Many doctors LOVE prescribing statins, medications like Lipitor and Crestor to lower cholesterol. Sure, the drugs do their job in many cases but they often come with their fair share of side effects.
Some patients tolerate the cholesterol-lowering meds just fine, but for others, statins can bring on abdominal cramping, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, muscle aches, difficulty sleeping, headaches, liver abnormalities and can even increase your risk of diabetes.
There are ways in which cholesterol can be lowered without the harsh side effects of meds. Decreasing your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels can be accomplished by maintaining a healthy diet. Eating feel-good food choices can lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 30%! A feel-good foods eating plan is one that emphasizes nutritious eats like veggies, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, poultry, beans, nuts, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Foods that nourish you do not include saturated and trans fats, lots of sodium and added sugars.
If you have the high cholesterol blues and are looking for ways to get it under control, try adding these feel-good foods to your diet:
Oatmeal is chockfull of soluble fiber, the kind that binds cholesterol in the digestive system to prevent its absorption. According to the studies in adults, LDL cholesterol may be lowered by 10 percent in some cases. In these studies, anywhere between 40 and 60 grams (or roughly one bowl) of oatmeal was consumed by each subject per day. Avoid adding ingredients to the oatmeal that will do more harm than good to your body like butter, chocolate, whole milk, and cheese. If you make instant oatmeal, these forms are made into very thin flakes that are quicker to digest, they have more of an effect on raising your blood glucose level.
To prevent a rapid rise in your blood glucose adds some lean protein or healthy fat with your instant oatmeal, such as low-fat milk or chopped nuts.
Nuts are not only yummy but nutritious too. They contain fiber and good fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, which help lower triglyceride levels, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, and help lower LDL. Another nut plus is that they positively affect blood vessel function and regular nut consumption is associated with a markedly lower risk of dying from heart disease.
Foods that contain plant sterols
Plant sterols and stanols, also called phytosterols, are substances that are naturally found in plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, and vegetable oils, nuts and seeds. They work by preventing the body from absorbing cholesterol in the intestines. This in turn helps to lower blood levels of LDL cholesterol. Studies show that sterols and stanols lower LDL cholesterol levels by an average of 6% and perhaps as much as 14% in as little as four weeks. They work by preventing the body from absorbing cholesterol in the intestines. This, in turn, helps to lower blood levels of LDL cholesterol. Studies show that sterols and stanols reduce LDL cholesterol levels by an average of 6% and perhaps as much as 14% in as little as four weeks.
Yummy dark chocolate contains good stuff like antioxidants and flavonoids that help cut down LDL. Dark chocolate also contains oleic acid which is a monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil that helps to lower cholesterol. If you prefer milk chocolate, well, sadly, it does not contain the cholesterol-lowering effects as its darker sibling. Make sure not to overdo the sweet, just one ounce a day is all you need for it to kick cholesterol’s butt!
This dark libation can improve cholesterol by lowering LDL and reducing the risk of blood clots because it contains resveratrol which is found on the skin of red grapes. Drinking red wine is well known to decrease the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other dire consequences of cardiovascular disease. Drinking one to two glasses of red wine a day also increases HDL which lowers heart disease risk. To get the advantages of red wine for cholesterol, men should drink about two servings, and women should drink about one serving most days of the week, with meals. Don’t fret about the quality or variety of the red wine you drink. Hundreds of different wines have been used in studies, and all seem to lower cholesterol.