Eight products put to the cholesterol-lowering test.
Which type of plant-based diet has been shown to maximize cholesterol reduction?
Avoiding meat is only one part of the picture. A healthy vegetarian diet should be chock full of foods with known benefits. Within the last 12 months, eight products were tested—some for the first time ever—to see what they would do to our LDL, our bad cholesterol. Almonds, cheerios, cola, flax seeds, flax oil, kiwi fruits, red yeast rice, and strawberries. First up almonds—packed with nutrition, but might they raise our cholesterol? Or does eating almonds not affect our cholesterol, Or does eating almonds lower our cholesterol? Almonds lower our cholesterol.
What about the hype about cheerios? Do they really lower cholesterol Yes they do, but they also have a tablespoon of sugar in them, per serving—and that’s before you add extra sugar. We should stick to oatmeal for the best of both worlds.
Obviously soda is just plain bad for us, but does it actually affect our cholesterol? Only the cola—isn’t that interesting? The other sodas didn’t do it, so colas are particularly bad for us.
Flaxseeds are a given—definitely lower our cholesterol, but what about flaxseed oil? It doesn’t work. Flaxseeds, but not flaxseed oil, lowers our our cholesterol; another reason the ground seeds are better.
Kiwis are definitely a first. No one had ever tested their ability to affect our cholesterol. Until now. Two kiwis a day for 8 weeks significantly improved cholesterol levels. What a yummy way to help our hearts.
Red yeast rice. It’s actually red mold rice. Moldy rice, a fermented food, prized in Chinese medicine, which can be taken as a supplement. Does it work? Yes it does, because the red mold actually produces lovastatin, sold for billions of dollars as mevacor. Just like there’s a mold that makes penicillin, there’s a mold that makes a cholesterol medication. The problem is by eating the rice you could have all the side-effects, without the dose standardization.
And finally, speaking of yummy ways to lower our cholesterol, what about strawberries? I wish! Strawberries have all sorts of amazing properties, as I’ve documented over the years, but unfortunately lowering our cholesterol is not one of them.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.
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Maki KC, Beiseigel JM, Jonnalagadda SS, Gugger CK, Reeves MS, Farmer MV, Kaden VN, Rains TM. Whole-grain ready-to-eat oat cereal, as part of a dietary program for weight loss, reduces low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in adults with overweight and obesity more than a dietary program including low-fiber control foods. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Feb;110(2):205-14.
Jenkins DJ, Nguyen TH, Kendall CW, Faulkner DA, Bashyam B, Kim IJ, Ireland C, Patel D, Vidgen E, Josse AR, Sesso HD, Burton-Freeman B, Josse RG, Leiter LA, Singer W. The effect of strawberries in a cholesterol-lowering dietary portfolio. Metabolism. 2008 Dec;57(12):1636-44.
Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on cholesterol. Also, there are 1,686 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!
Also, be sure to check out my associated blog posts for more context: For some context, please check out my associated blog post: Vitamin B12: how much, how often?, Is Caffeinated Tea Really Dehydrating?, Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk.
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