Cholesterol, Nutrition and Heart Disease
Continuing in our commentary on the book ‘Nutritional Medicine’ by Alan R Gaby, M.D we come onto the subject of ‘Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Cholesterol.’ An elevated serum cholesterol level (particularly, and elevated low density lipoprotein level [LDL-C] level) is well known to be associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. I am now going to talk about some of the nutritional factors associated with reducing serum and LDL-C cholesterol levels. A lower level prevents heart disease.
- Meal Frequency and meal pattern – eating more frequent meals per day including eating breakfast reduces levels, and the opposite increases them.
- Reducing cholesterol dietary intake reduces serum cholesterol but only by a very small amount.
- In patients with coronary heart disease, severe restriction of fat and cholesterol intake, reduce mean serum levels considerably.
- Saturated fat may have less of an effect on increasing serum levels as is commonly believed, with considerably reductions in saturated fat resulting in only a 3-4% reduction in serum levels.
- Consumption of trans fatty acids is reported to increase LDL-C.
- Rice bran oil used extensively in some Asian countries is noted to reduce serum levels.
- Nuts may reduce cholesterol levels by about 25% if included in your diet. Sesame seeds have a similar effect.
- Ingestion of Oat bran has a modest effect on reducing serum levels.
- Use of soy protein and soybeans reduced serum and LDL-C levels significantly.
- Use of beans reduces levels by 5-20%.
- Raw carrot consumption of 200 g/day for 3 weeks reduces serum cholesterol level by 11%.
- Consumption of grapefruit in patients with coronary artery disease decreases serum toatl and LDL-C levels.
- Yoghurt had a cholesterol lowering effect.
- Coffee is reported to increase serum total and LDL-C levels.