Some good foods to help lower cholesterol?

High cholesterol runs in my family and since I’m on accutane and they take tests every month for that I want to make sure that I can stay on it. So far I eat oatmeal everyday and am trying to avoid fattning foods. Any other good food choices? :wink Thanks, Jamie.

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3 thoughts on “Some good foods to help lower cholesterol?

  1. Jamie, I thought I’d give you a general as well as more specific reply.

    By the way, I’ve been reading your accutane journal. Though I’m not a fan of accutane b/c of its harsh side effects, thanks for posting for others. It takes courage to share your difficult journey.

    As for the effects of accutane on the liver, really, the only way to be certain that it’s not damaging your liver is to have blood work done. Many of the effects on the liver may be subtle enough that you don’t have any definite physical symptoms (unless fulminant liver failure sets in; in which case you would get extremely ill). Also, the effects can be more general than on the liver’s cholesterol production alone. This may be one indicator of liver problems, but others may be present as well, so the entire liver panel is checked w/ the blood work.

    Here are a couple of links from the American Heart Association for info on cholesterol:

    http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4488
    http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=183

    As my own editorial comment, personally, I’m not totally convinced that cholesterol is much more that an innocent by-stander in cardiovascular disease or perhaps a gauge or indicator of an underlying vessel-damaging pathophysiology, and there is a rising number of articles in the scientific literature in support of this (I have a lot of links, if anyone’s interested). Even reviewing some of the older literature upon which many cholesterol-lowering recommendations are based, it’s not even clear that a real connection can be established. But, since for now, my personal opinion may be held as heresy (particularly by the pharmaceutical industry :eek ), let’s get to the heart of this matter. One thing that is clear, however, is that accutane might certainly result in undue changes in liver function, only one indicator of which is elevation of cholesterol. However, also don’t be lulled into thinking that if you can maintain your cholesterol levels low, that no damage could be getting done. I repeat this point to be emphatic about having your entire panel of liver bloodwork done, as there are other indicators of liver cell damage as well.

    You may already know that the liver produces over 2/3 of the serum cholesterol and less than 1/3 is related to the dietary intake. Overall fat intake is also critical to serum cholesterol, as liver production generally goes up to increase cholesterol, which acts as the binding molecule to fats. You may not have any cholesterol issues at all. The only way to be sure is the blood test. But anyway, here is some information that you might want to peruse, given your family history and your interest in the topic.

    Exercise seems to have an important link to cholesterol levels, in particular, regular activity seems to improve HDL (H for healthy cholesterol) and lower LDL (L for “lousy” cholesterol).

    As for dietary ways of improving blood cholesterol, here is an excerpt of some great recommendations from a Canadian medical review journal, The Medical Post at http://www.medicalpost.com/mpcontent/article.jsp?content=20040113_121422_3528

    Folic acid

    An increase of 40% in folate-rich foods may reduce CVD risk by 2%. Eating more leafy vegetables, orange juice, cantaloupe, strawberries, broccoli, green peas, legumes and fortified breads, cereal, rice and pasta may help reduce elevated homocysteine levels, an independent risk factor for heart disease. Just 250 mL cooked pasta and 125 mL each of broccoli, chick peas and orange juice daily meets 100% of the recommended intake (400 mcg).

    Thus the recommendation for four to six servings of fruits and veggies/day (400 g to 600 g) is not that difficult—one banana, orange, apple, garden salad (500 mL) and 250 mL to 500 mL cooked vegetables.

    Soluble fibre

    As little as 3 g of soluble fibre daily can help lower total cholesterol by 5% to 19%. Pectins (citrus fruits, veggies), gums (legumes, oats, barley) and psyllium (All-Bran Buds cereal, Metamucil/psyllium) are soluble fibres. Just 5 mL of psyllium, 80 mL of All-Bran Buds and 125 mL of kidney beans each provide 3 g (total 9 g). The American Heart Association recommends 10 g to 20 g/day in their NCEP III diet. The U.S. also has approved health claims for oat bran and psyllium.

    Plant sterols

    Two grams of phytosterols daily can reduce total cholesterol by 5% to 10% and LDL-C by 10% to 15%. Although not yet sold in Canada, about 20 g of an enriched margarine spread delivers ~2 g of phytosterols (sold in U.S., Europe and Australia).

    The usual intake of plant sterols from vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, dried beans, fruits and vegetables is around 200 mg to 400 mg/day.

    Soy protein

    In 1999 the U.S. approved the health claim “25 g of soy protein daily, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.” The key here is “substitution” of animal foods high in saturated fat with high quality vegetable (soy) protein. Blais, and more recently dietician Leslie Beck, speaking at the Heart and Stroke Clinical Update in Toronto last year, offered practical tips for meeting 25 g/day of soy protein—just 250 mL fortified soy beverage and 60 mL of soy nuts will do it. Beck notes that better patient compliance may be achieved at lower intakes (14g to 25 g) of soy protein—which has been shown to be effective in the Portfolio Diet (Jenkins 2003).

    (Oh, fibre spelled the British way … we Canadians like to be purists and stick to our roots!) Interestingly, Lenore recently started a thread on soy in http://www.clearskin.net/viewtopic.php?t=6551 where we were all discussing whether or not there may be some benefits vs. possible potential harm w/ soy due to its estrogen-like effects. I think most sources would prob. agree that, in moderation, it is still a good choice. In the context of cholesterol-lowering, it seems to have shown some benefits.

    I hope you find this information useful.

    Cheers,
    Roxy.

  2. Thankyou so much for your reply Roxy and for all the good information! I did not know that soy had been shown to lower your cholesterol. I really appreciate all your help, thankyou talk to you later. 🙂 Jamie

  3. Thankyou so much for your reply Roxy and for all the good information! I did not know that soy had been shown to lower your cholesterol. I really appreciate all your help, thankyou talk to you later. 🙂 Jamie

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