of healthy sources of protein such as peas, beans, lentils, fish, nuts, chicken and lean red meat.
These foods are high in protein and nutrients but low in saturated fat. If you eat red meat, make sure it’s lean and watch the quantity. Eat less meat and more plant foods by swapping some meat-based meals for vegetarian options.
Eat some low-fat dairy products or fortified dairy alternatives
Dairy foods contain calcium which is essential for good health. Choose low fat options to avoid the saturated fat. When choosing dairy alternatives, go for unsweetened, calcium-fortified varieties.
Swap saturated fats for heart-healthy fats
Choose vegetable-based spreads and oils instead of butter, lard, ghee, coconut and palm oil to cut down on saturated fat.
Include starchy foods which are high in fibre
Choose wholegrain options such as wholemeal bread and chapatti, brown rice, wholemeal pasta or wholegrain breakfast cereals. They contain lots of nutrients, as well as fibre which helps with digestion and keeps you feeling full so you dont snack. Choose these instead of white rice, white bread and white pasta.
Cut down on sugary foods and drinks
How To Eat To Lower Your Cholesterol
One of the biggest trends in diet and nutrition advice is a movement away from talking about specific micronutrients and optimal daily servings of this or that food group. Instead, nutrition experts now talk a lot more about broad patterns of healthy eating. This means limiting certain foods while prioritizing others, rather than trying to hit narrow targets.
Something I tell a lot of my patients is that the Greek derivation of diet is diaeta, which means a way of life, Sperling says. Dieting shouldnt be torture, or something you maintain for a month. It should be a meaningful and purposeful change you can extend throughout your life.
In this spirit, he says one of the most important changes you can make is to pack your meals with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. Many of the most effective and evidence-backed cholesterol-lowering eating planslike the Mediterranean dietprioritize these foods, he says.
She adds that protein-rich soy-based productsfrom tofu to soy milks and yogurtsmay also be good substitutes for meat, butter, milk, and other conventional saturated fat sources. People in America are fixated on protein, but Americans dont really like to eat soy products, she says. This is unfortunate because research stretching back several decades has linked soy to improved heart health and lower blood cholesterol levels. If you need to replace saturated fats with other proteins, soy would be a good option, she says.
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Cut Back On Sugar And Processed Carbs
Avoid Refined Sugars And Grains
Whole grains are another good source of fiber. Instead of refined flour and white rice, try whole-wheat flour and brown or wild rice. Old-fashioned oatmeal is also a good choice, but not the quick-cooking versions, which have had much of the fiber processed out.
And don’t substitute sugar for fat. “It’s one of the worst choices you can make,” McManus warns. Food manufacturers may boost the sugar content of low-fat salad dressings and sauces to add flavor. If you see sugar, corn syrup, or any word ending in “ose” near the top of the list of ingredients, choose a higher-fat version without trans fats instead.
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Medications Can Lower Ldl And Triglycerides
To get cholesterol and triglycerides into the target zone, many people with diabetes need to add medications to their healthy eating and exercise plans. Reducing elevated LDL cholesterol is typically the top priority. To achieve the target goals, many people need to take a medication in the statin category.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that statin therapy be added for people who have:
- a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and whose LDL cholesterol doesn’t hit the target of 100 mg/dl or less with healthy lifestyle change.
- cardiovascular disease and who don’t reach the LDL cholesterol target of 70 mg/dl or less.
Statin medications are most effective at lowering LDL cholesterol. All medications should be prescribed and monitored by a health care provider.
Common statins include:
Other medications that lower both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides:
- Prescription-strength niacin
Other medications prescribed to lower LDL cholesterol:
- Bile acid sequestrants, such as Questran or Colestid
- Welchol , a bile acid sequestrant that can also lower blood glucose
Other medications prescribed to lower triglycerides:
- Prescription-strength fish-oil pills
Other medications to lower cholesterol and blood pressure:
Medications that have been found to increase triglycerides:
- Birth-control pills
- Tamoxifen, a breast cancer drug
How To Effectively Lower Your Ldl With A Healthy Diet
10 Tips to Lower Cholesterol With Your Diet Eat Foods Rich in Soluble Fiber. Humans lack the proper enzymes to break down soluble fiber, so it moves through your digestive tract, absorbing water and forming a thick Enjoy Lots of Fruits and Vegetables. Eating fruits and vegetables is an easy way to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Cook with Herbs and Spices. Eat a Variety of Unsaturated Fats.
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Consider Plant Sterols And Stanols
Multiple types of supplements show promise for managing cholesterol.
Plant stanols and sterols are plant versions of cholesterol. Because they resemble cholesterol, they are absorbed from the diet like cholesterol.
However, because parts of their chemistry are different from human cholesterol, they do not contribute to clogged arteries.
Instead, they reduce cholesterol levels by competing with human cholesterol. When plant sterols are absorbed from the diet, this replaces the absorption of cholesterol.
Small amounts of plant stanols and sterols are naturally found in vegetable oils and are added to certain oils and butter substitutes.
A research review reported that clinical studies show that taking 1.53 grams of plant sterols/stanols daily can reduce LDL concentration by 7.512%. Researchers said taking it with a main meal twice per day allows for optimal cholesterol-lowering .
Although research has established the cholesterol-lowering benefit of plant stanols and sterols, it has not yet proved that they decrease the risk of heart disease. Numerous clinical trials have suggested that plant sterols supplements and enriched foods may lower heart disease risk, but hard data is still lacking .
Plant stanols and sterols in vegetable oil or margarines compete with cholesterol absorption and reduce LDL by up to 20%. They are not proven to reduce heart disease.
How Long Does It Take For The Mediterranean Diet To Lower Cholesterol
The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy eating plan that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and fish and seafood. The diet also limits red meat, saturated fat, and refined carbs. Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and improve HDL cholesterol levels. One study showed that the Mediterranean diet lowered cholesterol by an average of 5% after eight weeks.
This meal plan will help you reduce your high cholesterol and improve your heart health while also keeping you energized. Genetics, diet, and exercise are among the factors that contribute to high cholesterol. If you want to lower your cholesterol, you can achieve this by adhering to the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes plant-based protein and whole grains. 1 cup whole-wheat English muffin is combined with 1 cup brown sugar. To make your lunches more healthy, replace one cup of peanut butter with one cup of chocolate. To make a snack of your choice, combine one-third cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds and one cup plain. A calorie intake of 2,000 calories should be included.
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Avoid Artificial Trans Fats
While trans fats occur naturally in red meat and dairy products, most peoples main source is artificial trans fat used in many restaurants and processed foods .
Artificial trans fats are produced by hydrogenating or adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats such as vegetable oils to change their structure and solidify them at room temperature.
Trans fats make a cheap alternative to natural saturated fats and have been widely used by restaurants and food manufacturers.
However, substantive research shows that eating artificial trans fats increases bad LDL cholesterol, lowers good HDL cholesterol and is linked to a 23% greater risk of heart disease (
Summary Artificial trans fats are linked to higher LDL cholesterol levels and an increased risk of heart disease. Recently, the US banned their use in restaurants and processed foods, making them easier to avoid.
Start Your Day With Grains
Swap granola, energy bars and breakfast cereals for whole grains to bring your cholesterol down. Whole wheat, oats, rye, wild rice and other whole grains are packed with fiber and contain little or no saturated fat. One cup of oats, for instance, boasts 16.5 grams of fiber and large doses of phosphorus, magnesium, iron and B vitamins. These nutrients promote cardiovascular and metabolic health.
According to a 2015 review published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, whole grains â especially oats â reduce total and LDL cholesterol, but not HDL cholesterol. Even though their hypocholesterolemic effect is lower than that of statins and other drugs, it still matters. A 1 percent reduction in cholesterol levels can lower coronary heart disease risk by as much as 3 percent.
Researchers attribute these benefits to the fiber in grains. Oat and barley, for example, are rich in beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that has been frequently shown to reduce blood lipids. The study also suggests that calorie restriction can help maximize these beneficial effects.
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What Causes High Cholesterol & How To Lower It:
High cholesterol can be caused by several factorsincluding family history. Lack of exercise, being overweight, an unhealthy diet , plus smoking can all play a role in raising your cholesterol. According to the CDC, a total cholesterol of over 200 mg/dL is considered high. However, there are no symptoms of high cholesterol, so be sure to have a discussion with your medical provider about getting your levels checked. Although high cholesterol doesn’t have symptoms, side effects of high cholesterol include heart attack and stroke, so it’s important to practice prevention and discuss your risk factors at your annual visit.
To reduce risk, there are several lifestyle changes we can make, like increasing exercise and focusing on a diet that is high in fiber and healthy unsaturated fats , while limiting excess sugar and saturated or trans fats. Plus, losing weight if you’re overweight can positively improve your cholesterol, so we set this plan at 1,500 calories, which is a level where most people will lose weight. We also included modifications for 1,200 or 2,000 calories a day, depending on your needs.
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Eat Foods High In Fiber
Eating foods that are high in fiber helps in many ways besides lowering LDL cholesterol. Foods that are high in soluble fiber are better at lowering LDL cholesterol. Its best to slowly increase the amount of fiber in your diet. This prevents stomach aches, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea. To increase the fiber in your diet:
Eat 2-4 servings of fruit and 4-8servings of non-starchy vegetables per day.
Make most of your grains wholegrains such as wheat, barley, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, oatmeal, or oat bran.
Have beans or nuts as a topping on salads or as the protein in a veggie wrap.
Include oat bran, oatmeal, barley, legumes, and ground flax seed more often as they are high in soluble fiber.
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Puree Fruits And Veggies For Baking
Pureed fruits or vegetables can be used in place of oil in muffin, cookie, cake and snack bar recipes to give your treats an extra healthy boost. For many recipes, use the specified amount of puree instead of oil. Check the mixs package or your cookbooks substitutions page for other conversions. You can:
- Use applesauce in spice muffins or oatmeal cookies.
- Include bananas in breads and muffins.
- Try zucchini in brownies.
Stop Smoking To Lower Cholesterol
The ADA recommends if you smoke to quit to improve diabetes management. Quitting smoking can also improve your overall health and reduce your risk of cancer.
There are numerous programs, support systems, and medications available to help you quit smoking. Studies show it might take a few tries to quit your smoking habit for good. Not smoking when you have diabetes can help you reduce your risks of cardiovascular disease and other diabetes complications.
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Cut Excess Saturated Fat
Sometimes a small change can make a significant difference. Although this is based mostly on clinical experience, simply eliminating extra liquid saturated fat may normalize LDL levels.7 That means eliminating MCT oil and butter in coffee, fat bombs, or other keto treats.
Some people may find that limiting their saturated fat intake to whole foods is all it takes to improve LDL levels.
How Often Should I Have My Cholesterol Tested
Adults should have their blood lipids measured every 5 years, starting at 45 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should start lipid blood tests at 35, because on average heart and blood vessel disease such as heart attacks and stroke happen 10 to 20 years earlier in Indigenous people.
All Australians in these age groups are eligible for a regular 20-minute heart health check with their doctor. This checks your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Your doctor can then assess your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 5 years.
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Know Your Carbohydrate Threshold
One more option to consider, which may be the most effective, is increasing the amount of carbohydrates you eat. Sometimes it pays to ask, do you need to be in ketosis? Or would a low-carb diet of 50 or even 100 grams of carbs suffice for your health goals?
If you have controlled your diabetes and want to make sure it remains controlled, or if you are treating another medical condition with ketosis, then you might need to remain in ketosis make sure you consult with your healthcare provider before making any dietary changes.
If, however, you tried a ketogenic diet primarily to reduce your cravings and lose a little weight, you may find you can safely increase your carb intake without undoing most of the benefits you experienced.14
One group of authors published a study including five case reports of patients who saw a dramatic rise in their LDL levels while eating a strict low-carb diet.15 By increasing their daily carb intake to 50-100 grams per day, these individuals reduced their LDL from between 100 mg/dL to 480 mg/dL . While these are extreme examples, they highlight the ability of moderate carbohydrate intake to reduce LDL in low-carb hyper-responders.
See our detailed guide on carbohydrate intake for more information.