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Vegetarian diet to lower cholesterol: How to Eat Vegetarian When You Have High Cholesterol

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How to Eat Vegetarian When You Have High Cholesterol

Potential Nutrient Deficiencies Linked With a Vegetarian Diet

A well-rounded vegetarian diet can be healthy and nutritionally sound with some careful planning. In fact, a cohort study published in August 2019 in the Journal of the American Heart Association compared its findings with that of previous research on heart disease and diet. The researchers concluded that their own findings were in line with previous research, indicating that diets that included less meat and skewed vegetarian were associated with a lower overall risk of heart disease. Here are tips to make sure you’re getting enough essential nutrients:

  • Protein You can get all the protein you need from a vegetarian diet. Pulses (beans and peas), legumes, and soy are all rich sources of protein. Good sources of plant protein include whole grains, seeds, nuts, and some vegetables, including brussels sprouts and broccoli, though vegetables are not a significant source of protein. Plant-based meat substitutes have also come a long way in recent years, both in taste and nutrition — just be sure to read the nutrition label to avoid excess sodium and saturated fat.
  • Iron A vegetarian diet may put you at higher risk for iron deficiency. Make sure to get enough good plant-based sources of iron, like dried beans, especially white beans, kidney beans, and lentils, as well as spinach, dried fruit, and yeast, in your diet.
  • Vitamin B12 Vegetarians often don’t get enough B12, which can leave them feeling fatigued. You can make sure to get enough vitamin B12 by incorporating nutritional yeast into your diet. There are tons of recipes for how to use it as a cheese substitute, and one serving contains 100 percent of the daily recommended value of B12, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). You can also include vegetarian-friendly fortified products such as B12-fortified soy milk or cereal, or take a B12 supplement, though you should always try to get most of your nutrients from your food, according to the NIH.
  • Zinc This mineral is important for growth and development, and the top six best sources of zinc are all meat or seafood, according to the NIH. The good news is, grains, nuts, and legumes are good sources of zinc.
  • Vitamin D If you don’t include dairy in your vegetarian diet and you don’t spend much time outdoors in the sun, you might not get the vitamin D you need. Dairy products and fatty fish like tuna and salmon are key sources of vitamin D in the omnivore diet. Mushrooms are a good vegetarian source of vitamin D, but you may want to supplement your diet with vitamin D and calcium.

How to Choose Healthy Fats

Even though a vegetarian diet eliminates animal foods as a source of saturated fat, if you have high cholesterol, you’ll still need to watch out for sources of fat and cooking methods that can affect your cholesterol levels. As a rule of thumb, avoid fried foods and cut back on processed foods when possible.

  • Avoid trans fats. Many vegetable oils have hydrogen added to them. Called hydrogenated oils, these are high in trans fats, which can raise your cholesterol levels. Read the label of any butter substitute or cooking oil you’re choosing in order to avoid trans fats when you cook. Trans fat also hides in processed foods, since it has a stable shelf life. Be particularly careful of prepackaged baked goods, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, refrigerated dough, and nondairy coffee creamer.
  • Limit saturated fats. Saturated fat raises cholesterol levels and is primarily found in meat and full-fat dairy products, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Despite this effect, it has not been more universally proven that all saturated fat intake leads to cardiovascular disease, like heart attack and stroke, and is even more confusing when comparing plant- versus animal-based saturated fats. Regarding nonanimal saturated fat, as previously mentioned, vegetarian meat substitutes like Beyond Meat often contain significant amounts of saturated fat.   Also note that coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils do contain saturated fats. Consider substitutes or balancing your intake of saturated fats with the heart-healthy oils below.
  • Add heart-healthy oils. Unsaturated fats are found in heart-healthy oils, like safflower, corn, olive, canola, sunflower, soybean, and peanut, and can help lower your cholesterol levels. Eating olive oil in particular has been specifically associated with good heart health over time. A Harvard University study published in March 2020 in the journal Circulation evaluated nearly 64,000 women and 35,000 men over a span of 24 years. Those whose diets included more than the average amount of olive oil were 15 percent less likely to have cardiovascular disease (CVD) of any kind and more than 20 percent less likely to have coronary heart disease.
  • Try low-fat cooking. You can sauté in water instead of oil, or use just a very small amount of olive oil to sauté instead of frying. You can also consider investing in an appliance such as an air fryer, which uses very little oil to produce the same effect as deep-frying. Broiling, steaming, poaching, and boiling are better than frying when you’re watching the amount of fat and calories in your diet. When baking, you can cut back on the amount of oil or margarine and replace it with water, juice, or applesauce.

Make Vegetarian Recipes Household Staples

Being vegetarian doesn’t mean you have to cook separate meals for yourself when preparing dinner for a crowd. There are tons of options for heart-healthy vegetarian dishes that pack in nutrients and taste great. Here are some resources that can help you get started:

Being Vegetarian at a Restaurant

Eating out and sticking to your vegetarian diet can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Plan in advance. Think about what kind of restaurant you want to go to so you’ll have more plant-based options. In addition to dedicated vegetarian spots, Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Indian, and Japanese restaurants tend to always have multiple  vegetarian diet options.
  • Scan the menu ahead of time. Most menus are available online on the restaurant’s website.
  • Talk to your server. Don’t assume that your server knows that food prepared in chicken stock isn’t vegetarian or that lard and gelatin are animal products. Be specific about your dietary requirements to avoid surprises in your meal.
  • Ask for a substitution. Many restaurants will gladly substitute meatless pasta or exchange a baked potato for a fried side order. You can also request that your meal be prepared with unsaturated oil to help with your cholesterol levels.

RELATED: Why I Went Vegan for a Healthier Heart

How to Talk to People Who Question Your Vegetarian Diet

Family members and friends who are unfamiliar with a vegetarian diet may try to discourage you because they think a diet without animal foods isn’t safe or nutritious. That’s not accurate, and in fact, studies have shown the opposite to be true. Here are ways to get their support:

  • Educate yourself. Be ready to explain the benefits of a vegetarian diet. Assure family members and friends that a balanced vegetarian diet isn’t missing any nutrients compared with one that includes animal products.
  • Don’t preach. You’ve decided to pursue a vegetarian diet because you think it’s a healthier choice, but don’t expect to change someone else’s diet.
  • Be patient. A vegetarian diet can seem like a radical idea to people who aren’t familiar with it, especially older people, who are less likely to be vegetarian, according to a 2018 Gallup poll. Try to seek out like-minded people through vegetarian social media groups and vegetarian blogs, or by following vegetarian lifestyle influencers on social media.
  • Be responsible. There are tons of vegetarian meal options that will please everyone, even strict omnivores, but still, not everyone may be on board all the time, especially around holidays, when dining traditions may revolve around meat. Be prepared to do your own cooking and shopping, and have the plant-based ingredients you need on hand.
  • Share your food. Once you’ve convinced your family that a vegetarian diet is healthy, prepare a vegetarian meal once a week to share with them. Show them that a vegetarian diet can also be appetizing and filling.

Additional reporting by Kaitlin Sullivan.

Plant-Based Diets and Your Cholesterol

A plant-based diet could benefit your heart in a big way. It might help bring your cholesterol numbers down, along with your chances of getting heart disease someday.

“What’s really cool is that the more plant-based you go, and the more you’re able to embrace vegetarian-style eating, you’re going to get those positive impacts a little bit sooner,” says Libby Mills, a registered dietitian and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

A plant-based diet can mean you mainly fill up on foods that come from plants but still eat a few foods that come from animals. You don’t have to fully go vegetarian (cutting out all meat, fish, and poultry) or vegan (avoiding anything that comes from animals, including eggs and dairy). But you can do so if you want; just be careful to get all the nutrients you need.

The key is to eat a variety of heart-friendly, plant-based foods like:

Plant-Based Health Perks

“What we know is that saturated fat and dietary cholesterol both contribute to raising cholesterol levels in the blood,” says Penny M. Kris-Etherton, PhD, RDN, the Evan Pugh University Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State and a fellow of the American Heart Association. That’s why cutting back on things like fatty meats can help lower your cholesterol.

Eating more fiber-rich foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes can also lower your numbers, she says.

“We should be getting like 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day,” Mills adds. “A quarter of that should come from the soluble fibers,” which include foods like apples, blueberries, beans, nuts, and seeds. Getting about 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber a day can help lower your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, by 5 to 11 points, sometimes more, Mills says.

Plant-based foods like whole grains or fruits and veggies also have healthy substances called sterols. “Eating 2 grams of sterols each day can help lower your LDL cholesterol by 5% to 10%,” she says.

Is One Diet Better for Cholesterol?

You might wonder if a certain diet could give you a cholesterol-lowering edge. For instance, is it best to become a traditional vegetarian? Or would a vegan diet be better for your heart?

It may depend on you and your health. Kris-Etherton says some people could see benefits from a vegetarian or vegan diet. But many people can improve their health with a diet that includes nutritious animal-based foods.

“I’m a strong advocate of seafood,” Kris-Etherton says. “It has all sorts of health benefits. And so, eating a lot of plant-based foods and seafood can be really very healthy.”

Low- or nonfat dairy products can also be part of a nutritious eating plan, she says.

Plant-Based Pitfalls

Just because a certain food fits into a plant-based diet doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you.

Kris-Etherton recommends cutting back on:

  • Ultra-processed foods, which often come in a bag or a box
  • Tropical oils, like coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils
  • Sugary foods, including honey

When you buy packaged foods, check the label. Your favorite plant-based ice cream, for example, might have a lot of coconut oil, coconut fat, and sugar, Kris-Etherton says.

Mills says that eating or drinking too many refined carbs, like sodas and other sugary drinks, could raise levels of blood fats called triglycerides — and that would raise your overall cholesterol.

Also avoid foods that include trans fats, which raise “bad” cholesterol while lowering HDL, or “good” cholesterol, she says. You can find trans fats in items like:

  • Stick margarine
  • Shortening
  • Processed sweets
  • Baked goods
  • Foods made with hydrogenated oils

Talk to an Expert

If you decide to start a plant-based eating plan, do your research to make sure you’re getting a complete, balanced diet. You also might want to talk to a registered dietitian.

“A dietitian will be able to make sure that you’re getting the right amount of calories,” Mills says. “But maybe more importantly, as you begin swapping food choices out, the dietitian will help make sure that you’re meeting your nutrient needs. This would cover protein as well as nutrients that, the more plant-based you go, you could be at greater risk of getting not quite enough of: B-12, iron, zinc, [or] omega-3 fatty acids.”

If you have a health condition, talk with your doctor before you give your eating habits a major overhaul and go fully vegan. They can make sure that it’s safe.

“Anybody who has a medical condition really should first ask their doctor about following a total plant-based diet and see what the doctor says,” Kris-Etherton recommends.

“Kidney patients have to be careful because they have to watch their potassium in their diet, and fruits and vegetables are loaded with potassium. Also, people who are taking Coumadin, which is a blood thinner, have to be really careful about eating foods that are high in vitamin K — and all these leafy greens are just loaded with vitamin K,” she says.

New meta-analysis finds a plant-based vegetarian diet is associated with lower cholesterol

Space-filling model of the Cholesterol molecule. Credit: RedAndr/Wikipedia

A new dietary review of 49 observational and controlled studies finds plant-based vegetarian diets, especially vegan diets, are associated with lower levels of total cholesterol, including lower levels of HDL and LDL cholesterol, compared to omnivorous diets. The meta-analysis appears as an online advance in Nutrition Reviews.

The study authors—Yoko Yokoyama, Ph.D., M.P.H., Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., and Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C.—reviewed 30 observational studies and 19 clinical trials, which met their inclusion criteria. They find:

A plant-based vegetarian diet is associated with total cholesterol that’s 29. 2 mg/dL lower in observational studies. In clinical trials, a plant-based diet lowers total cholesterol by 12.5 mg/dL.

  • In observational studies, a plant-based vegetarian diet is associated with a 22.9 mg/dL reduction in LDL cholesterol and a 3.6 mg/dL reduction in HDL cholesterol, compared to control groups following an omnivorous diet.
  • In clinical trials, a plant-based vegetarian diet lowers LDL cholesterol by 12.2 mg/dL and reduces HDL cholesterol by 3.4 mg/dL, compared to control groups following an omnivorous, low-fat, calorie-restricted, or a conventional diabetes diet.
  • A plant-based vegetarian diet is not associated with statistically significant changes in triglyceride levels in observational studies or in clinical trials.

The authors predict the strong correlation between vegetarian diets and lower cholesterol levels may be due to the association a plant-based diet has with a lower body weight, a reduced intake of saturated fat, and an increased intake of plant foods, like vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and whole grains, which are naturally rich in components such as soluble fiber, soy protein, and plant sterols.

The study authors hypothesize that the greater risk reduction for total, HDL, and LDL cholesterol levels observed in the longitudinal studies is likely due to long-term adherence to plant-based eating patterns and changes in body composition.

“The immediate health benefits of a plant-based diet, like weight loss, lower blood pressure, and improved cholesterol, are well documented in controlled studies,” says study author Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D. “Our goal with studying plasma lipids throughout the lifespan is to capture the net risk reduction of using a vegetarian diet to control lipid levels. We hope to empower patients with new research about the long-term cardiovascular health benefits of a vegetarian diet, which include a reduced risk of a heart attack, stroke, and premature death.”

Charles Ross, D.O., a member of the nonprofit Physicians Committee and a former emergency department physician, has firsthand experience with putting a plant-based diet into practice.

Dr. Ross is in his late 60s, takes no medications, and lowered his previously high total cholesterol from 230 mg/dL to a healthy 135 mg/dL after adopting a whole-food, plant-based diet in 2012. Within the first month of making the dietary change, he effortlessly lost 10 pounds. Within a year, Dr. Ross traded a 34-year career of practicing emergency medicine for a new career path: lifestyle medicine. After 5.5 years of making the career switch, he continues to host free biweekly nutrition classes for his primary care patients and the community. More than 700 people have enrolled to learn how to lose weight, eliminate the need for medications to treat type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and elevated cholesterol, and to simply feel better. His former hometown of Roseburg, Ore., is now a Blue Zones community. He is a part-time instructor at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest and hopes to set an example for future physicians.

“I no longer work for a living,” notes Dr. Ross, who now resides in Westfir, Ore. “I wake up every day eager to hear about how a plant-based diet and a healthful lifestyle is changing and saving lives in our community. What I’ve found is that if you want your patients to make significant health changes, you have to make them yourself. The prescription started to spread soon after my family, co-workers, neighbors, and friends heard about my experience.”

For clinicians concerned about spending extra time in and outside of the exam room, the study authors encourage time-strapped health care providers to refer patients to registered dietitians who can help with the transition to a plant-based vegetarian diet. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans highlights a healthy vegetarian diet as one of three healthful eating plans to follow.

The study authors also note hyperlipidemia, or elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, is often underdiagnosed and undertreated. A 10 percent increase in the prevalence of treatment for hyperlipidemia can prevent 8,000 deaths each year. Taking small steps, like those proposed by the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel 3, which include assessing heart disease risk, making lifestyle and dietary recommendations, and assessing the need for future follow-up appointments and pharmaceutical interventions, could prevent approximately 20,000 heart attacks, 10,000 cases of coronary heart disease, and save almost $3 billion in medical costs each year.

“To make any form of health care work and to truly power economic mobility, we have to get healthy,” says Levin. “The first place to start is by building meals around nutrient-packed, plant-based foods, which fit into nearly every cultural template, taste preference, and budget.”


Not all plant-based diets are created equal


More information:
Yoko Yokoyama et al, Association between plant-based diets and plasma lipids: a systematic review and meta-analysis, Nutrition Reviews (2017). DOI: 10.1093/nutrit/nux030

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Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

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New meta-analysis finds a plant-based vegetarian diet is associated with lower cholesterol (2017, August 22)
retrieved 22 September 2021
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-meta-analysis-plant-based-vegetarian-diet-cholesterol.html

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Cardiometabolic risk factors in vegans; A meta-analysis of observational studies

Agren [36]
Finland
1995
Adults Fins 8 (87%) 11(91%) 47 (12.1) Lipids and phospholipids BMI Strictly uncooked vegan diet for many years with no animal products or added salt- ‘living diet’. 7
Appleby [12]
United Kingdom
2002
EPIC–
Oxford cohort.
739 (63%) 4737 (79%) 47 (12.1) Blood pressure BMI
Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Identified via FFQ questions as not eating any meat, fish, eggs or dairy products 7
Benatar [37]
New Zealand
2017
Health New Zealand adults 25 (76%) 61(74%) 33. 5(8.1) Cardiometabolic risk factors BMI
Waist circumference
Fasting blood glucose
Insulin resistance
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Self-identified vegans recruited via vegan Facebook group. Confirmed with FFQ and fatty acid levels of 17:0 and 15:0. 8
Bradbury [38]
United Kingdom
2014
EPIC–
Oxford cohort.
422 (NR) 424(NR) 45 (12.0) Lipids BMI
LDL-cholesterol
Identified via FFQ questions as not eating any meat, fish, eggs or dairy products 7
Chiu[39]
Taiwan
2016
MJ Health Screening Centre 1913(75%) 40 915(75%) 48. 9 (12.5) Metabolic syndrome BMI
Waist circumference
Fasting blood glucose
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Identified via FFQ questions as not eating any meat, fish, eggs or dairy products 8
De Biase[40]
Brazil
2005
Seventh Day Adventists in São Paulo 18 (45%) 22 (68%) 34.0 (13.0) Lipids BMI
Waist circumference
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Self-identified vegans recruited via vegetarian restaurants at Seventh-day Adventist Churches, among Hare-Krishna members, and at spiritualistic centres. 4
Elorinne [41]
Finland
2016
Healthy Finnish adults
18–50 years
22 (72%) 19 (58%) 34.0 (13.0) Nutritional status BMI Self-identified vegans found via Finnish
Vegan Association’s monthly newspaper and via an online discussion forum
8
Famodu[42]
Nigeria
1998
Seventh-Day Adventist Seminary Institute of West Africa 8 (0%) 40 (0%) 47. 8 (1.7) Blood pressure and lipids BMI
Fasting blood glucose
Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Seminary students and lecturers where cafeteria provide the majority of meals–habitual vegans 7
Fisher[43]
United States America
1986
Seventh day adventists 10 (NR) 25 (56%) 37 (10) Lipid and platelet levels LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Identified via FFQ as consuming eggs and dairy products never or infrequently (less than once per week), 6
Fokkema
Males [26]
Netherlands
2000
Healthy Dutch males 20–60 years 8(0%) 9 (0%) 38. 5 (3.4) Polyunsaturated fatty acids BMI Self-identified vegans recruited by
advertisement in the periodicals of the Dutch Vegan Association and the Groningen University
8
Fokkema
Females [26]
Netherlands
2000
Healthy Dutch females 20–60 years 4 (100%) 6 (100%) 34.2 (12.5) Polyunsaturated fatty acids BMI Self-identified vegans recruited by advertisement in the periodicals of the Dutch Vegan Association and the Groningen University 8
Fontana[44]
United States America
2007
Sedentary vegans and omnivores 21(55%) 21(55%) 53. 1 (11) Cardiometabolic risk factors BMI
Fasting blood glucose
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Self-identified vegans recruited though The St. Louis Vegetarian Society and a Raw Food online
magazine
9
Fraser[19]
United States America
2015
Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2)- African American cohort 51 (NR) 366 (NR) NR Cardiometabolic risk factors Waist circumference
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Identified via FFQ within 2–3 years—Vegan defined as those, who eat no animal products 8
Goff[45]
United Kingdom
2004
Caucasian subjects 21 (45%) 25 (50%) 42. 4 (2.8) Insulin and lipids BMI
Fasting blood glucose
Insulin resistance
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Self-identified vegan > 3 years recruited through an advertisement in The Vegan Society (UK) newsletter. 9
Gojda[46]
Czechoslovakia
2013
Caucasian subjects 11 (45%) 10 (40%) 28.4 (3.2) Insulin resistance BMI
Waist circumference
Fasting blood glucose
Insulin resistance
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Unclear how vegans identified for study. Vegans defined as no animal product > 3 years. 4
Haddad [47]
United States America
1999
Seventh Day Adventist (University students) 25(60%) 20(50%) 34.8 (8.1) Dietary and nutritional status BMI
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Not clear- suggests vegan identified based on results of 4 day prospective FFQ. 5
Huang[18]
Taiwan
2011
Elderly
Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan (1999–2000)
83 (84%) 802 (40·5%) 71. 9 (5.7) Metabolic syndrome BMI
Fasting blood glucose
LDL-cholesterol
Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Identified via FFQ—three vegetarian meals/d and 30 d per month. 1 question asked what type of vegetarian diet. -habitual vegans 8
Huang
Pre menopausal[28]
Taiwan
2014
Taiwanese Survey on Hypertension,Hyperglycemia, and Hyperlipid-
emia (TwSHHH)
36 (100%) 2285 (100%) 41.1 (7.2) Lipids Waist circumference
Fasting blood glucose
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Identified via FFQ—diet excluded egg, milk, meat, poultry, seafood and by-products of animal slaughter for more than 1 year 8
Huang
Postmenopausal[28]
Taiwan
2014
Taiwanese Survey on Hypertension,Hyperglycemia, and Hyperlipid-
emia (TwSHHH)
63 (100%) 1040 (100%) 62. 2 (10) Lipids Waist circumference
Fasting blood glucose
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Identified via FFQ -excluded egg, milk, meat, poultry, seafood and by-products of animal slaughter for more than 1 year 8
Jian
Females [33]
Taiwan
2014
Taiwanese Survey on Hypertension,Hyperglycemia, and Hyperlipid-
emia (TwSHHH)
99 (100%) 3325(100%) 50.2 (13.6) Lipids and BP Waist circumference
Fasting blood glucose
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Identified via FFQ -excluded egg, milk, meat, poultry, seafood and by-products of animal slaughter for more than 1 year 8
Jian
Males [33]
Taiwan
2014
Taiwanese Survey on Hypertension,Hyperglycemia, and Hyperlipid-
emia (TwSHHH)
45 (0%) 3144(0%) 47. 6 (16.3) Lipids and BP Waist circumference
Fasting blood glucose
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Identified via FFQ -excluded egg, milk, meat, poultry, seafood and by-products of animal slaughter for more than 1 year 8
Key
Males[27]
United Kingdom
2014
Oxford Vegetarian Study + EPIC-Oxford cohort 862 (0%) 8474 (0%) 43.8 (14) Cancer rates BMI Identified via FFQ questions as not eating any meat, fish, eggs or dairy products–from GP practices and vegan society 7
Key
Females[27]
United Kingdom
2014
Oxford Vegetarian Study + EPIC-Oxford cohort 1384(100%) 24017(100%) 43. 8 (14) Cancer rates BMI Identified via FFQ questions as not eating any meat, fish, eggs or dairy products–from GP practices and vegan society 7
Krajcovicová-Kudlácková [48]
Slovakia
2000
Healthy Slovakians 32 (69%) 59(63%) 41.2(5.8) Homocysteine and lipids BMI
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Slovak vegetarian
society and boarders of the centre of healthy
nutrition in Bratislava ‘who only ate plant food’
4
Kritchevsky[49]
United States America
1984
Seventh-day Adventists 18 (50%) 25 (48%) Not stated Lipids LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Identified via FFQ—eat no animal products 6
Kuchta [50]
Poland
2016
Gdansk healthy adults 21 (57%) 21 (62%) 28 (5) Lipids BMI
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Identified via FFQ—eat no animal products for at least 10 months- unclear how recruited 5
Li [35]
Australia
1999
Males from Melbourne 18 (0%) 60 (0%) 34. 5 (13.1) Thrombotic risk factors BMI
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Self-identified vegans recruited from adverts; vegan was defined as someone who ate no meat and eggs and dairy products less than six times per year on FFQ. 8
Lin [51]
Taiwan
2010
Buddhist nuns 102 (100%) 102 (100%) 46.6 (16.8) Renal functions BMI
Fasting blood glucose
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Vegetarian nuns- mainly only eat vegan food but occasionally consume dairy and eggs- habitual vegans 7
Newby[52]
Sweden
2005
Swedish Mammography Cohort. 83 (100%) 54257 (100%) 53.5 (9.7) Weight, BMI BMI Identified via FFQ zero
consumption of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products, respectively in large mammogram cohort
9
Orlich[53]
United States America
2013
Adventist Health Study 2 (AHS-2) 5548 (64%) 35359 (66%) 56.3(13.6) Mortality BMI Identified via FFQ—from churches in the United States and Canada between 2002 and 2007. 8
Orlov[54]
Finland
1994
Finnish adults 9 (NR) 11(NR) 50(10) Univalent cation fluxes in human erythrocytes Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Strictly uncooked vegan diet for many years with no animal products or added salt- ‘living diet’ 7
Pettersen[55]
United States
2012
Adventist Health Study-2
(non-African American cohort)
49 (71.4%) 198 (61. 6%) 62·7 (12.8) Blood pressure BMI
Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Identified via FFQ—from churches in the United States and Canada between 2002 and 2007. 8
Roshanai
Males [23]
United kingdom
1984
NR 11(0%) 12(0%) NR Fatty acid intakes LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Self-identified vegans from vegan society 6
Roshanai
Females [23]
United kingdom
1984
NR 12 (100%) 12 (100%) NR Fatty acid intakes LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Self-identified vegans from vegan society 6
Sambol[56]
Croatia
2009
Croatian adults 20 50 35. 5(3.2) Bone Density BMI
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Not defined where vegans sourced. 4
Sanders[57]
United Kingdom
1978
Healthy British adults 22 (45%) 22 (45%) 38 (12) Phospholidids BMI
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Self-identified vegans from vegan society 7
Sanders
Males [24]
United Kingdom
1987
Healthy British men 11 (5%) 11(0%) 30 (3. 2) Blood pressure, aldosterone, renin BMI
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Self-identified vegans from vegan society 7
Sanders
Females [24]
United Kingdom
1987
Healthy British women 11 (100%) 11 (100%) 30 (3.2) Blood pressure, aldosterone, renin BMI
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Self-identified vegans from vegan society 7
Sanders
Males [25]
United Kingdom
1992
Healthy British men 10 (0%) 10(0%) 32 Platelet phospholipid fatty acid composition and function BMI
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Self-identified vegans from vegan society 7
Sanders
Females [25]
United Kingdom
1992
Healthy British women 10(100%) 10(100%) 32 Platelet phospholipid fatty acid composition and function BMI
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Self-identified vegans from vegan society 7
Schüpbach [58]
Switzerland
2015
Healthy Swiss adults 53 (60%) 100(63%) 30. 5(8.6) Micronutrient status BMI Self-identified vegans using advertisements in schools, restaurants and shops. 6
Timko[59]
United States America
2012
University students 35 (86%) 265 (70%) 24.89 (12.4) Dietary restraint
and eating disorder symptoms
BMI Self-identified vegans from psychology
department research pools of two urban universities, via flyers
distributed to local health food stores, and through the internet
7
Thomas[60]
United Kingdom
1999
European Prospective Investigation into Nutrition and
Cancer
105 (100%) 153(100%) 47.8 (12.8) Oestradiol and sex hormone-binding globulin BMI Self-identified vegans recruited through vegetarian and health food magazines, the Vegetarian Society and the Vegan Society, and word of mouth 8
Thorogood
Males[21]
United Kingdom
1990
Healthy British men 26(0%) 26 (0%) 42.5 (5.7) Lipids BMI
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Self-identified vegans recruited through the Vegetarian Society, through publicity in national and local media and word of mouth 8
Thorogood
Females[21]
United Kingdom
1990
Healthy British females 26(100%) 26 (100%) 42.5 (5.7) Lipids BMI
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Self-identified vegans recruited through the Vegetarian Society, through publicity in national and local media and word of mouth 8
Toohey
Males[34]
United States America
1998
African American Seventh-day Adventist 14 (0%) 49 (0%) 47.5 (12) Cardiometabolic risk factors BMI Identified via FFQ -African American Church members from Washington,
DC; Philadelphia, PA; and Baltimore, MD.
8
Toohey
Females[34]
United States America
1998
African American Seventh-day Adventist 31 (100%) 94 (100%) 51.5 (12) Cardiometabolic risk factors BMI
Waist circumference
Identified via FFQ -African American Church members from Washington,
DC; Philadelphia, PA; and Baltimore, MD.
8
Vinagre[20]
Brazil
2013
Healthy adults 21(47%) 29 (41.3%) 36 (10) Regulation metabolism of triglyceride
rich lipoprotein
BMI
LDL-cholesterol
Triglycerides
Self-identified vegans from web site for vegetarians 6

Cholesterol On A Plant-Based Diet: Your Essential Guide To The Good And Bad

Reading Time: 4 minutes

We all need cholesterol in our bodies to keep them working properly. But too much can clog up our arteries and lead to serious health problems. Especially if we have more bad cholesterol than good.

By making some simple, positive changes, most people can keep their cholesterol levels healthy. Here’s everything you need to know about healthy cholesterol.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a blood lipid – a waxy, fatty substance that circulates in your blood. The liver makes, but is also found in animal-based foods. It plays an important role in the body – helping to build cells, make vitamin D, and a range of hormones.

You need some cholesterol in your blood to stay healthy — good cholesterol that comes from plants. But too much can lead to diseases of the heart and blood vessels. 

Good and bad cholesterol

Cholesterol travels through your blood on proteins called lipoproteins and there are two types. Low-density lipoprotein, LDL, is the ‘bad’ cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein, HDL, ‘good’ cholesterol. (It’s easy to remember them too as HDL being ‘healthy’ and LDL being ‘lousy’.)

LDL carries cholesterol to cells, but if there is too much in your system, it builds up and forms plaque. The term for this artery narrowing is atherosclerosis. When normal blood flow is blocked, heart attacks and stroke become more likely. HDL, on the other hand, carries cholesterol away from the cells. It takes it back to the liver where it’s broken down and moves out of the body as waste. 

Cholesterol is measured in millimoles per litre, and the lower your LDL number, the better it is for your health. The government recommends levels of 3mmol/L or less for healthy adults. For HDL an ideal level is above 1mmol/L. 

The total cholesterol number your doctor will give you is a collective measure of LDL, HDL, and other lipids. Official guidelines say that levels should be 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults. But rates in the UK are among the highest in the world, with three out of five adults at 5mmol/L or above.  

What causes high cholesterol?

Lifestyle factors that affect cholesterol levels include consuming too much saturated fat — the unhealthy type found in meat, eggs, dairy, pies, pastries, processed foods, fatty spreads, coconut oil, and palm fat. Smoking, drinking alcohol, and not being physically active can also increase cholesterol. Being overweight, particularly carrying excess weight around your middle, can increase the risk. So can an underactive thyroid, type-2 diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, and certain medications can also increase the risk.

You can’t change genetic risks, but you can change what you eat and the amount you exercise. 

Anyone can have high cholesterol – even if you’re young, slim, eat well, and exercise. That’s because lifestyle factors aren’t the only causes. You can also inherit high cholesterol, so be sure to discuss your family history with your primary care physician. The best way to find out is to get a test from a health care professional. There are cholesterol-lowering treatments available such as statins, but it may be possible to lower it naturally with healthy lifestyle changes.

Anyone can have high cholesterol – even if you’re young, slim, eat well and exercise (Photo: Adobe. Do not use without permission)

Cholesterol in food

Eggs and organ meats were once the primary suspects for high cholesterol. But we now know that cholesterol is produced in the liver. Saturated fat and trans fat in the diet increase cholesterol production. If you eat a lot of fatty foods, cholesterol levels can rise to unhealthy levels. 

Cholesterol is only found in animal products – meat, fish, poultry, dairy, and eggs. There is no cholesterol in plant-based foods – even in high-fat plant foods such as avocados, nuts and seeds. So, it follows that a vegan diet is completely cholesterol-free. Although cholesterol in food is not as bad as previously thought, high-risk people should limit or avoid it.  

Trans fats are found at low levels in meat and dairy products. They’re also found in processed foods like baked goods or products containing hydrogenated vegetable oil. They also raise cholesterol levels, but many producers have now removed hydrogenated (hardened) vegetable oil from their products.   

Not all fats are created equal 

Government guidelines recommend reducing saturated fat by avoiding or cutting down on fatty foods. Replacing meat and dairy with polyunsaturated fat found in nuts, seeds, and plant-based oils, lowers cholesterol more than reducing the total amount of fat you eat.   

You don’t need to buy expensive foods, though. You can lower and maintain healthy cholesterol levels by eating a varied, wholegrain, vegan diet. A 2013 EPIC-Oxford study found that British vegetarians and vegans have a 32 per cent lower risk of heart disease than meat-eaters. This includes people who consume fish. The lower risk, according to the study, was likely a result of differences in cholesterol and blood pressure levels as animal-based foods increase both (as well as diabetes, obesity and certain cancers).  

All major health organisations agree that saturated fat is a risk factor for heart disease. The message is simple – to lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease, eat plant-based. And don’t forget to exercise regularly, too!

Foods that help lower cholesterol 

  • Oats – a small 50 gram-sized serving provides nearly five grams of fibre and you can boost this by adding dried fruit, nuts, a banana or berries and soya milk.   
  • Wholegrain foods – brown rice, wholemeal bread and wholewheat pasta can help lower cholesterol, mainly because of the fibre they contain. The average UK adult fibre intake is 19 grams per day, well below the recommended 30 grams. Swap refined white bread, rice and pasta for healthier wholegrain varieties.  
  • Pulses – peas, beans and lentils are especially rich in fibre and take a while for the body to digest, which means you feel full for longer and this helps if you want to lose weight. There are many to choose from: kidney beans, chickpeas, red, brown and green lentils – the possibilities are endless! 
  • Fruit and vegetables – make sure you get at least five a day – more is better! All fruits and vegetables are low in saturated fat and provide valuable cholesterol-lowering fibre. 
  • Nuts – many studies show that nuts are good for your heart. A small handful of Brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts or pistachios can help reduce abdominal fat, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar as well as improving the balance of fats in the blood. Aim for around 28 grams a day, which is around a handful.
  • Soya – 25 grams a day of soya foods can help lower cholesterol. You can get that from 100g of tofu, a 200ml glass of soya milk and a small pot of soya yoghurt. Soya also contains fibre, unsaturated fats and a range of vitamins and minerals. Replacing meat and dairy products with tofu, soya milk and soya-based meat alternatives is a great way to lower your cholesterol.  

Find out how a vegan diet protects against heart disease here

This article was originally published by Viva! here

Related Vegan & Plant-Based News

A Beginner’s Guide To Eating For Heart Health

A healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons to protect against heart disease. According to research findings, incorporating heart-healthy foods, exercising more, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking can help reduce cardiovascular disease-related deaths by 50 percent. In this article, we’ll look at the causes of high cholesterol. We’ll also look at foods that can either help or hurt your efforts to lower cholesterol. Finally, we’ll give you a 7-day meal plan to lower cholesterol.

 

What Causes High Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is carried through your blood, attached to proteins. This combination of proteins and cholesterol is called lipoprotein. There are two different types of cholesterol, based on what the lipoprotein carries (12): 

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), aka the “bad cholesterol”. It carries cholesterol to the cells. It has a tendency to become oxidized, which can cause arteries to become clogged.
  • High-density lipoproteins (HDL), aka the “good cholesterol”. It carries cholesterol back to the liver and processes and removes it from the body through excretion.

Another type of fat in the blood is called triglycerides, which also influence your risk of heart disease in combination with cholesterol (8). 

The biggest factor in determining your overall cholesterol levels is heredity (7). Your genetic makeup might make it more difficult for your body to remove LDL cholesterol from your blood or break it down in the liver. This doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to develop unhealthy cholesterol levels, but you do need to be proactive in keeping them under control. 

Because diet and lifestyle are important factors, controlling them can help promote heart health. If you have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, it’s especially important to incorporate these changes into your daily life.

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Although factors like genetics are beyond your control and aging can sometimes cause this condition, the underlying cause of high cholesterol is often an unhealthy lifestyle. High cholesterol levels can be caused by the following risk factors (3):

  • Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke
  • Obesity and being overweight, especially in the abdominal region (central obesity) 
  • Diet high in saturated and trans fats 
  • High intakes of sugar and refined carbohydrates (sugars) in your diet
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Lack of exercise

Read More: Low-Cholesterol Breakfast: A Beginner’s Guide To Healthy Morning Meals

Why Lower Cholesterol?

High cholesterol levels can cause a dangerous accumulation of plaque on your arteries (11). This accumulation inhibits blood flow through your arteries; resulting in complications such as:

  • Angina and other symptoms of coronary artery disease. It causes chest pain, pressure, or squeezing in the arm, shoulder, and neck.
  • Heart attack. The sudden lack of blood flow to part of the heart muscle, which can result in permanent damage or even death.
  • Stroke. It is also known as a brain attack because it occurs when a clot blocks an artery supplying blood to the brain. This causes major injury to brain tissues, which can lead to paralysis and death.

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How To Lower Cholesterol With A Diet?

As mentioned previously, your genetic makeup plays a big role in determining the overall health of your cholesterol levels. But it’s still important to be proactive with a healthy diet, lifestyle, and weight management if you want to maintain good heart health. 

What Foods Are High In Cholesterol?

Some foods naturally contain cholesterol, called dietary cholesterol. According to the NHS, dietary cholesterol has much less of an effect on the cholesterol levels in your blood than saturated and trans fats (13). Foods high in dietary cholesterol (and safe to eat in moderation) include:

  • Organ meats (kidneys)
  • Eggs
  • Prawns

Eating too many foods high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. This is because saturated fats cause your liver to produce more LDL cholesterol. It’s best to replace saturated and trans-fats with healthy unsaturated fats.

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Foods high in saturated fat include:

  • Butter, ghee, and lard
  • Cream and cream-based sauces 
  • Processed meats like hot dogs, bacon, sausage, salami
  • Fatty cuts of red meat
  • Hard cheeses
  • Foods containing coconut oil, palm oil, and cocoa butter

Trans fats can also raise cholesterol levels (19). Foods containing trans fats include:

  • Processed foods like pastries, pies, cakes, and biscuits made with trans-fat (partially hydrogenated) vegetable oils
  • Commercially fried food products
  • Fries or potato chips fried in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans-fats)

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What Are The Best Foods To Lower Cholesterol?

Unsaturated fats don’t increase your cholesterol levels. They’re actually beneficial because they lower overall cholesterol and blood pressure while still providing energy for your body (1). You can find them in:

  • Fish, such as salmon, mackerel, or tuna, and oily fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (fats that may lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol)
  • Nuts such as almonds, brazil nuts, and walnuts (almonds are a good source of magnesium, calcium, and vitamin E)
  • Lean red meats such as low-fat beef, lean pork meat, or lamb 
  • Vegetable oils and spreads such as rapeseed or vegetable oil, sunflower, olive, corn, and walnut oils

Diet Plans That Help Lower Cholesterol

A diet that’s low in salt, sugar, and saturated/trans fats and rich in omega-3 fatty acids can lower LDL cholesterol (14). You should also aim to eat three portions of fatty fish per week. A portion will be around two average-sized servings or 140g. 

A diet high in fruits and vegetables is a must if you want to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. 

The fruits and vegetables highest in soluble fiber are plums, pears, apples, and oranges. Soluble fiber binds with fatty substances in your gut so that they get excreted from your body instead of entering your bloodstream (4).

The Mediterranean and Vegetarian diets are particularly suitable for reducing cholesterol. We take a look at each of these diets below.

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The Mediterranean Diet For Lowering Cholesterol Levels

The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that contains foods typically consumed in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. This includes items like olives, olive oil, garlic, fish, vegetables, and whole grains—all of which help lower cholesterol levels naturally (17).

How Does The Mediterranean Diet Help Lower Cholesterol?

The Mediterranean diet consists of natural foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and fish. These foods contain phytochemicals that help reduce cholesterol levels in the body by preventing your body from absorbing as much cholesterol from the limited high-fat foods you consume (5). The Mediterranean diet also encourages regular exercise, which promotes heart health and aids with the circulation that helps keep blood pressure down.

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Foods To Eat On The Mediterranean Diet

The diet is based on whole foods, as opposed to the processed food that has dominated much of our daily diets. The following are some examples of the foods recommended in this diet:

Salmon, halibut, and sole are fish high in omega-3 fatty acids that help to lower cholesterol levels (14).

Read More: Is Raw Salmon Good For You?

Carrot salads, eggplant, and zucchini grilled or steamed with other vegetables are recommended on this diet because they are low-fat and high in nutrients.

Olives are used frequently in recipes common to this diet. They contain polyphenol molecules that function as antioxidants, which also lowers cholesterol levels (6).

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Pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds all help lower cholesterol through their beneficial oils.

Red wine contains the component resveratrol, an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals. Resveratrol prevents LDL (bad) cholesterol from turning into plaque buildup in the arteries by inhibiting a certain enzyme called HMGCoA reductase (16). Cooking does not affect the resveratrol content of a wine. A Mediterranean diet includes red wine only in moderation, because too much alcohol can counterbalance the positive effects that resveratrol has on heart health.

Olive and canola are the two vegetable oils suggested on this diet. They contain monounsaturated fats that help lower cholesterol by increasing HDL (good) cholesterol in your body (2). When consumed in excess, saturated fats, like those found in butter, may have the opposite effect and actually increase LDL cholesterol levels.

Foods To Avoid On The Mediterranean Diet

Any food with trans fat. Your goal is to eat as little trans fat as possible while still following a balanced diet. Foods high in trans fat include fried foods such as donuts and french fries, commercially baked goods like cookies and cakes made with partially hydrogenated oil, margarine spreads, fast-food fries, processed and packaged snacks.

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7-Day Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan To Lower Cholesterol And Lose Weight

With this simple 1500-calorie meal plan, you’ll protect your heart and lose a healthy 1 to 2 pounds per week in the process. The meals and snacks in this diet plan feature heart-healthy foods that are part of the Mediterranean diet. 

Day 1

  • Breakfast: 1 serving Greek yogurt with blueberries, walnuts, and honey (18.4g carbs, 30.6g fat, 17.7g protein, and 405 calories)
  • Lunch: 2 hummus and veggie sandwiches (75.9g carbs, 16.1g fat, 26g protein, and 532 calories)
  • Supper: 1 serving roasted salmon with 2 servings of garlic green beans (23.9g carbs, 37.2g fat, 34.1g protein, and 567 calories)

Total daily calories: 1504 calories 

Day 2

  • Breakfast: 2 servings of spinach, Swiss and egg white omelet with 2 slices of whole-wheat toast (29.5g carbs, 10.9g fat, 42.5g protein, and 392 calories)
  • Lunch: 1 serving of tuna stuffed pepper with 1 avocado (29.5g carbs, 32.2g fat, 39.1g, and 534 calories)
  • Supper: 2 servings of chicken labor (66.7g, 7.4g fat, 56.5g protein, and 570 calories)

Total daily calories: 1496 calories

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Day 3

  • Breakfast: 1 serving Asian salmon in foil (20g carbs, 22g fat, 59g protein, and 525 calories)
  • Lunch: 1 serving of basic mixed green salad with peanut butter and celery (4 stalks of celery with 4 tablespoons of peanut butter) (30.6g carbs, 32.8g fat, 20.7g protein, and 467 calories)
  • Supper: 2 servings vegetable stir fry (52.7g carbs, 29.1g fat, 16.7g protein, and 501 calories)

Total daily calories: 1492 calories 

Day 4

  • Breakfast: 1 serving Southwestern eggs with 2 slices of whole-wheat toast (27.1g carbs, 20.2g fat, 25.8g protein, and 397 calories)
  • Lunch: 1 simple Caprese sandwich with 1 ounce of almonds (58.1g carbs, 22.9g fat, 22.9g protein, and 518 calories)
  • Supper: 2 servings of veggie and chicken salad (42.2g carbs, 31.4g fat, 38.9g protein, and 589 calories)

Total daily calories: 1503 calories

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Day 5

  • Breakfast: 2 servings of spinach and mushroom breakfast scramble with 1 cup of strawberries (23.3g carbs, 10.9g fat, 60.3g protein, and 430 calories)
  • Lunch: 1 serving of chicken and avocado salad (12g carbs, 25g fat, 34.6g protein, and 404 calories)
  • Supper: 2 kidney bean quesadillas tortillas (84.2g carbs, 25.5g fat, 31.6g protein, and 679 calories)

Total daily calories: 1512 calories

Day 6

  • Breakfast: Gordon Ramsay’s scrambled eggs (1.4g carbs, 40.1g fat, 19.3 g protein, and 445 calories)
  • Lunch: 1 serving of basic mixed green salad with peanut butter and celery (4 stalks of celery with 4 tablespoons of peanut butter) (30.6g carbs, 32.8g fat, 20.7g protein, and 467 calories)
  • Supper: 1 serving of tuna patties with 2 servings of green beans with olive oil (37g carbs, 22.3g fat, 47.1g protein, and 524 calories)

Total daily calories: 1491 calories

Day 7

  • Breakfast: 1 serving of peach yogurt parfait (53g carbs, 18.6g fat, 17.9g protein, and 443 calories)
  • Lunch: 2 tomatoes and hummus on rye sandwiches (66.7g carbs, 13.5g fat, 15.4g protein, and 426 calories)
  • Supper: 1 chicken wrap with 2 servings of steamed broccoli with olive oil and parmesan (47.9g carbs, 32.8g fat, 41.1g protein, and 630 calories)

Total daily calories: 1499 calories

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Vegetarian Diet For Lowering Cholesterol Levels

The vegetarian diet offers many health benefits, and one of them is lowering cholesterol levels. A vegetarian lifestyle not only helps you shed off excess pounds, but it also helps lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol as well. This way, the risk for heart problems like high blood pressure and heart disease can be decreased significantly (9).

A diet that consists of no animal products is quite low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, which are considered the main culprits in increasing bad cholesterol levels in the body. Furthermore, this kind of diet has been known to help reduce blood triglyceride levels effectively. 

Non-meat protein sources such as soy products have been associated with an increase in vitamin B12 levels. These vitamins are essential for lowering the risk of stroke (20). 

While on a vegetarian diet for lowering cholesterol levels, you should eat foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.

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Foods To Eat On A Vegetarian Diet For Lowering Cholesterol Levels 

Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are all excellent sources of fiber and other nutrients. They should be included in your diet if you want to lower your cholesterol level naturally with the vegetarian diet (18). Such foods include:

  • Oatmeal, brown rice, and other whole grains
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Cruciferous vegetables like celery and broccoli
  • Leafy greens like spinach and kale
  • Berries
  • Avocados
  • Citrus fruits

A vegetarian lifestyle also includes a lot of vegetable oils that contain phytochemicals, which help reduce bad cholesterol levels by preventing LDL from being absorbed by the body (15). Some foods high in these antioxidants include:

  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, cashews)
  • Seeds (sunflower and pumpkin seeds)
  • Soy products (tofu, edamame) 
  • Legumes such as kidney beans

Foods To Avoid On The Vegetarian Diet

The vegetarian diet excludes the following foods:

  • Beef
  • Poultry including turkey, duck, and chicken
  • Fish and seafood including lobster, shrimp, and scallops

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7-Day Vegetarian Diet Meal Plan To Lower Cholesterol And Lose Weight

With this simple 1500-calorie meal plan, you’ll protect your heart and lose a healthy 1 to 2 pounds per week in the process. The meals and snacks in this diet plan feature heart-healthy foods that are part of the vegetarian diet. 

Day 1

  • Breakfast: 2 pans of pesto scrambled (5.9g carbs, 45.5g fat, 28.3g protein, and 553 calories)
  • Lunch: 2 veggie and hummus sandwiches (73.8g carbs, 9.9g fat, 20.2g protein, and 466 calories)
  • Supper: 2 servings of mozzarella and hummus on multigrain flatbread with 1 serving of zucchini spears with parmesan (45g carbs, 20g fat, 41.2g protein, and 483 calories)

Total daily calories: 1502 calories 

Day 2

  • Breakfast: 1 serving of protein yogurt and blueberries (39.4g carbs, 16.5g fat, 53.7g protein, and 503 calories)
  • Lunch: 1 banana with 2 tablespoons almond butter and 5 raisins and 1 avocado (48.1g carbs, 35.7g fat, 7.6g protein, and 498 calories)
  • Supper: 1 serving of pasta with red sauce and mozzarella with 1 serving of steamed broccoli with olive oil and parmesan (59.3g carbs, 20.6g fat, 24.7g protein, and 497 calories)

Total daily calories: 1499 calories

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Day 3

  • Breakfast: 2 servings of pear banana smoothie (116.2g carbs, 2.1g fat, 8.3g protein, and 461 calories)
  • Lunch: 1 serving of peanut butter and honey sandwich on rye with 1 cup of carrots strips, and 5 tablespoons of hummus (64.5g carbs, 25.6g fat, 20.2g protein, and 545 calories)
  • Supper: 2 servings of garlic angel hair pasta with roasted asparagus and onions (68.8g carbs, 15g fat, 21.1g protein, and 495 calories)

Total daily calories: 1501 calories

Day 4

  • Breakfast: 2 servings of cinnamon blueberry breakfast smoothie (101.7g carbs, 6g fat, 20.2g protein, and 506 calories)
  • Lunch: 1 hummus and veggie sandwich with 2 medium bananas (91.8g carbs, 8.8g fat, 15.6g protein, and 476 calories)
  • Supper: 1 serving black bean vegetarian quesadillas with 2 easy hard-boiled eggs (50.7g carbs, 21.3g fat, 31.5g protein, and 517 calories)

Total daily calories: 1499 calories 

Day 5

  • Breakfast: 1 serving super green energy drink (125.6g carbs, 1.8g fat, 7.7g protein, and 471 calories)
  • Lunch: 2 servings of cauliflower and mushrooms with ranch snack (19.5g carbs, 32.4g fat, 10.9g protein, and 392 calories)
  • Supper: 2 cups of rice and black beans (112.3g carbs, 7.2g fat, 26.8g protein, and 621 calories)

Total daily calories: 1503 calories

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Day 6

  • Breakfast: 2 servings of berry yogurt smoothie (74g carbs, 1.3g fat, 29.8g protein, and 415 calories)
  • Lunch: 2 servings of Southwestern salad with black beans (93.2g carbs, 2.7g fat, 25.1g protein, and 460 calories)
  • Supper: 2 servings of grilled cheese with tomato, peppers, and basil (53.3g carbs, 34.6g fat, 28.7g protein, and 633 calories)

Total daily calories: 1509 calories 

Day 7

  • Breakfast: 2 bowls of oatmeal and peaches with 2 cups of blueberries (122g carbs, 3.6g fat, 13.7g protein, and 520 calories)
  • Lunch: 1 serving of kale and pesto salad (54.1g carbs, 16.4g fat, 18.8g protein, and 423 calories)
  • Supper: 2 servings of zucchini pasta in a lemon cream sauce (34.8g carbs, 45.3g fat, 15.7g protein, and 572 calories)

Total daily calories: 1515 calories 

How To Lower Cholesterol With Diet: Other Factors To Consider

Exercise is a vital part of any cholesterol-lowering regime. Exercise increases blood flow to your muscles and organs and helps you maintain a healthy weight (10). 

Controlling stress is an important part of maintaining good heart health too. Stress can raise levels of LDL cholesterol, so it’s important to have a good work-life balance. You can meditate or take up yoga.

If your cholesterol levels are high but falling within the normal range, you may be able to stop taking statins if your doctor agrees. Statin medication can cause side effects such as muscle pain or liver dysfunction, so it’s important to follow a healthy diet plan and try not to exceed the recommended daily intake of saturated/trans fats and cholesterol.

The Bottom Line

A well-balanced diet can be used as part of a healthy lifestyle plan to help reduce cholesterol levels and lower the risk of developing heart problems. Mediterranean and vegetarian diets are not only good for heart health but also quite easy to follow if you’re looking to lose weight as well.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. 11 Foods that Lower Cholesterol – Harvard Health Publishing – Harvard (2021, health.harvard.edu)
  2. Adding monounsaturated fatty acids to a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods in hypercholesterolemia (2010, cmaj.ca)
  3. Blood Cholesterol | NHLBI, NIH (2018, nhlbi.nih.gov)
  4. Cholesterol-lowering effects of dietary fiber: a meta-analysis (1999, academic.oup.com)
  5. Effectiveness of altering serum cholesterol levels without drugs (2000, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil Polyphenols Promote Cholesterol Efflux and Improve HDL Functionality (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  7. Genetic-epidemiological evidence on genes associated with HDL cholesterol levels: A systematic in-depth review (2008, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  8. HDL (Good), LDL (Bad) Cholesterol and Triglycerides (2020, heart.org)
  9. Health effects of vegan diets | The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition | Oxford Academic (2009, academic.oup.com)
  10. High cholesterol – How to lower your cholesterol (2019, nhs.uk)
  11. High cholesterol – Symptoms and causes (2021, mayoclinic.org)
  12. LDL & HDL: Good & Bad Cholesterol | cdc.gov (2020, cdc.gov)
  13. Lower your cholesterol (2018, nhs.uk)
  14. Overview of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Therapies (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  15. Phytosterols – an overview (n.d., sciencedirect.com)
  16. Resveratrol and Cardiovascular Diseases (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  17. The Mediterranean Diet decreases LDL atherogenicity in high cardiovascular risk individuals: a randomized controlled trial (2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  18. The vegetarian diet – Eat well (2018, nhs.uk)
  19. Trans fatty acids and cholesterol levels: An evidence map of the available science (2016, sciencedirect.com)
  20. Vitamin B12 in Health and Disease (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

How eating a vegan diet can lower your cholesterol levels

What causes high cholesterol levels?

Many different factors can contribute to high cholesterol, including genetics, age, gender and diseases such as type 2 diabetes, liver or kidney disease.

However, the biggest contributors to high cholesterol levels by far are diet and lifestyle.

Eating too much saturated fat greatly contributes to high cholesterol levels. This is found mostly in meat, eggs, butter, cheese, pies, pastries, processed foods, fatty spreads, coconut oil and palm fat.

High intake of animal protein, which usually goes hand in hand with excessive saturated fat intake, and too much sugar in the diet also increase cholesterol levels3.

When you eat animal products, there’s one more substance making things worse – a compound called trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO).

Human gut bacteria produce TMAO parent molecule from foods rich in L-carnitine (meat) and choline (eggs) and the liver then finishes the last step in TMAO formation3,4.

This compound increases the stickiness of cholesterol particles, contributing to atherosclerosis. That’s why it’s a substantial risk factor for heart disease and stroke5.

Trans fats

Trans fats, also called hydrogenated, are another problem. They raise your levels even more than saturated fats.

Low levels are found in meat and dairy products. Higher amounts are used in some processed foods, such as biscuits, cakes, pastries, spreads and shortening.

Always read the ingredients and when you see that a product contains hydrogenated fat, put it back and walk away.

Margarine used to contain hydrogenated fats, which is why some people think it’s bad. However, most margarine producers have now removed these from their products.

Smoking, drinking alcohol and a lack of physical activity can increase your cholesterol, too.

If these lifestyle habits are combined with a poor diet, you’ve got a recipe for a cholesterol disaster.

90,000 Vegetarianism: protection of the heart and blood vessels

Trying to protect their health, many people today switch to vegetarian food, and numerous studies confirm the correctness of their choice: among vegetarians, both cancer and cases of heart damage are much less common.

Vegetarianism and cholesterol

Does the level of cholesterol in the blood depend on a person’s diet? The answer is provided by one of the studies.

Observations were carried out over two groups of people, each with 9 people.The participants of the first group followed a strict vegetarian diet for 1 month, after which they consumed mixed food for another 1 month. In the second group, participants were on a mixed diet for the entire two months of the study.

Scientists were interested in the blood level of the examined so-called atherogenic lipids – lipoproteins and triglycerides of very low density (they are the basis of atherosclerotic plaques), as well as the total cholesterol index. In addition, the blood content of high-density lipoproteins, acholesterol, was studied.Due to the fact that acholesterol is not incorporated into the atherosclerotic plaque, it is able to remove dangerous cholesterol from the human body (in the blood of centenarians, the rate of acholesterol is very high).

This is what the results show. In the group of vegetarians, after 2 weeks, there was a decrease in low density lipoproteins, triglycerides and total cholesterol. A month later, these blood counts dropped even more – and, at the same time, the level of acholesterol increased. It is curious what it cost vegetarians to switch from plant food to mixed, as the lipid content in the blood again returned to its original level.As for those participants who ate only mixed food, the lipid composition of their blood remained unchanged throughout the two months of the experiment.

The results of the study led scientists to conclude that strict vegetarian food is a powerful defense against the development of atherosclerosis – while a person follows a plant-based diet. But as soon as he switches to a mixed, meat meal, the risk immediately returns.

It should be noted that the mechanism of drug treatment works in a similar way.Today the pharmaceutical market offers a wide range of statins – drugs that lower blood levels of atherogenic lipids and dangerous cholesterol. With the help of statins, blood counts can be significantly improved. After stopping the intake of the prescribed drug, cholesterol and lipids again rush to a high level.

However, there is a difference between taking statins and vegetarian eating habits: the former have a lot of side effects (including very dangerous ones), while the latter have none.If necessary, a person can follow a vegetarian diet all his life without fear of harming his health.

Vegetarianism and hypertension

In 1994, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a study of three groups of people on the effect of diet on blood pressure.

The first group of 66 people consisted of strict vegetarians. The second group (56 people) consisted of people who eat meat 1-3 times a week.The participants of the third group – 45 people – ate meat daily.

This is what the researchers recorded. In the group of strict vegetarians, blood pressure rose from time to time in only 16% of the subjects. In the second group, such cases were noted in 31%. As for those who ate meat every day – among them, blood pressure periodically increased in 36% of people.

British scientists conducted a similar study, observing 48 people. Among them were vegans, as well as raw foodists (those who eat plant foods, as a rule, only raw), lacto-ovegetarians (their diet allows the inclusion of eggs, milk and honey in the diet) and people who once a week included in your menu is meat.

The lowest blood pressure and blood viscosity found in vegans. And the indicators of blood pressure and blood viscosity in lacto-ovegetarians were much lower than in those who ate meat.

In Mexico, scientists have dealt with the topic of potassium-sodium balance in the body of vegetarians. As you know, it is the violation of this balance that is considered today the main cause of hypertension.

Sodium chloride retains fluid in the body – which, in turn, raises blood pressure.Potassium salts, on the other hand, help to remove excess fluid and prevent the accumulation of sodium salts in the vessels and cells of the body. In other words, sodium and potassium salts are in constant competition in the human body.

Vegetarian food, consisting mainly of fresh vegetables and fruits, is rich in potassium. Mexican scientists noted that the average blood pressure in vegetarians was kept at 110/86 mm Hg – which was 11% lower than in people following a regular diet.In addition, vegetarians also had lower blood viscosity values.

These two factors alone reduce the risk of vascular damage (and therefore heart disease) in vegetarians – which cannot be said for those who are used to eating mixed foods.

Vegetarianism in the treatment of coronary heart disease

Coronary atherosclerosis (narrowing of the coronary arteries of the heart) often brings a sick person to the surgical table, since drug therapy, which is usually prescribed for such a diagnosis, is often ineffective.Does the person have an alternative way out? Is it possible, by changing the habitual way of eating and living, to stop – and, possibly, conquer – coronary heart disease?

Dean Ornish, a professor at the University of California, and his team of scientists, answer this question in the affirmative. In his studies, it was for the first time proved that coronary atherosclerosis can recede without the use of high-tech and expensive surgeries – if a sick person switches to a vegetarian, low-calorie diet and changes his lifestyle in general (increases, by correctly dosing, physical activity, manages stress, heals his emotional sphere ).Scientists publish their findings in the American journal Lancet and receive approving assessments of the medical community.

What did Ornish’s research reveal? For a year, he and his team monitored people with coronary heart disease. The diagnosis of patients was confirmed by coronary angiography (a method in which a contrast agent is first injected into the blood vessels of the heart, and then an X-ray examination is performed). The subjects were divided into two groups.

The first group of patients included 28 people.He determined the following treatment regimen: a complete ban on smoking, vegetarian food, moderate aerobics, and psychotherapy sessions (including meditation). The second group consisted of 20 patients. These patients were prescribed conventional medication and their diets remained mixed.

The nutrition of the patients of the first group included, in addition to vegetables and fruits, legumes, cereals and soy products. In addition, they were allowed to eat one egg white and drink one cup of low-fat milk or yogurt per day.Drinking alcoholic beverages was not recommended. All patients were prohibited from caffeine, while salt was not allowed to be consumed by hypertensive patients alone. The daily diet of patients in this group consisted mainly of complex carbohydrates (70-75%). It included 20% protein and only 10% fat, very low cholesterol – only 5 mg (or less) per day. In addition, these patients received only vitamin B 12 and omega-3 fatty acids in supplements, with respect to all other components, their diet was completely balanced.

This is what the research results showed a year later. In patients from the vegetarian group, the level of total cholesterol decreased by 24%, and the content of the most dangerous, responsible for the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) decreased by 37.5%. In addition, the duration of coronary heart disease attacks and their frequency decreased in 91% of patients.

As for the participants of the second group, among them the number of IHD attacks increased by 95%, while the severity of the attacks themselves increased by 39%.And the blood levels of atherogenic lipids and cholesterol in these patients remained at the same high level as at the very beginning of the study.

The most interesting were the results of the angiography performed a year later. Scientists took for observation only those coronary arteries of patients who, even before the start of the study, were affected by more than 50%. In patients from the vegetarian group, the average diameter of narrowing (stenosis) of the arteries decreased to 55.8% – from the initial value of 61.1%.As for the patients of the second group, their arterial narrowing increased to 64.4% – from the initial level of 61.7%.

In other words, Professor Ornish and his colleagues found that to regress coronary heart disease, it is not enough to follow generally accepted, traditional recommendations (reduce the fat content in your diet by up to 30%). A person can stop coronary heart disease only when he radically changes his lifestyle. A vegetarian diet, moderate physical activity and complete smoking cessation – all this together can normalize the lipid composition of blood serum and reverse the development of coronary atherosclerosis.

Based on the analysis of numerous data, Professor N. A. Gratsiansky, specialist in emergency cardiology, wrote: “A strict vegetarian diet and exercise have a more pronounced effect on stenosis of the coronary arteries than prolonged use of drugs” (Journal of Cardiology, 1995) …

About the Ornish diet in the Magazine “Magic Food. ru “:

Vegetarianism and mortality prevention

Several studies have responded to the question of whether eating a vegetarian diet reduces mortality from heart disease.

It was found that the vessels of the elderly, consuming 1600-2000 calories with food per day, are much less affected than the vessels of their peers, whose daily diet ranges from 2650-3200 calories.

In one of the Madrid nursing homes, 120 patients were observed for 3 years – men and women over the age of 65 years. They were divided into 2 groups.

Participants in the first group received 2300 calories daily from food throughout the week. Those in the second group received this amount of calories only on even days of the week.On odd days, the calorie content of their diet was only 885 calories, since it consisted of only 1 liter of milk and 500 grams of any fruit.

After 3 years, studies have shown that in the first group the number of cases and deaths was 2 times higher than in the second.

In California, for 21 years, a large number (27530 people) of Adventists were monitored. They were all divided into 3 groups.

Participants were the first to eat mixed meals. The second group consisted of lacto-ovegetarians (excluding meat, fish and seafood from their diet).The third group consisted of strict vegetarians (consuming mainly plant foods only in their raw form).

At the end of the study, the researchers compared the mortality rate in each of these three groups with the overall mortality rate in the population. Here are the results they got.

In the mixed food group, mortality was 14% lower than the total. In the lacto-ovegetarian group, it was 57% lower. As for the vegan group, the death rate was 77% lower than the general one.(According to the researchers, the lower mortality rate in the first group can be explained by the fact that adherents of the Adventist Church, in principle, follow a healthy lifestyle).

In the daily diet of strict vegetarians, the level of cholesterol is well below 300 mg, which corresponds to a strict norm. This fact prevents the risk of occurrence and development of any heart disease. This is probably why mortality from coronary heart disease among strict vegetarians is significantly lower than among non-vegetarians.

Vegetarianism in the prevention of atherosclerosis

Until now, it has not been established what exactly causes the onset of atherosclerosis, and the exact mechanism of the development of this disease has not been studied. However, statistics show that high levels of triglycerides, which are the most atherogenic lipids, and blood cholesterol are directly associated with an increase in vascular and heart disease.

Let’s list the foods that can increase the cholesterol content. These are egg yolks, semi-finished meat products, offal (brains, liver, kidneys) and red meat (lamb, pork, beef).Note that 1 egg contains approximately 250 mg of cholesterol.

Meanwhile, using no more than 300 mg of cholesterol per day, you can significantly protect your body. For better prevention, it is also necessary to lower the calorie content of the food consumed.

After the age of 20, at least every 5 years, it is advisable to examine your blood for the content of cholesterol and atherogenic lipids in it.

If cholesterol is kept at less than 200 mg% (or <5.2 mmol / L), this figure can be considered normal.It is assumed that at a level of 150 mg% (which corresponds to 3.88 mmol / L), the risk of heart disease disappears almost completely.

However, the following should be borne in mind. Cholesterol is the basic building block of the membrane that surrounds all living cells in the body. Without cholesterol, the synthesis of vitamin D, steroid hormones and bile acids is impossible. For this reason, it is not recommended to reduce its blood level below 3.64 mmol / l (or 140 mg%).

Once again, plant foods are completely cholesterol-free – and more importantly – fat-free.It is they who protect the blood vessels of a person, protecting them from atherosclerosis and its consequences – ischemic disease, strokes and heart attacks. Thus, vegetarianism is the path to health, which means to a quality lifestyle and longevity.

Based on the article by I. L. Medkov, T. N. Pavlova “Nutrition and Diseases of the Century” and D. Ornish’s book “Spectrum”.

90,000 meals and menus for a week with high cholesterol in women and men

Therapeutic diet for high blood cholesterol is the main link in the treatment of this disease.Consider how you can avoid excess fat and cholesterol in your food. We will figure out how to choose the right healthy food for yourself for every day and an approximate menu for a week if you are faced with hyperlipidemia.

20 basic dietary rules for high cholesterol

Elevated cholesterol can cause coronary heart disease, venous thrombosis of the lower extremities, stroke, myocardial infarction. You can prevent the severe consequences of chronic hyperlipidemia by following the simple rules listed below.

  1. Nutrition for hypercholesterolemia should be fractional. Try to eat 5 – 6 times a day in small portions. Thus, there is no increased appetite and the risk of overeating after prolonged hunger.
  2. Eat vegetables and fruits at any time and in large quantities. Dietary fiber accelerates the elimination of excess cholesterol from the body.
  3. With bad cholesterol, the diet should contain mainly foods with vegetable fats. Try to use olive oil instead of butter when cooking.
  4. Aim to eat lean meats no more than a couple of times a week. With high cholesterol, recipes and menus using poultry, veal, rabbit and lamb are best suited.
  5. Reinforce proper nutrition with high cholesterol by playing sports. Relaxing walks of at least three kilometers a day are recommended for people with elevated low-density lipoprotein levels.
  6. The diet for hypercholesterolemia should consist mainly of steamed, baked, boiled food.Frying should be abandoned altogether.
  7. If you have high cholesterol, exclude foods that are high in animal fat. No need to eat lard, pork, bacon, smoked meats. Replace these products with boiled poultry, fish, seafood.
  8. Increased salt levels in food are contraindicated in high blood pressure and atherosclerotic disease. Aim to eat no more than 5 grams of salt per day. Your best bet is to skip this product altogether.
  9. It is necessary to drink at least two liters of water a day, especially with thick blood and with elevated bilirubin.An increased level of these indicators usually indicates a violation of the function of the liver and gallbladder, which leads to hyperlipidemia. The increased viscosity of the blood provokes the fixation of blood clots on the lipid deposits in the vessels. You should eat sour berries that can thin your blood, such as cherries and gooseberries.
  10. Rich baked goods and high cholesterol are a bad combination. Milk chocolate should also be excluded. Sugar-free oatmeal cookies, dried fruit, nuts, and honey can be used as an alternative dessert.Sometimes you can pamper yourself with oriental Turkish delight.
  11. The daily calorie requirement for women and men varies – an average of 2200 kcal and 2600 kcal, respectively. Increased calorie intake is also necessary for people engaged in heavy physical labor. These factors are important when formulating a diet.
  12. Be sure to stop drinking alcohol. Red wine is allowed, but no more than two glasses per week.
  13. Coffee is a controversial ally in the fight against high cholesterol.It contains cafeestol, which increases the production of endogenous cholesterol in the liver. But some experts, on the contrary, recommend drinking 1-2 cups of coffee a day, as this helps to strengthen the cardiovascular system. So you can drink coffee, but do not overuse it. An alternative is a chicory drink or green tea.
  14. Cook porridge every day. Try not to boil the cereal, leaving it crumbly. If you have high cholesterol, do not season your meal with a lot of butter.For oatmeal, for example, honey and dried fruit are suitable as a flavoring agent.
  15. Hyperlipidemia excludes the use of fatty dairy products. Replace them with low fat yogurt and kefir. Use low-fat yogurt and kefir as a substitute.
  16. Foods containing harmful trans fats, such as fast food, are strictly contraindicated. It is necessary to give up chips and other snacks.
  17. When cooking poultry, remove the skin from the surface. Since it makes the dish more fatty and contains harmful components.
  18. Semi-finished products and hypercholesterolemia are mutually exclusive concepts. Such products lack useful vitamins and minerals. Such food does not provide enough energy, but only clogs the body with ballast calories and fats.
  19. Try not to overeat at night. Have dinner no later than two hours before going to bed. To suppress appetite before going to bed, it is better to drink a glass of kefir or eat a couple of dates, a handful of almonds.
  20. Your healthcare professional will tell you how to eat well.Having weighed all the risks and comorbidities, an experienced specialist will help you develop the most effective nutritional plan. It is not recommended to treat high cholesterol on your own.

See also: Can you eat butter with high cholesterol?

High cholesterol is a reversible process if you follow the above recommendations and regularly undergo a medical examination.

Table of recommendations for choosing food with high cholesterol

Popular diets for lowering cholesterol in women and men

A diet to reduce cholesterol may be based on a combination of different foods.To significantly reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood, it is important to follow the recommended diet for a long time, at least six months.

In order to choose the optimal menu, the doctor must know everything about the patient: the results of examinations, concomitant diseases, of course, gender and age. It is important to know, for example, that women under 30 and over 40 have different metabolic rates. And men, for example, need more calories in their daily diet. In connection with these factors, an appropriate daily balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates is selected in each nutrition program.

Comparative characteristics of the most popular of them will help to understand the different types of diets that regulate high cholesterol.

Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean cholesterol-lowering diet recommended for people with atherosclerotic disease, hypertension and overweight. The basis of such food is an abundance of cheeses, meat, fish and spices. However, these foods work well together and have a positive effect on high cholesterol. List of foods in the diet:

  • Spices and herbs.
  • Soft cheeses such as feta.
  • Olive oil.
  • Fish, mussels, shrimps.
  • Poultry, lamb.
  • Red wine in moderation.
  • Unleavened flat cakes made from wheat flour (pita).
  • Vegetables and fruits.
  • Greek yogurt.
  • Groats.

Fatty meats, lard, sausages, sweet drinks with gas are categorically excluded from the diet. Since these foods are capable of causing high blood cholesterol.As an example, the following menu for high cholesterol is presented, calculated for a week:

Day 1:

  • For breakfast: three lentil pancakes, flavored with yogurt.
  • For lunch, refresh yourself with a creamy Brussels sprouts soup with shrimp; fruit platter and salad with olives and tofu.
  • You can have dinner with pita, stuffed with feta cubes and salad (cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, a couple of olives).

Day 2:

  • A good start to the day – curd-buckwheat zrazy.
  • Lunch snack – light soup with lentils, risotto with vegetables.
  • A good mood in the evening will be provided by baked salmon flavored with olive oil and Provencal herbs.

Day 3:

  • Morning meal – buckwheat cooked in vegetable broth.
  • For lunch, tuna baked with vegetables will restore strength; tomato puree soup.
  • For dinner: salad with chicken breast and avocado, flavored with olive oil, pita.

Day 4:

  • Breakfast: yoghurt with chopped hazelnuts and almonds, you can add a little honey.
  • Light lunch meal: soup with fish balls, baked potatoes with tomatoes.
  • Dinner: vegetable salad with one egg, lemon juice and olive oil.

Day 5:

  • Breakfast: oatmeal in water, with the addition of honey and raisins.
  • Give energy for lunch – puree soup of spinach leaves and asparagus with liquid cream; lightly cooked salmon with wild rice.
  • Dinner: Bake a pie with small cherry tomatoes and feta, on a coarse flour crust, optionally chopped into tofu cubes.

Day 6:

  • Breakfast: dried fruit soufflé, green tea.
  • For lunch – cabbage soup, stewed chicken with vegetables, one pita.
  • For dinner – zucchini with feta in the oven, pita with avocado and olive oil.

Day 7:

  • For breakfast: pour over the baked pumpkin with yogurt and honey.
  • Lunch: champignon and chanterelle cream soup; chicken, grated with garlic, with bell peppers in the oven.
  • Dinner: wild rice stew with mussels and shrimps.

For snacks between meals, you can use dates, prunes, raisins, almonds. Such a diet will not only help to put in order high cholesterol, but also reduce body weight.

Read also: Cholesterol content in dairy products (milk, cottage cheese, kefir, sour cream, ghee)

Diet table No. 10

Nutritionists recommend the so-called dietary table number 10 to patients with disorders of fat metabolism in the body.In such a diet, there is an optimal ratio of the main components: proteins-fats-carbohydrates. This anti-cholesterol diet has an energy value of 2350 to 2600 kcal per day. With such a menu, it is necessary to exclude the use of alcohol, coffee, strong teas, chocolates from the diet. Salt in this diet is minimized, it is allowed to add a little salt to the ready-made dish.

Food preparation method – mainly boiling and baking. Since high cholesterol eliminates the use of fried.It is recommended to eat at least five meals a day in small portions. Evening snack no later than two hours before bedtime. Foods that can be consumed:

  • Freshly squeezed vegetable juices, jelly.
  • Whole grain bread.
  • Fresh vegetable salads.
  • Eggs without yolk.
  • Fish: tuna, salmon, carp.
  • Fat-free cottage cheese, kefir and yogurt.
  • Porridge.

The following foods should be avoided: butter, fatty meat, especially red meat, salted and smoked fish delicacies, fatty cheeses, pickled vegetables, mustard.An approximate menu for a week, if you have high cholesterol, may look like this:

  • Early breakfast: buckwheat, boiled in 1% milk, soft-boiled egg, weak green tea with milk.
  • Pre-lunch snack: a piece of boiled chicken or a fresh apple.
  • Lunch: vegetable broth with barley, mushrooms and finely chopped zucchini, baked salmon or carp with stewed vegetables (for example, bell peppers, onions, zucchini), 1 glass of fresh apple juice.
  • Afternoon snack: rosehip decoction, nuts and dried fruits (for example, prunes and almonds).
  • Dinner: low-fat cottage cheese, boiled grated beets with an apple, 1 glass of low-fat milk.
  • For the night: 1 glass of fat-free kefir.

During the week you can combine different variations of vegetables, white poultry and fish dishes. For snacks, use nuts, fruits like banana or apple. Diet table number 10 is recommended not only for the prevention of vascular atherosclerosis, but also for hypothyroidism.With a regular diet for at least four months, high cholesterol can be significantly reduced.

Read also: Recipes for high cholesterol [tasty and healthy]

Diet table No. 10A

Recently suffered myocardial infarction, high cholesterol, cerebrovascular accidents with clogged blood vessels – indications for the use of dietary table No. 10A. Food with high cholesterol should contain as little animal fat as possible, but at the same time satisfy the energy needs of the body.Diet number 10 has about 2500-2600 kcal. The principle of this menu is a reduced amount of fats and carbohydrates, proteins are at the lower limit of the norm. Cooking takes place without adding salt, mainly steamed and boiled.

This diet has a number of restrictions:

  • Bread – maximum 145 g per day.
  • Vegetable broths – up to 180 ml.
  • Cheese, pearl barley and millet are excluded.
  • Do not consume extremely hot or cold foods.

Diet table number 10, which has a positive effect on high cholesterol, looks like this for every day:

  • Breakfast: chopped oatmeal in 1% milk, green tea, a small apple.
  • Snack: baked apples with cottage cheese.
  • Lunch: steamed chicken cutlets, mashed potatoes without oil, half a glass of fresh apple juice.
  • Afternoon snack: prunes or dates.
  • Dinner: oven-baked carrot and apple cutlets, half a glass of low-fat kefir.
  • Before bed: half a glass of rosehip tincture or chicory drink.

After 50 years, more than 35% of people have high cholesterol. As a result, the risk of progression of atherosclerotic disease and the occurrence of myocardial infarction and stroke increases. Therefore, at this age, it is especially important to adhere to proper nutrition in combination with light physical activity.

Diet table No. 10C

Table number 10C – therapeutic diet for lowering cholesterol.This diet is recommended for people with diagnosed coronary heart disease and high blood pressure, provoked by atherosclerosis. This menu is dominated by vegetable fat, dietary fiber, foods with a high content of vitamins B, PP, C. The daily calorie intake of the menu is about 2570 kcal. You need to eat in fractional portions in six meals a day.

Recommended foods that have a beneficial effect on high cholesterol include:

  • Bran.
  • Sea cabbage.
  • Vegetables and fruits can be eaten in large portions.
  • Bake or boil eggs a little, maximum three per week.
  • Buckwheat, oatmeal, barley porridge.
  • Honey, a couple of spoons a day.
  • Hard spaghetti, try not to cook too much.

Forbidden foods are similar to those of menu No. 10. The approximate diet for each day is as follows:

  • Breakfast: boiled buckwheat without oil, light curd mass with seasonal fruits, tea.
  • Snack: baked apple or dried apricots.
  • Lunch: stewed carrots, steamed beet cutlets, rice soup with vegetables, lightly fried in olive oil, seasonal fruit compote.
  • Snack: Unsweetened berry smoothie or honey with a handful of hazelnuts.
  • Dinner: salad of seasonal vegetables with olive oil and seaweed, salmon (another fatty fish) baked with lemon wedges and thyme, boiled potatoes, weak green tea.
  • Before going to bed: a glass of 1% kefir.

A healthy lifestyle is not limited to just one diet. Since high cholesterol levels require complex treatment. Do not forget about exercise, as well as long walks in the fresh air.

Low Carb Diet

A low-carb diet can be used to lower high cholesterol. Its meaning lies in the minimum consumption of foods rich in carbohydrates. Thus, the body adapts to release more energy from fats and proteins.At the same time, an increased consumption of cholesterol reserves begins. This process reduces elevated blood cholesterol levels.

See also: How do sweets actually affect cholesterol levels?

Excluded foods on a low carb menu are:

  • Soft pastries, white bread.
  • Sugar and fructose, honey.
  • Alcohol and sweet drinks with gas.
  • Pasta and potatoes.
  • Milk chocolate.
  • Sweet fruits such as grapes.

Animal proteins, such as fish, fermented milk products, low-fat meats, should be present in large quantities in the daily diet. This is what a weekly low-carb menu might look like:

Monday:

  • Egg white omelet with chopped mushrooms and tomato;
  • Creamy chicken and Brussels sprouts soup. Two whole grain crisps;
  • Pear;
  • Veal stew with bell pepper.

Tuesday:

  • Thin kefir pancakes with cottage cheese, raisins.
  • Salmon fish soup. Two slices of cereal bread.
  • Green apple.
  • Stewed chicken fillet with spinach.

Wednesday:

  • Cheesecakes with low-fat sour cream.
  • Buckwheat unground on water and baked chicken cutlet.
  • Orange.
  • Chicken aspic.

Thursday:

  • Whipped curd.
  • Cheese soup with chicken breast. Two whole grain toast.
  • Half grapefruit.
  • Brown rice. Steamed marrow and carrot cutlets, fresh cucumber.

Friday:

  • One soft-boiled egg sprinkled with grated cheese.
  • Fish stewed in a light creamy sauce.
  • Kiwi or one orange.
  • Boiled beans, mashed. Chicken rolls. One tomato.
  • Before going to bed – a glass of kefir.

Saturday:

  • Cottage cheese and natural yoghurt.
  • Steamed lamb meatballs and one cucumber.
  • Mandarin or apple.
  • Seafood. Rocket salad with olive oil.

Sunday:

  • Steamed omelet with chicken breast.
  • Turkey fillet baked with broccoli.
  • A glass of 1% kefir.
  • Stewed rabbit with vegetables (onions, zucchini, bell peppers).

While following this diet, it is recommended to take up to two liters of fluid per day. In women, a contraindication to a low-carb diet may be during breastfeeding and pregnancy. High cholesterol, if detected early, can be successfully treated with nutritional correction. What kind of diet you need to follow can only be finally decided by the attending physician after a detailed analysis of your anamnesis.

See also: Which fruits lower blood cholesterol? [TOP-5 fruits for vessels]

Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet includes foods that were consumed by our ancestors in the Stone Age before the development of agriculture.A large number of animal proteins are the basis of prehistoric nutrition. At the same time, carbohydrates and fats are used in the diet much less. The main product is meat, which contains animal protein. It is he who speeds up metabolic processes and prevents the accumulation of excess fat.

The Paleo Diet is suitable for lowering blood cholesterol, as the consumption of animal fat is reduced. It is recommended to eat every five hours, approximately three meals a day. The main products permitted are:

  • Fat-free meat and poultry.
  • Seafood, fish.
  • Oils: olive, linseed, sesame.
  • Mushrooms, nuts and seeds without heat treatment.
  • Fresh berries, vegetables and fruits.

Sugar and salt, legumes and cereals, dairy products, vegetables with starch (potatoes, sweet potatoes) are excluded from the diet with such a diet. It is recommended to eat foods mostly raw or after minimal heat treatment. This type of nutrition will help protect blood vessels from cholesterol and plaque formation.Elevated low-density lipoprotein levels can be returned to normal if the principles of the paleo diet are followed.

Keto diet

The keto diet is based on the minimum intake of carbohydrates. In this regard, the body trains to produce more energy from fats and proteins. This high cholesterol diet helps reduce low density lipoprotein. At the same time, there is an increase in the level of “good” cholesterol.

While adhering to a ketogenic diet, give up bread, sugar, pasta, fruits, sweets.With a lack of carbohydrates, the body begins to intensively break down fat reserves.

This diet is similar to a low-carb diet. When choosing the optimal menu, you must use the following rules:

  • Breakfast: In the morning, try to consume up to 15 g of carbohydrates. The source can be cheese or vegetables. It is recommended to eat an olive oil omelet with tomatoes and toast with bran. Calorie content – 500-600 kcal.
  • Carbohydrates should be limited for lunch. Nutritionists recommend eating chicken meatball soup (no potatoes, noodles).Note that high cholesterol suggests consuming vegetable broth. For the second, you can eat brown rice with breast and a slice of cheese.
  • Dinner should be high in protein and fiber. Poultry or lamb, veal and green vegetables are good choices. It is better to bake the meat, and make a salad of vegetables with a spoonful of olive oil.

When following a ketogenic diet, the body works in an “emergency” mode, being in a state of ketosis due to the production of ketone bodies (derivatives of fatty acids).Therefore, medical supervision is necessary during such a meal. Despite the associated risk, high cholesterol levels are normalized during the course of the keto diet.

In the program of Elena Malysheva on Channel One (fragment below), they argue that diet will practically not help to lower cholesterol and recommend taking statins. A highly controversial statement. Many doctors and experts fundamentally disagree on this.

Ornish Vegetarian Diet

The diet was first formulated by Dean Ornish, Bill Clinton’s personal physician.And it is based on strict control of consumed fats. No more than 20 grams of fat is allowed per day. This diet is indicated if a person has been diagnosed with hyperlipidemia, atherosclerosis, and obesity. The menu is essentially vegetarian. This food is characterized by an increased percentage of carbohydrates in the foods consumed.

See also: Cholesterol content in meat: pork, beef, horse meat, lamb, poultry and meat offal

It is necessary to combine Ornish nutrition with physical exercise, physical activity.The daily balance of fats, proteins and carbohydrates is 10, 25, 75%, respectively. Recommended food:

  • Vegetables, mainly green.
  • Lentils, beans, peas.
  • Apples and pears.
  • Buckwheat porridge made from corn, wheat, and also rice.

Eat eggs, dairy products, cheeses, biscuits in moderation. It is strictly necessary to exclude red meat, puff pastry and pastry products, butter, mayonnaise, olives, nuts, seeds.

A sample menu for a week can be arranged as follows.

First day:

  • Breakfast: Chicory drink, one tablespoon of wheat bran added to low fat yogurt.
  • Lunch: a few large potatoes baked with tomatoes, a salad of cucumbers, herbs and iceberg lettuce, a green apple.
  • Afternoon snack: apricots or plums (3 pcs.), Other seasonal fruits, low-fat cottage cheese.
  • Dinner: two wholemeal toast, an apple or pear, durum wheat spaghetti sprinkled with low-fat cheese, berry compote.

Second day:

  • Breakfast: freshly squeezed orange juice, rice porridge with low-fat milk, a glass of kefir.
  • Lunch: beans with mushrooms and onions, salad with tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers, seasoned with olive oil.
  • Afternoon snack: strawberry, wheat bread.
  • Dinner: two slices of bran bread, half an avocado, buckwheat porridge stewed with mushrooms and carrots, green tea.

Day three:

  • Breakfast: caffeine-free coffee, a cup of muesli, with the addition of berries and low-fat milk.
  • Lunch: soup with pumpkin pieces and spinach, couscous with vegetables, vinaigrette without pickles.
  • Afternoon snack: a glass of kefir, low-fat cookies.
  • Dinner: baked eggplant halves with onions and carrots, a bowl of seasonal berries, tea with mint.

Day four:

  • Breakfast: pomegranate juice, pumpkin-squash pancakes.
  • Lunch: broccoli and cauliflower soup, asparagus stewed with rice and chicken fillet.
  • Afternoon snack: low-fat cottage cheese with the addition of yogurt, oatmeal cookies.
  • Dinner: stewed white cabbage with carrots and onions, any fruit of your choice, currant compote.

Day 5:

  • Breakfast: apple juice, cereal mixture.
  • Lunch: two fish cutlets, mashed potatoes without milk and with a small piece of butter.
  • Afternoon snack: a cup of low-fat kefir, a green apple.
  • Dinner: asparagus and green peas soup, weak tea.

Day six:

  • Breakfast: chicory drink, low fat cottage cheese with honey.
  • Lunch: boiled turkey breast with squash and pumpkin puree, orange juice.
  • Afternoon snack: oat pudding, multigrain loaf.
  • Dinner: two cabbage rolls with rice and vegetable filling, mineral water.

Day Seven:

  • Breakfast: a piece of curd casserole with raisins, chicory.
  • Lunch: 2 lentil and carrot cutlets, rice.
  • Afternoon snack: 3 baked cheesecakes, orange juice.
  • Dinner: apples stuffed with cottage cheese and dried apricots, chamomile tea.

Elevated cholesterol with strict adherence to the canons of this diet can return to normal. Regularity and self-control are very important to achieve results.

Intermittent fasting

Therapeutic fasting is used to lower blood cholesterol. It is possible to treat elevated cholesterol with a diet with elements of complete starvation as follows: with a shortage of food, the body begins to use the reserves of low-density lipoproteins in order to obtain energy for life.After 12 hours of fasting, cholesterol, as an alternative energy source, begins to be released into the bloodstream and break down to form energy.

Approximate scheme of fasting from cholesterol for a week:

The first day – only freshly squeezed apple-carrot juice diluted with water 1: 2. On the second day, you can drink the juice without diluting it with water. For lunch, you can eat 50 g of grated carrots. In the third, drink grape-apple and carrot juices.Have lunch with one hundred grams of vegetable puree, and kefir before bed.

On the fourth and fifth days, add grated vegetables and fruits, and overnight – light curd. On the sixth and seventh days, breakfast should consist of grated vegetables and fruits, and for dinner and lunch, eat overcooked porridge made from buckwheat or millet. Such a rigid diet can only be carried out after consulting a doctor and under medical supervision. To regulate high cholesterol, it is necessary to periodically repeat the course of therapeutic fasting.

Read also: What is vascular atherosclerosis? Signs, causes and treatments [infographic]

It is not easy to choose the optimal diet for high cholesterol – it is necessary to study in detail all the characteristics of the organism of a particular person. It is very important to consider concomitant diseases, gender, age. Only a properly designed menu is effective prevention of severe consequences of hypercholesterolemia.

90,000 Vegetarian food prevents heart disease, hypertension, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis

What effect does a vegetarian diet have on health problems and serious illness?

Nutrition affects our health and contributes to the development of degenerative diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.Meat consumption, inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables, obesity and high cholesterol levels are factors associated with the development of these diseases. A balanced vegetarian diet is one of the easiest ways to prevent disease by following a healthy diet of five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, lots of complex carbohydrates and antioxidants, and a minimum of saturated fat and cholesterol. A balanced vegetarian diet tends to be lower in calories and higher in fiber, so it can help maintain a healthy weight.

Vegan and vegetarian meals contain essential nutrients if carefully planned. The British Dietetic Association and the American Dietetic Association have compiled guidelines for a healthy vegetarian diet.

Ischemic heart disease and mortality

The largest study ever conducted in the UK comparing heart disease rates among vegetarians and non-vegetarians found that vegetarianism can reduce the risk of heart disease by 32%.This study also found that meat eaters were 47% more likely to develop heart disease.

The Adventist Health Study tracked the link between vegetarian diets and reduced mortality and found that vegetarians, vegans, and sandy vegetarians were 12% less likely to die in six years of follow-up than non-vegetarians. Vegetarians men had more benefits than women, including a significant reduction in the development of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.

Cholesterol

Soluble fiber helps keep cholesterol levels in check, and a balanced vegetarian diet contains twice the fiber of the national average. Soy foods and nuts have been shown to be especially helpful in lowering cholesterol.

Hypertension (high blood pressure)

High blood pressure is one of the important factors in the development of heart disease and stroke.An increase of 5 mm Hg. diastolic blood pressure increases the risk of stroke by 34% and cardiovascular disease by 21%. The study reported a lower prevalence of hypertension among vegans compared to meat eaters.

Cancer

Cancer is the number one killer in the world, and nutrition is responsible for approximately 30% of all cancers in developed countries. The 2012 Adventist Health Study assessed the link between different types of vegetarian diets and overall cancer incidence.Statistical analysis showed a clear link between vegetarianism and a lower risk of cancer. Moreover – all types of cancer. Vegetarians showed a lower risk of stomach and intestinal cancers, and vegans were less likely to develop female cancers.

The World Cancer Research Foundation describes meat eating as a “compelling” risk factor for colon cancer and highlights the implications of red meat and processed meats in an increased risk of bowel cancer.

High cooking temperatures (eg barbecuing, grilling and roasting) are associated with an increased risk of cancer, thought to be due to the formation of potentially carcinogenic substances (eg heterocyclic amines).

Diabetes

Diabetes is often associated with high blood cholesterol levels, but a vegetarian diet can help lower blood cholesterol levels. Soy foods and nuts, which are rich in plant proteins and slow-digesting low-glycemic carbohydrates, may help prevent and control type 2 diabetes.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a complex disease characterized by a decrease in bone mass and destruction of bone tissue, which leads to increased fragility of bones and a greater risk of fractures.Studies investigating the link between vegetarianism and bone density have come up with conflicting results. However, a meat-free diet leads to a lower intake of sulfur-containing amino acids, and low acidity can reduce bone loss in postmenopausal women and protect against osteoporosis.

Source

Vegetarianism. Impact on the risk of cardiovascular disease

In 2009, a group of Canadian scientists led by Dr.David Jenkins has discovered that a low-carb, vegan diet is an effective way to lose weight. Following the publication of the data from that study, the group of scientists continued their work on the effects of vegetarianism on health, and now published the data of their new study: following a vegetarian diet for 10 years reduces the overall risk of cardiovascular disease by 10%.

Many types of low-carb diets result in effective weight loss, according to Dr. Jenkins.However, most of them do not exclude animal proteins and fats, and therefore contribute to an increase in cholesterol levels.

From this point of view, vegetarianism compares favorably with a high content of vegetable proteins and oils, which leads to a decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing the content of low density lipoprotein (LDL), which is often called “bad” cholesterol. LDL can accumulate in the walls of blood vessels and cause atherosclerotic plaque formation, which increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Since the vegetarian diet (the researchers studied the Eco-Atkins diet specifically) consists of foods that are low in carbohydrates and high in vegetable proteins and oils, it would be logical to assume that such a diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This is how the idea of ​​doing this research came about.

In their study, published in the journal BMJ Open, the researchers observed a group of 39 overweight men and women.

Participants were divided into two groups; one group followed the Eco-Atkins diet for 6 months, while the other group followed a high carbohydrate, low fat diet.

The Eco-Atkins diet consisted of about 60% of the estimated calories required to maintain the original weight. On this diet, participants got 26% of their calories from carbohydrates, 31% from proteins, and 43% from fats – mostly vegetable oils.

At the end of the study period, the researchers found that participants who followed the Eco-Atkins diet had an average reduction in cholesterol of 10% and lost an average of 4 kilograms of excess weight than participants in the control group.The team calculated the reduction in cholesterol and weight over 10 years, and concluded that such a diet could reduce the overall risk of heart disease by 10% over 10 years.

The high-fiber foods included in the diet were mainly oats and barley; and foods with low starch levels are vegetables, mainly okra and eggplants. Sources of protein were vegetables, nuts, grains, and the main sources of fat were vegetable oils, nuts, avocados and soy products.

… Recently, JAMA Internal Medicine also published a study showing that a vegetarian diet helps to normalize high blood pressure.

90,000 Reduce mortality at a young age by a third will help the “monkey diet”

Reduce mortality at a young age by a third will help the “monkey diet”

At least a third of young deaths can be avoided by avoiding meat, scientists say.

According to Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard School of Medicine, the benefits of a vegetarian diet are too underestimated. To reduce mortality among the young population, it is not at all necessary to become a strict vegan; it is enough just to give up meat and eat more plant foods.

“When we did our research, we found that eating healthily was associated with reduced risk from just about everything.This is not surprising, since everything in the body is connected by the same processes, “- said Willett at the fourth international conference” Unite to Cure “in the Vatican.

University of Toronto professor David Jenkins attending the conference, who developed the glycemic index (explains the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar), also considers a vegetarian diet to be underestimated. In his opinion, in order to maintain health, people should adhere to the so-called “monkey diet” and consume more stems, leaves and fruits.On the other hand, the “paleo-diet”, which involves avoiding carbohydrates and allowing the consumption of meat, is, on the contrary, less preferable, says Jenkins.

Together with colleagues from the New York Zoo, a team of researchers led by Jenkins traveled to Africa to observe the gorilla’s eating habits. Back home, the scientists adjusted the gorilla’s diet to suit human needs. As it turns out, 63 servings of fruits and vegetables a day in just two weeks helped reduce blood cholesterol levels by 35%, which is the same as taking a statin (a medicine to lower cholesterol).

“We found that there was no difference between the effect of diet and statin,” concluded Jenkins.

Who is a vegetarian? – My live food

Recently, you can often hear about vegetarianism. But who really is a vegetarian? In short, vegetarianism is a healthy diet for overall health and weight control.

Have you ever considered becoming a vegetarian? However, before you make such drastic changes in your diet, you must be aware of all that it entails; the risks, benefits, and what this could mean for your health as well as your health.

What is a vegetarian diet?

A vegetarian is one who does not eat meat. However, if you go into details, vegetarians are broken down into 4 types of :

  1. Lacto vegetarians – they eat dairy products such as milk and cheese, but do not eat eggs.
  2. Ovo Vegetarian – They don’t eat meat or dairy products, but they do eat eggs.
  3. Lacto Vegetarian – They eat eggs, honey and dairy products.
  4. Vegans – They only eat plants and no eggs, honey or dairy products.

In this article we will talk about lacto-ovegetarians , as this is the most common type of vegetarian diet.

Benefits of Vegetarianism

There are many benefits of vegetarianism, but we will only cover the most basic ones.

Benefits of Vegetarianism

  1. Lower Body Weight – Studies have found that vegetarians maintain their weight more consistently than meat eaters.Since the vegetarian diet contains less sugar and fat than the regular , it is natural that most people lose weight without even trying. Of course, you will still need to keep an eye out for unhealthy foods, sugary snacks, and processed foods, but those who choose to become vegetarian find that they lose weight easily and that their body transforms with very little effort.
  2. Much lower cholesterol – Heart disease is one of the top killers worldwide.A vegetarian diet leads to lower cholesterol levels, which in turn leads to a lower incidence of heart disease. In fact, studies have shown that vegetarianism is just as effective as lowering cholesterol in prescription drugs.
  3. Lower Risk of Disease – An article published in the journal Food Technology found that vegetarians had a much lower risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and arthritis.
  4. Lower cancer risk – Numerous studies have linked a vegetarian diet to a lower cancer risk.
  5. Longer life expectancy – Because of the lower risk of certain diseases and cancer, vegetarians also enjoy longer life spans.

As long as vegetarians monitor their health and unhealthy food intake, most vegetarians enjoy good health.

Cons of vegetarianism

Like everything in life, vegetarianism is not only one plus. The main risks of adopting a vegetarian diet are:

  1. Vitamin, mineral or protein deficiency – If vegetarians do not eat a balanced diet, they may suffer from nutritional deficiencies.The most common deficiencies are vitamin D, B12, calcium, and protein.
  2. Carbohydrate Weight Gain – Too many vegetarians love refined carbs. This can lead to weight gain.
  3. Low Cholesterol – You might think cholesterol is bad, but the truth is that the body must have cholesterol in order to function properly.
  4. Increased risk of colon cancer – The reason for this is not fully understood, but vegetarians are 39 percent more likely to develop colon cancer than meat eaters.
  5. Low Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Omega-3 fatty acids are essential because the body does not produce them. We must get them from food, and the best source is fish.

Nutritional needs

You can avoid these problems by making sure to include certain foods and / or supplements in your diet.

  • B12 deficiencies can be easily eliminated by taking a complex vitamin B supplement.
  • Vitamin D is called a solar vitamin due to the fact that our body converts sunlight into vitamin D.Daily 30 minutes of sunshine will help you get enough vitamin D. You can also eat more vitamin D-fortified foods such as cereals and soy milk.
  • Zinc is a tiny mineral that our body absolutely needs. You can get this by including seeds and nuts in your diet. Brazil nuts are an easy way to get all the zinc you need. Just one large or two medium brazil nuts is all you need to meet your zinc needs throughout the day!
  • Iron deficiency can be a problem for many vegetarians if they do not take care of their diet.You can get iron by eating lots of dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, dark chocolate, and chickpeas.
  • Calcium can be another problem for vegetarians. Adding almonds, tofu, dried fruit, and calcium-fortified drinks like orange juice and almond milk can help add more calcium to your diet.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in walnuts, soybean oil, or supplements.
  • Protein is another common problem that can be easily solved by adding large amounts of spinach, tofu, lentils, chickpeas, brown rice and broccoli to your diet.

Is a vegetarian diet safe for pregnant women?

A normal, healthy woman should have no problem eating a vegetarian diet. But still, in order to have a healthy pregnancy, you need to closely monitor your diet. A pregnant woman should eat any of the following 5 food groups every day:

Vegetarian diet and pregnancy

  • Dairy products
  • Proteins (such as eggs, beans, lentils and nuts)
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Starchy carbohydrates ( such as whole grain bread, rice or potatoes)

Then she must add at least one source of iron, such as dark green vegetables.Pregnant women on a vegetarian diet should avoid coffee or tea, as tannins make it difficult for the body to absorb protein and iron from food. Instead, drink citrus juice with meals to help your body absorb iron. Of course, don’t forget to drink prenatal vitamins!

Should I take supplements?

If you have any doubts about whether you are consuming enough vitamins and minerals, a multivitamin is a good recommendation.Your body needs certain vitamins and minerals to function properly and keep your immune system in top shape. If you are under the supervision of a doctor, if you have health problems, if you are under 18 or over 50, you can almost certainly take advantage of multivitamin complexes that contain minerals.

Sample Vegetarian Menu

Here is an example of a vegetarian diet. It’s good for your health, is sufficient for nutrition, and may help prevent certain diseases.

Sample Vegetarian Diet Menu

  • Total Calories : 1500
  • Breakfast – 1/2 cup oats with 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • Snack – 2 celery stalks with 2 tablespoons of almond oil
  • Lunch – 2 cups of lentil soup, 1 slice of whole grain bread, 1 large orange
  • Snack – 10 pecans
  • Dinner – butter salad with egg and potatoes, 1 pear
  • Before bed – glass Almond Milk

If you are unsure if a vegetarian diet is right for you, talk to your healthcare professional or dietitian to ensure you are in the best possible health.90,003 90,000 what vegetarians eat, pros and cons

Many people associate protein with meat. More precisely, with ordinary people. Vegetarians have to be content with other sources: eggs, dairy products, seitan, tofu, lentils, chickpeas, legumes, yeast, quinoa. Not to say they are starving.

Fats

Any type of oil: coconut, olive, sunflower, butter. And an avocado.

Almost everything that can be found in nature: oatmeal, rice, pasta, potatoes, grains, fruits and vegetables.

  • Iron. Helps your blood to live. Look for beans, lentils, grains, dark green vegetables. Foods rich in vitamin C will help him assimilate: strawberries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, cabbage.
  • Zinc. It is more difficult for him to absorb only with the help of plant products, like iron, so you will need a double dose. Life is made easier if you eat dairy. Cheese is one of the key sources of zinc. Other options: whole grains, soybeans, nuts, legumes.
  • Iodine. Supports normal metabolism and organ function. Just occasionally eat nori seaweed instead of regular chips.

Everything is more complicated here. Vitamin B 12 can only be found in animal products, and its deficiency leads to anemia and weakening of the immune system. Vegetarians still have options for replenishing it: dairy products, eggs and supplements. If you avoid animal products as much as possible, then you will have to switch to a synthetic source of vitamins.

Source of omega-3 – fish and eggs.

And then there is a list of foods that are rich in everything you can imagine:

1. Keil. It’s not for nothing that this is the favorite food of all the healthy women on Instagram. Especially rich in vitamin C, A, K 1 .

2. Nori. This is dried seaweed straight from the sea. They contain the most trace elements: iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iodine.

3. Garlic. Surprisingly, yes. Inside you will find vitamin C, B 1 , B 6 and calcium.And also add more of it to food when you are sick.

4. Potatoes. It has almost everything you might need. It’s also super nutritious.

5. Blueberries. Your best source of antioxidants.

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