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How to Lower Cholesterol by eating a selection of Heart Healthy Foods

March 8th, 2006

How to Lower Cholesterol by eating a selection of Heart Healthy Foods

rolled oats

A recent study of cholesterol lowering foods such as soy protein, almonds, plant sterols that are put in special margarines, oats and barley showed that they will do a better job at lowering cholesterol when used together.  The participants that stayed on a specific diet of these foods were able to lower their LDL “bad” cholesterol as well as the first generation statin drugs did.

The study by Professor David Jenkins from the University of Toronto reported these findings in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


"The benefit of statins to individuals at high risk for cardiovascular disease is not in question here," said Jenkins, a professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and a Canada research chair in nutrition and metabolism. "Previous studies have demonstrated that statins can reduce heart disease risk between 25 and 50 per cent. We don't, however, know the long-term effects of these drugs when used on a large section of the broader population who are at low risk in primary prevention. Taking a pill may give people the false impression that they have nothing further to do to protect their health and prevent them from making serious lifestyle changes. Emphasizing diet changes in general can boost the success rate of statins while providing additional health benefits and a possible alternative for those for whom drugs are not a viable option."


The researchers gave a specific diet to 66 people.  There were 31 men and 35 women with an average age of 59.3 years.  They had to be within 30 percent of their recommended cholesterol targets to participate.  There were 55 of these participants worked on eating the specified diet for a whole year.  The researchers checked on the participants every two months to measure their cholesterol and review the participant’s diet journals.

Because the diet was in a real world setting, the researchers were happy if the participants could follow the diet three quarters of the time.  They realized that it is easier to eat a hamburger than try to locate a soy burger as a substitute.  The participants didn’t have as much of a problem eating the almonds or changing to the special plant sterol margarine.


When the 12 month study was completed, there were only 30 percent of the participants that stuck with the diet.  Those people that ate the specific diet had lowered their cholesterol levels 20 percent or more.  The researchers had the participants take a statin for one month before beginning the specified diet.  The statin drugs had similar results of 20 percent or more in lowered LDL cholesterol.

"The study's findings suggest that the average person can do a lot to improve their health through diet," Jenkins said. "People interested in lowering their cholesterol should probably acquire a taste for tofu and oatmeal, keeping in mind that portable alternatives fit best with a modern lifestyle. Save the experimenting for the evening, when you have more time to prepare more complicated meals."

You might not be able to change your diet dramatically and have long term success.  If you change your diet one step at a time, it will change into a healthy diet in time.  Start with oatmeal and almonds and change over to the plant sterol margarine.  Then work on changing the meat to soy protein.  If you are taking statins, check with your doctor before you stop taking any medications, you still may need to take the statin drugs as well as modify your diet to achieve the best results.

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Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

Books on Cholesterol

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:48 PM