A six month study (a randomized control trial) published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by researchers in Canada revealed that a special cholesterol diet plan works well to significantly lower total cholesterol and “bad” or LDL cholesterol. The 351 participants in the study suffered from high cholesterol levels, but they were not on any cholesterol-lowering statin medications. Total cholesterol dropped from 256 to 230, while the LDL or “bad” cholesterol decreased from 173 to 148, according to the study.
The results of the Canadian study suggest people may lower their cholesterol without medication by making the following dietary changes:
Dietary Changes to Lower Cholesterol
Consider tweaking your diet by switching foods such as dairy products and meat with these foods: oat bran, whole grains, soy milk, soy products, fruits and nuts. For example eat oat bran for breakfast, drink soy milk instead of regular milk and substitute soy for meat such as soy burgers or soy hot dogs instead of regular meat hamburgers and regular meat franks. Instead of eating a full lunch, eat a few nuts along with some fruit. Participants in the study were also encouraged to eat eat peas, beans and lentils.
According to the study, “Agencies concerned with cardiovascular health have uniformly stressed the importance of diet and lifestyle as the primary means of lowering serum lipids and coronary heart disease (CHD) risk.” What this means is many health professionals believe it’s important to lower cholesterol with diet.
JAMA Study to Reduce Cholesterol with Diet
The lead author of the study was Dr. David Jenkins, MD, of the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center. The complete study article, “Effect of a Dietary Portfolio of Cholesterol-Lowering Foods Given at 2 Levels of Intensity of Dietary Advice on Serum Lipids in Hyperlipidemia,” is available online at the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Other Tips for Lowering Cholesterol with Diet
Limit these bad foods from your diet to help lower cholesterol, says Bryce Wylde in the Alive: Canada’s Natural Health and Wellness Magazine article “Lower Your Cholesterol.”
- Bad Fats. People should obtain only 20 to 35 percent of their calories from fats and avoid trans fats, hydrogenated fats and saturated fats.
- Sugar. Avoid sugar and other sweeteners. Use stevia or moderate amounts of agave nectar as replacement sweeteners.
- Refined Carbohydrates. Avoid white bread and pasta, potato chips, cookies and cakes. Choose whole grain products instead.
- Alcohol. If you like, add one glass of red wine each day.
Wylde states there’s a correlation between overeating and high blood cholesterol levels. Be sure to watch portion sizes and consume “nutrient- dense, cholesterol-lowering food,” which will help you automatically eat fewer calories and lose weight.
In addition, be sure to stay hydrated with water “but make sure to drink most of it between meals so you don’t dilute your digestive enzymes during mealtime,” says Wylde.
See Your Doctor
Always talk to your doctor first before changing your diet, especially if you are planning on making dietary changes to reduce your cholesterol or considering discontinuing medication for reducing cholesterol.
Jenkins, David et. al. “Effect of a Dietary Portfolio of Cholesterol-Lowering Foods Given at 2 Levels of Intensity of Dietary Advice on Serum Lipids in Hyperlipidemia.” Journal of the American Medical Association. August 2011. Vol 306, No. 8.
Wylde, Bryce. “Lower Your Cholesterol.” Alive: Canada’s Natural Health and Wellness Magazine. Feb2010, Issue 328, p127-130.