How to Lower Cholesterol with Diet

Your first reaction to a cholesterol diet may be to moan and groan. Nobody wants to eat bland and boring food all the time. But once you discover how to lower cholesterol with diet, it sure beats taking expensive and dangerous medications.

But the food you have to eat … oh, the bland, boring food … it's hard to deal with on a daily basis. Or is it?

You might be surprised at just how easy, inexpensive and even tasty heart health can be once you learn the right ways how to lower cholesterol with diet.

Lower Cholesterol with a Low-Fat Diet?

Your first reaction to the news you have high cholesterol might be to sentence yourself to a super-strict low fat diet, devoid of fresh, whole meats or dairy products.

Low fat diets are self-inflicted culinary wounds that do not actually lower cholesterol levels. These unimaginative diets also leave you feeling lethargic and unable to exercise in a way that enhances a cholesterol-lowering diet.

FACT: The right kinds of fats are a natural, healthy and necessary part of a healthy diet. Meanwhile, low fat diets turn you into a big, lazy blob with foggy focusing … and you still have high cholesterol.

Foods to Avoid

Some of the most effective tips to lower cholesterol include avoiding many foods of convenience. Think you don't have time? We make time for anything that's important enough to us. How high does your heart health rank on your list of importance?

Drive right past drive-thru's and even sit-down restaurants. Most of the choices made in restaurants aren't doing your heart and arteries any favors. Instead, grab fresh ingredients from your local market and prepare your own culinary delights at home.

Choose whole, raw meat and fish, fruits, vegetables and nuts to avoid the cholesterol-raising trans fats in processed items. Prepare these foods with olive oil or real butter (never margarine), avoiding any breading or extra sugars.

A Secret Weapon in Your Cholesterol-Lowering Diet

Fiber is an important part of any cholesterol lowering diet plan. There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Both work to reduce cholesterol levels although soluble fiber, like that in oatmeal, works a bit better than the insoluble fiber in whole grains and vegetables.

To lower your cholesterol, choose foods with an impressive dietary portfolio. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that combining foods with a recognized ability to lower cholesterol actually lowers LDL.

Researchers separated 351 participants with high LDL counts into groups; the average LDL of participants was 171 mg/dL. David Jenkins, M.D., and his cohorts asked one group to consume a diet low in saturated fat … the standard advice given to patients hoping to lower LDL levels. The team directed other participants to eat an intensive dietary portfolio containing high amounts of plant sterols, soy protein, viscous fibers and nuts. A third group of participants served as a control, eating no special diet.

Is Saturated Fat the Key to Lower Cholesterol With Diet?

Counseling for the low saturated fat group was less intensive than for the other set. Researchers asked participants in the low saturated fat group to come into the clinic only twice over the course of a six month treatment. Participants in the intensive dietary portfolio came into the clinic seven times over the six-month treatment plan.

Participants consuming an intensive dietary portfolio reduced LDL cholesterol by 28 mg/dL, while those eating a diet low in saturated fats reduced cholesterol by only 26 mg/dL. Those on the control diet reduced LDL cholesterol by only 8 mg/dL during the study.

While this study wasn't done in a way that leads us to any conclusive results, there is a growing mound of research pointing to the fact that saturated fats aren't anywhere close to be the cholesterol-raising, artery-clogging monster we keep hearing about in the media.

Setting Expectations With a Lower Cholesterol Diet

How long does it take to lower cholesterol? That depends on initial cholesterol levels, the intensity of treatment and patient response. Even though high cholesterol is born from a lifetime of poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle, you could expect lower cholesterol levels in only three to six months with diet alone.

Once you know how to lower cholesterol properly, you'll find that you can enjoy many more of your favorite mouth-watering foods than you thought. It's just a matter of separating the facts from many of the media-driven myths.

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