A plant-based diet high in fiber appears to lower bad cholesterol (see here, here, here, here). The new USDA Dietary Guidelines (see also here, here, here, here) even recommend a more plant-based diet to lower cholesterol intake. Dr. Ornish has long promoted such a diet for its health benefits. Unfortunately, many doctors may not be aware of this essential life-saving information.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs, on the other hand, have been found to have some attendant health risks. The current standard for the optimal level of cholesterol may not be low enough; 75% of heart attack patients were in the optimal range (see also here, here). Recent data suggests that cholesterol levels can never be too low.

High cholesterol has been linked to the following: heart disease, lower back pain, erectile dysfunction in men (watermelon may be a helpful treatment for this problem), sexual dysfunction in women, and gallstones. Foods that appear to increase cholesterol include: meat (see also here, here), eggs & chicken (see also here, here, here, here, here, here), brains, fast food, coconut milk, coconut oil, cow’s milk, and coffee (although a paper filter will remove the compounds that raise cholesterol).

Foods that have been linked to lower cholesterol include: Ceylon cinnamon , kale, beans (see also here), Indian gooseberries (see also here), dried apples, red yeast rice (which contains the drug Lovastatin), alkaline water (which can be made by simply adding baking soda to tap water), avocadoes (see also here), nuts, almonds, oatmeal, flax seeds (see also here, here), kiwis, green tea, raisins, soy, and cocoa. Bowel movements, both in terms of food mass transit time and size, may be relevant to cholesterol levels because this is how cholesterol is flushed out of the body. Cholesterol-free sources of vitamin B-12 are fortified plant foods and supplements.

See also the related blog post: Amla: Indian gooseberries vs. cancer, diabetes, and cholesterol

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