How To Lower Your Cholesterol Without Statins
If you have ever had a heart attack, stroke or type 2 diabetes, you will almost certainly be advised to take a statin. For every 1 mmol/L reduction in LDL cholesterol, the risk of dying from a heart attack is reduced by 19%, the risk of having a heart attack or dying from a stroke by 23%, and the risk of having a stroke by 17%. There is substantial evidence that the risk of death is reduced by 12%. In a study of about 3,000 people with type 2 diabetes who did not have a heart attack, taking a statin once a day reduced the risk of a major cardiovascular event by 37 percent.
But in recent years, more and more people have started taking statins, even in people without these conditions. Some studies have shown that they can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, even if you don’t have them. However, statins, like other drugs, can cause side effects in some people, so they are given mainly to people at high risk for heart disease. Your risk of heart attack and stroke is calculated using a formula that includes your age, gender, smoking status, cholesterol and HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, and more. You can also take advantage of For example, more than 300 Lloyds organizations offer heart disease risk assessments, some of which are free as part of the NHS program.
Until 2014, it was recommended that statins be offered to anyone in the UK with a risk of 20% or more for 10 years or more, but this recommendation has now been increased to 10%. However, many people who are just on the edge of “high risk” may be able to get out of this category by making lifestyle changes.
Losing weight has obvious benefits for cholesterol, blood pressure and type 2 diabetes risk – but diet changes alone mostly don’t make a big difference. Exercise can help raise your HDL cholesterol levels. It can also lower levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood. Try to exercise for 30 minutes four to six times a week. Your exercise should be moderate to vigorous. Remember to consult your doctor before starting an exercise program. That’s why the “purse diet” is designed to incorporate many beneficial changes. The purse diet is not new – the first study on the topic was published in 2002. However, it can be difficult to stick with the original version. It involves.
- A low-fat diet, with less than 7 percent of your daily energy intake coming from saturated fat.
- Eating 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
- A vegetarian diet without meat, egg yolks or dairy products.
- About 20 g/day of viscous (soluble) fiber.
- 45g/day of soy protein (mainly soy milk and soy meat substitutes in the study) – see below
- 2g/day plant sterols (the plant sterol-fortified margarine used in the trial is the UK equivalent of Flora Proactiv®, which provides 1.7g per tablespoon – you can get this from “regular” foods, but for example, you would need to eat about 14 avocados per day to get 2g).
- 46g of almonds/day (about 40 whole almonds)
- Sources of soluble fiber
- Oats (1 cup of cooked oats contains about 4g)
- Strawberries, apples, oranges, plums (about 2.5 grams per serving)
- Rye (such as rye bread).
- Barley (can be added to stews and casseroles).
- Beans, peas, lentils (1 cup of cooked beans contains about 6 grams).
Foods made from soy (preferably calcium-fortified soy).
- Soy milk/yogurt/other milk alternatives.
- Soy desserts.
- Soy bars.
- Soy mince.
- Soy (replace with peas or other vegetables).
There’s no doubt that for many people, it works well if they stick to it – after one month, it lowers LDL cholesterol by an average of more than 29 percent. But after a year, one in six people gave up and many more didn’t stick to the diet – a third had cholesterol levels 20% or more lower than when they started, while the average LDL cholesterol level dropped to 12.7%.
So how do you design a portfolio that works for you? These elements all work independently: 15 grams of soy per day can lower cholesterol by up to 6%, 30-35 grams of nuts by 5%, and 2 grams of plant sterols by 7-10%.
Whatever you choose, be sure to stick with it. We’re all at risk for heart attacks – it’s a matter of risk. We can all benefit from making healthy lifestyle changes.
What lifestyle changes can you make to improve your cholesterol levels?
Exercise can help raise your HDL cholesterol levels. It can also lower levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood). Try to exercise four to six times a week for 30 minutes each time. Your workouts should be moderate to vigorous. Remember to consult your doctor before starting an exercise program.
If you are overweight, lose weight
Being overweight raises your cholesterol levels. Losing weight, even if it’s only 5 or 10 pounds, can lower your total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
If you smoke, quit
Smoking lowers your HDL cholesterol. Exposure to secondhand smoke can also affect HDL levels. Talk to your doctor about a plan to quit smoking.
Eat a heart-healthy diet
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. They add flavor and variety to your diet. Aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. This should not include potatoes, corn or rice. They are considered carbohydrates.
Choose “good” fats over “bad” fats. Fats are part of a healthy diet, but there are “bad” fats and “good” fats. “Bad” fats include saturated fats and trans fats. These can be found in foods such as
- Coconut and palm oil.
- Saturated or partially hydrogenated vegetable fats, such as shortening and margarine.
- Animal fats in meats.
- Fats in whole dairy products.
Limit the amount of saturated fats in your diet or Avoid trans fats altogether
Unsaturated fats are the “good” fats. Most of the fats in fish, vegetables, grains, and nuts are unsaturated fats. Try to eat unsaturated fats rather than saturated fats. For example, when cooking, use olive or canola oil instead of butter. Also, remember to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program