August 27, 2011 by staff
Several years ago, researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto created what created what they called a “dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods.” Was that after cholesterol by adding a heart-healthy diet specific foods known to lower cholesterol margarine enriched with plant sterols, oats, barley, psyllium, okra and eggplant, all rich in soluble fiber, soy protein and whole almonds.
In a test head to head against traditional low-fat diet recommended by the American Heart Association, the portfolio approach was the clear winner. (You can see the composition of the diet of proof here.) After 24 weeks, reduced harmful LDL cholesterol by 13%, while the low-fat diet reduced LDL cholesterol by only 3%. As a bonus, the portfolio approach also reduced triglycerides and blood pressure, and not lower the beneficial HDL cholesterol. The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
What I like about this study is that it gives me evidence to support a positive message “with good”-instead of having to always tell my patients what they have to give you lower your cholesterol.
For someone with slightly elevated cholesterol, a heart-healthy diet, which includes elements of the portfolio may be all it takes to get cholesterol under control, no prescription is necessary. All ingredients are available in grocery stores, and provide dozens if not hundreds of different recipes.
None of these foods is a magic bullet against LDL cholesterol. In fact, the combination is probably important because they reduce cholesterol in different ways.
Here are some suggestions for adding these foods to your diet:
Plant sterols. The best sources of these are margarines fortified with sterols and stanols, such as Benecol and take control, and other foods that have been added, including orange juice, granola bars, and cooking oil. You do not need more than 2 grams per day.
Soluble fiber. Two servings per day should be sufficient. Good sources of soluble fiber include oats and oat bran, barley, almost any kind of beans, eggplant and okra. Target of 10 grams of soluble fiber per day.
Nuts. Great for a snack, eat a handful of nuts. Any kind will do, almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts … Note that nuts contain a lot of calories.
Soy products. Not long ago, the only way to get soy protein was eating tofu or soy (also called tofu). Today you can buy soymilk, soy bars, soy burgers, soy protein, dry, and more. Soy protein and fish are two of the healthiest ways to get your daily protein. Twenty-five grams of soy protein a day is a good target.
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