Foods that lower cholesterol suggests you consider rolled oats, fibre as in beetroot and 100% whole grains, chickpeas, eggplant and apples.
This page was last updated by Dr Bernard Preston on 21st November, 2018.
A reader writes of his experience with statins.
"I have taken statins to lower my cholesterol. Decreased libido was one of the many side effects I experienced. As things happen gradually, I hadn't fully taken note of how my normal nighttime erections had virtually ceased.
I figured my lack of sexual interest was due to getting older. My wife felt I wasn't as interested in her anymore.
During the first week after I stopped the statin, I had a sexual awakening like I was a teenager again. I didn't realise how far I had deteriorated until my libido came roaring back."
The journal of sexual medicine reports on research confirming that statins reduce testosterone, which is cholesterol based, and actually contribute to a decrease in the size of the testicles known as hypogonadism.
This comes as no surprise as most hormones have a high cholesterol component, so drugs reducing it are likely to interfere with normal testosterone production.
It remains unexplained but this probably is also the underlying cause of a higher rate of violent death, homicidal tendencies and road rage in persons taking statins as compared to those using natural methods to lower their cholesterol.
Statins like lipitor and lovastatin do contribute to sexual difficulties like erectile dysfunction, and research confirms it; foods that lower cholesterol are an entirely safe way to re-establish normal levels. An article in Drug Safety July 1, 2009, concludes as follows:
"Despite some limitations in the research methods, this study suggests that statins may induce or
increase ED in keeping with other research."
A personal journey of discovery of those foods that lower cholesterol
When you love fatty meat and butter as much as I do, and have an instinctive dislike for hydrogenated foods, especially margarine, you are faced with two options:
Taking statins may be the third option for you, but I refuse to start down that road. My sexuality, aversion to highly irritable people, severe tingling in arms and hands and legs and a host of other factors are too important to me.
My mother tried to turn me into a vegetarian but from a very young age my love of red meat was too strong. But mothers are not always totally stupid. Eventually I realised that I would have to balance my love of red meat with those foods that lower cholesterol; or perish long before my time.
And so began my personal search for a healthy blood cholesterol profile, without denying my love of food. And without swallowing pills to lower cholesterol.
For me it's not been difficult. I continue to pig out on butter and mutton; in the Netherlands, personally I don't like the beef and pork. As someone South African born, I've been spoilt rotten with the choice of free range meat available but rich Dutch cheeses do tickle my fancy.
Avoid corn fed beef; it raises the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio and that means inflammation in your body. More work for your chiropractor and cardiologist and more pain for you. Cows are meant to eat grass.
But I've added foods that lower cholesterol to our mutton stew, so that I can continue to indulge myself! Sheep in Holland do roam the polders. And so my cholesterol is now dangerously low! I'm joking of course, but it's well within normal limits; 164 mg per dl or, in standard European units, 4.2 mmol per L. Anything below 200 is good.
Cholesterol Credit incorporates the idea that you can enjoy your red meat provide you buy buy cholesterol credits.
Foods that lower cholesterol questions whether you've been suffering from erectile dysfunction since taken statins? You're not alone.
"I have now ditched all my medication except Omeprazole and Dispersible Aspirin - so much better not being on statins. Seems like I have been in a sort of prison for two years, and it's good to be out! We like to exercise along the beachfront prom where it's as flat as a pancake. If the weather's good it can be a pleasant pastime."
1. APPLE DIET
Foods that lower cholesterol
It's no old wives' tale that an apple-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-away.
Research confirms that eating 2-3 apples per day (including the apple
skins) reduces the toxic LDL in the blood by 10%. To some extent this is
probably true of all fruit. EAT MORE FRUIT.
APPLE DIET ... raw, or even cooked.
Foods that lower cholesterol
There is now overwhelming evidence that the omega-3 oils in fatty
fish, walnuts and freshly ground flaxseeds have a healthy effect on your LDL cholesterol (Low density lipoprotein), that
which has a dangerous effect on blood vessels, whilst not lowering the
healthy friendly High density lipoproteins (HDLs). Walnuts blood pressure ... rich in omega-3.
Mackerel recipes ... salmon, herring... even recipes for mussels ... are all extremely high in antioxidants that prevent cancer, which get some bad press have less than half the cholesterol of red meat that's been trimmed of all fat. We recommend recipes for mussels highly, but do use only fresh mussels.
WAYS TO COOK SALMON perhaps should also come into your planning.
Omega-3, there's a downside to this very powerful anti-oxidant. It is itself very rapidly oxidised. That's why fish goes "off" so quickly. The omega-3 fat deteriorates very quickly once exposed to air. So does the omega-3 in flax seeds. Eat them fresh, and don't take the oil except in softgels. Better still eat fatty fish and grind your own seeds daily; three tablespoons (20g) of freshly ground flaxseed is more effective that statins in keeping your cholesterol down.(1)
Read more for Flax seeds nutrition information ...
Interesting research reveals that you can by dietary means and some lifestyle changes achieve even better results than with a commonly prescribed statin. Read about it at red yeast rice if you're interested.
"Nature is relentless and unchangeable, and it is indifferent as to whether its hidden reasons and actions are understandable to man or not."
Galileo (16th century)
What does the research have to say?
Ann Intern Med (August 3, 2010).
Researchers divided 300 odd seriously obese people with an average BMI of 36 into two groups who followed two quite different diets:
Both groups lost a similar amount of weight; 18kg over two years. But in every other respect the low carb group did better; they experienced lower blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides levels, and most important a raised beneficial cholesterol, HDL, astonishingly 23% better.
The controversial Banting diet, sometimes called Paleo diet, is based on very low carbohydrate.
3. EGGPLANT RECIPES
Foods that lower cholesterol
Formerly, the consequences of raised cholesterol were not understood but now the hidden benefits and actions of many foods are well understood, and behoves us to take note... or else, nature is unforgiving.
The eggplant / aubergine / brinjal fruit has dramatic cholesterol-lowering properties. Researchers in Brazil are trying to develop an extract to make into a drug, but isn't it more sensible to indulge in delicious EGGPLANT RECIPES ...
BABA GHANOUSH ... my favourite eggplant recipe; make it in ten minutes.
4. CHOLESTEROL AND ALCOHOL
Foods that lower cholesterol
The good news is that a glass of red wine a day reduces blood cholesterol. However, if you're a non-drinker, I wouldn't start with red wine. There are dangers associated with alcohol, just as there are with cholesterol. But if you do enjoy a sundowner, and have a cholesterol problem then CHOLESTEROL ALCOHOL is part of the foods that lower cholesterol solution.
Remember though that there's strong research confirming that three or more drinks per day is a major cause of stomach cancer.
STATINS in High Risk prevention
Statins have been proven to reduce the risk of mortality among patients with a known history of cardiovascular illness.
However, there is no proven certainty that cholesterol lowering medication has a similar benefit in those high risk patients (who are obese and smoke for example) who have no history of coronary heart disease.
Sound clinical trials were identified yielding data amongst sixty five thousand (65,000) patients during which time two thousand eight hundred (2,800) deaths occurred.
This meta analysis of the available literature did not find any evidence concerning the benefit of statin therapy on mortality in persons with no prior history of coronary heart disease.
Archives of Internal Medicine, September 2010.
In short, there is no proven benefit of taking statins if you have no history of cardiovascular disease, even if your cholesterol is raised. That does not mean there is no necessity to get your cholesterol levels within given norms, just that statins won't help prevent sudden death.
5. EXERCISE AND CHOLESTEROL
And cholesterol is of course also reduced by exercise. Considering walking benefits is surely a better option than risking Erectile Dysfunction and tingling in arms and hands and legs, the other common side effect of Statins.
Walking has 10 000 benefits. For women in fear of osteoporosis only? But which of us thought it
would save men from the most awful of afflictions, loss of libido. A
bicycle, the swimming pool... choose something. It'll help your back
too, reduce the chance of causes of osteoporosis, less depression; there are incredible
proven benefits of exercise in general, and WALKING BENEFITS in particular.
6. OATS every day!
Oats is listed high up there amongst those foods that lower cholesterol - proven. If you love butter like I do, then you really have no option. Oats, I have it every day, like my back exercises, I NEVER miss. Just a cheap muesli will do. One without sugar. Of course add fruit in season and nuts. Add some boiling water and allow to stand for five minutes.
If you are on a low carbohydrate diet, then just one or two tablespoons of oats is adequate. Honey interestingly doesn't cause an insulin rush; it's not fattening, but in moderation of course. Just one teaspoon. Raw honey if you can find it.
Taking a short ten minute walk after a starchy meal will prevent your blood glucose going into orbit.
Hummus is relatively high in healthy fat because of the olive oil and sesame paste but, because of its high soluble fibre and sterols content, it's listed up there with the other super foods that lower cholesterol.
In any case, it's refined starches that raise cholesterol, not fat.
There's really no need to worry about the calories in hummus, and if you do, then make it yourself, but use less olive oil and a little water so it's not too stodgy. It only takes 4 minutes to make; of course, preparing the garbanzo beans or chickpeas takes a little longer.
Well, to be honest, you have to locate two ingredients that you'll need. One is sesame seed, or sesame paste as it's called; the other is cumin. Read about it at our authentic hummus recipe page.
You can buy chickpeas in cans but for a quarter of the price you'll find that pressure cooking them is a breeze; it reduces the time from nearly two hours to twenty minutes; saving you time and the environment by using less energy.
The garbanzo bean is the most popular legume in the whole world. It's no coincidence, and we too should be eating them regularly. They are a dirt cheap form of protein, and second on the list of super foods that lower cholesterol.
There are many benefits from taking ten minutes to make hummus every week. They are high in fibre, and so your colon will bless you. Substituting some of our red meat with plant protein reduces breast and prostate cancer, the nastiest way to die. Less cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure and less stroke. Need I go on?
Because the oils in hummus go rancid so quickly, food companies add large amounts of preservatives that ruin the flavour. Make your own, but not too much so you can finish it in three days.
Freeze the rest of your chickpeas; then they are ready for immediate use.
Personally, I make hummus twice a week, so easy. If you make it regularly, this canned vs dried chickpeas costing may be of interest.
Corn in flower means you are in for a treat - all that fibre helps.
Quick hummus is high on the agenda amongst foods that lower cholesterol.
Fatty food has become something of a swear word in today's obese
world, but the truth is that you can't live without fat. Cut out the
fat, and you risk getting the serious neurological diseases like Lou
Gehrig's disease. Your nerves are coated with fat, and your brain is 60%
fat. Few symptoms more worrying that tingling in arms and hands and legs...
But get most of your fat from:
Shell your own pecans. Learn how... it's all about natural living. Health doesn't come out of a bottle from the health food store. Certainly it comes from whole, natural foods that lower cholesterol ... amongst a host of other things, of course. Body, mind and spirit...
These are the foods that are high in Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids and Omega-3. These are the fats that will keep you healthy.
An important proviso: Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely quickly oxidised (go rancid) and not only lose their omega-3 value but produce toxic breakdown products. Crack your own nuts wherever possible, grind your own flax seeds and buyer beware with fish oil capsules.
Foods that lower cholesterol
EVERY week in your shopping basket...
That, or pills, or a high risk of a stroke or heart attack. Take your pick. I find these foods delic, and we eat them EVERY WEEK. And hence, despite my addiction to butter and fatty meat, my total cholesterol is a paltry 164. Yours could be too without statin pills with all their nasty side effects.
What are normal cholesterol blood levels?
Surprisingly even the experts haven't come to an agreement. Drug companies naturally want much lower "normal" levels, so they can promote their statins and their profits.
As a rule of thumb,
Why is HDL the good cholesterol?
HDL cholesterol extracts the plaque clogging your arteries and returns it to the liver where it is disposed as bile in the faeces. So you want to aim for HIGH values of HDL.
A high HDL cholesterol level (above 50 (1.3)) is strongly associated with lower heart disease and less atherosclerosis. Eat more walnuts, fish, exercise more, and yes you've heard it again and again, don't smoke. It will kill you, you know, about 10 years on average before your time. Just after you retire; fourteen years lost if you are obese and smoke.What is the total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio?
Statisticians, those people who run our lives!, have discovered that dividing your total cholesterol (hopefully less than 200) by the HDL cholesterol (more than 50) gives a very useful indicator of your risk profile. So 200/50 = 4. Anything BELOW 4 is good. Keep the 200 down, and the 50 up. Then you'll have a good total cholesterol / HDL ratio.
In 2004 a panel of so-called medical experts recommended that the safe level of Low Density cholesterol should be lowered from 130 to 100 mg/dL, and for those at high risk of heart and blood vessel disease as low as 70.
Whether or not their recommendations had merit...
Conflict of interest
However, one newspaper did its homework and, guess what, most of the physicians involved in the decision to lower the level of "safe" cholesterol had a conflict of interest. Almost all of them had received honorariums or grants from the drug companies whilst involved in their research.
Worse, they did not disclose their financial involvement with the drug companies. Something stank in the State of Denmark... and many people are still taking statins unnecessarily.
Think rather of a change of lifestyle; increasing the fish in your diet, eating more salad and fruit, changing to olive oil... none of these are painful. Start taking a walk. An apple a day is still good advice; it's so simple; munch one on the way to work instead of swallowing a pill that could make you impotent.
Or risk, losing your libido and increasing the risk of erectile dysfunction ... at least that's the Bernard Preston foods that lower cholesterol opinion.
Baking your own loaf and conducting bread experiments is another way to get whole grains and better health; it's fun too and takes only five minutes each day.
The heart stroke diabetes research confirms that nearly a half of these serious diseases are entirely due it dietary factors; like not enough seeds and whole grains.
Tingling in arms and hands is apparently one side effect of statins. Consider rather foods that lower cholesterol.
Hi. I have for the past 2 years had odd sensations of aching and tingling in arms and hands. This is usually followed by a fuzzy type feeling which sometimes is felt in just the body but mostly affects my head as well. Almost like a want to faint kind of feeling. I usually feel quite ill after. Nauseous and just quite yuk in general.
I have had numerous tests over the past couple of years and currently waiting to see a neurologist. Because I have osteo arthritis in parts of my spine, the doctors I have seen seem to think my condition stems from that.
All I know is that it scares the hell out of me at times and quite frankly I don`t know how long I can put up with it. Attacks just occur wherever, whenever, but usually the worst ones are in the evening. It is almost a daily experience now and i have had enough. Any help would really be appreciated.
I replied making various suggestions, none of which included thoughts about a drug reaction.
Hi. I have discovered that all of my symptoms have gone away; the reason? I am apparently allergic to Lipitor. I am on a different medication now and I feel a new person. Thanks.
All of the high fibre foods help to lower cholesterol; beetroot has the added benefit of supply copious amounts of iron, particularly important for the menstruating woman. Also, in my book it's top of the pops in dealing with constipation. Pickled beets recipes are really a piece of cake, if you can get fresh beetroot. What is betaine you are probably asking? The phytochemical that helps prevent inflammation, always important to the chiropractor and cardiologist; and their patients, of course!
Have you any idea how long this patient had been suffering with leg pain, and how many doctors he had consulted? Read this sample chapter from Stones in my Clog, my third book of Chiropractic anecdotes. Walk with me through the polders of Holland, and meet Mr Herveille, a man with a problem that no one could diagnose. Severe pain in the right leg when he walked and cycled.
If you enjoy, buy the book! Only $2.99 on your Kindle, smartphone or tablet. No more wasted hours standing in queues and travelling.