Cholesterol Recommendations and Considerations

Cholesterol Recommendations

❑ Include the following cholesterol-lowering foods in your diet: almonds, apples, bananas, carrots. Cold-water fish, dried beans, garlic, grapefruit, oats, olive oil, salmon, strawberries, and walnuts. Strawberries in particular were shown to reduce damage from oxidation to the bad (LDL) cholesterol. Thereby lowering the risk of heart disease.

❑ Make sure to take in plenty of fiber in the form of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Water-soluble dietary fiber is very important in reducing serum cholesterol. It is found in barley, beans, brown rice, fruits, glucomannan, guar gum, and oats. Oat bran and brown rice bran are the best foods for lowering cholesterol. Whole-grain cereals (in moderation) and brown rice are good as well. Since fiber absorbs the minerals from the food it is in, take extra minerals separately from the fiber.

❑ In 1999, the FDA granted a health claim for products that contain plant stanols and sterol esters from any plant, especially soybeans. Any product containing 0.65 gram of plant sterols or 1.7 grams of plant stanols per serving can claim to reduce the risk of heart disease. Foods such as Minute Maid’s HeartWise orange juice or Rice Dream HeartWise rice drink. Or supplements are good sources, but they must be consumed as part of a low-saturated-fat and low-cholesterol diet. The sterols and stanols were shown to lower total cholesterol by 9 percent and bad cholesterol by 12 percent. Adding fish oil to the diet along with sterols or stanols had an added benefit of lowering triglycerides.

❑ Drink fresh juices, especially carrot, celery, and beet juices. Carrot juice helps to flush out fat from the bile in the liver and this helps lower cholesterol.

❑ Go on a monthly spirulina fast, with carrot and celery juice or lemon and steam-distilled water. Cholesterol Recommendations.

❑ Use only unrefined cold- or expeller-pressed oils. Cold-pressed oils are those that have never been heated above 110°F during processing—at this temperature, enzyme destruction begins. Use vegetable oils that are liquid at room temperature, such as olive, soybean, flaxseed, primrose, and black currant seed oil. Olive oil is recommended.

❑ Do not eat any nuts except raw, unsalted pecans, walnuts, and almonds. Almonds are rich in the amino acid arginine, and were found in one study to cut cholesterol levels by sixteen points over a four-week period.

❑ Reduce the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet. Saturated fats include all fats of animal origin as well as coconut and palm oils. Eliminate from the diet all hydrogenated fats and hardened fats and oils such as margarine, lard, and butter. Margarine that contains plant sterols, however, is a relatively healthy option. Consume no heated fats or processed oils, and avoid animal products (especially pork and pork products) and fried or fatty foods. Always read food product labels carefully. You may consume nonfat milk, low-fat cottage cheese, and skinless white poultry meat (preferably turkey), but only in moderation.

❑ Do not consume alcohol, cakes, candy, carbonated drinks, coffee, gravies, nondairy creamers, pies, processed or refined foods, refined carbohydrates, tea, tobacco, or white bread.

❑ Get regular moderate exercise. Always consult with your health care provider before beginning any new exercise program.

❑ Try to avoid stress and sustained tension. Learn stress management techniques.

Cholesterol Considerations

❑ High cholesterol is directly related to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, arteriosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, circulatory problems, heart attack, hypertension, and osteoporosis. It is advisable to refer to all of the sections on these interrelated diseases to learn about all aspects of, and contributing causes to, high cholesterol.

❑ Meat and dairy products are primary sources of dietary cholesterol. Grains, vegetables, and fruits are free of cholesterol.

❑ Many people use margarine or vegetable shortening as substitutes for butter because they contain no cholesterol. Now most products are free of harmful trans fatty acids. These are good alternatives to butter.

❑ In large amounts, coffee can elevate blood cholesterol levels, more than doubling the risk of heart disease. According to a report published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Observation of 15,000 coffee drinkers revealed that as the intake of coffee rises. The amount of cholesterol in the blood goes up.

❑ Cream substitutes (nondairy coffee creamers) are actually poor alternatives to cholesterol-heavy dairy products. Many contain coconut oil, which is a highly saturated fat. Soymilk, or almond milk is preferable.

❑ The body does need some fats, but they must be the right kind. Good fats supply essential fatty acids, which are a very important link in our health chain. Fats supply energy, and they stay in the digestive tract for longer periods than proteins or carbohydrates, giving a feeling of fullness. They act as an intestinal lubricant, generate body heat, and carry the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K in the body. The protective myelin sheaths that protect nerve fibers are composed of fats. All cell membranes are composed of fats as well.

Unfortunately, most Americans consume much too much of the wrong fats—that is, saturated, hydrogenated, and heated fats—which are linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer.

❑ Human growth hormone therapy has been found to decrease cholesterol levels.

❑ Some fast-food restaurants use beef tallow (fat) to make their hamburgers, fish, chicken, and French-fried potatoes. Not only do these fried foods contain high amounts of cholesterol, but this fat is subjected to high temperatures in the deep-frying process, resulting in oxidation and the formation of free radicals. Heating fat, especially frying food in fat, also produces toxic trans-fatty acids, which seem to behave much like saturated fats in clogging the arteries and raising blood cholesterol levels.

❑ Certain drugs can worsen cholesterol levels. Beta-blockers, often prescribed to control high blood pressure. Can cause unfavorable changes in the ratio of LDL to HDL in the blood, by lowering HDL. Check with your physician if you are taking any medications that you suspect might be affecting your cholesterol levels.

❑ Some people claim that taking charcoal tablets lowers blood cholesterol. However, charcoal also absorbs good nutrients along with the cholesterol. Activated charcoal should not be consumed daily, and it should not be taken at the same time as other supplements or medications. Other experts recommend taking fish oil capsules to lower cholesterol. But fish oil is 100 percent fat, and the evidence is lacking that the ingestion of fish oil reduces serum fats. Although fish oil does not lower cholesterol levels, it can reduce the risk of illness and death from heart disease by other mechanisms related to inflammation and heart rhythm.

❑ Pure virgin olive oil appears to help reduce serum cholesterol. A monounsaturated-fatty-acid-rich diet that includes olive oil may be the reason for the low serum cholesterol levels found in people living in Italy and Greece.

❑ Studies have shown that diets consisting of grains, fruits, and vegetables result in lower blood cholesterol levels. In the United States and northern Europe, where people consume large amounts of meat and dairy products, extremely high rates of heart and circulatory disease are present. Even children in these nations show signs of progressive vascular disease due to hypercholesterolemia (an excess of cholesterol in the blood).

❑ There are a number of cholesterol-lowering drugs on the market. Available by prescription only, these tend to be costly, and they can have serious side effects. We believe that these drugs should be used only as a last resort. The sensible way to keep the serum fats within a safe range is to follow a diet that excludes animal fats. Including meat, milk, and all dairy products and includes ample amounts of fiber and bulk (whole grains, fruits, and vegetables).

❑ Sunlight, or rather the lack of it, has been shown to have adverse effects of cholesterol levels.

❑ Lowering your blood cholesterol level may help to stop clogging of the arteries.

❑ Some people have hereditary disorders that prevent even the healthiest diet from lowering LDL levels. For these people. Researchers are working on a device that uses an enzyme to break down LDL and accelerate its removal before it can fasten onto artery walls to form plaque. The device would be implanted under the skin to control the LDL levels in the blood.

❑ There are opposing theories about high cholesterol levels. Some medical practitioners believe that it has little to do with heart disease and that a direct correlation has never been fully established. Studies in India, Guatemala, Poland, and the United States claim to have proved that there is no relationship between atherosclerosis and cholesterol levels. However, it is probably best to take cholesterol levels seriously, and also to consider other tests that may help to assess your likelihood of developing heart disease as.