Is Your Cholesterol Too High?
Irene Roltsch, Nutritionist
If your LDL levels (“bad cholesterol”) are too high, the doctor has instructed you to lower dietary saturated fat and cholesterol while increasing soluble fiber and exercise. You may also have been put on a statin drug if those alterations did not reduce it enough. Although effective, statins may cause side effects like stomach upset, muscle pain and weakness, and liver damage that may require their cessation.
Avoiding the statin drug may be best for some and instead finding stanols/sterols within certain foods may be the better option. It has been known since the 1950’s that these compounds lower total and LDL cholesterol. Understand that it is close to impossible to get enough from natural sources alone to lower LDLs, but some foods relatively high in sterols are peanuts, other nuts and seeds; whole grains, various brans, and wheat germ; dried beans, peas and lentils; avocados, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, and vegetable oils. All of which have many other beneficial nutrients in them. The amount found to significantly lower LDL cholesterol by up to 20% is 2 grams. Anything over that has not provided additional reductions. Moreover, consuming that amount at one meal has the same effect as smaller quantities throughout the day.
Foods with added stanols are meant to be another weapon in your arsenal of cholesterol lowering strategies. Do not stop taking your statin drugs without first consulting with your physician.
To learn how to modify your diet, lower your “bad” and increase your “good” cholesterol, make an appointment with the Arden Hills Nutritionist today at (916) 482-6111.
“To eat is a necessity, but to east intelligently is an art.” – Francois de la Rochefoucauld