Diet Improves Heart Health
Ok… admittedly the Perry Family has a bias toward The Ohio State University but this is a great article regardless. People have known for millennia that food is medicine and that we can use food to correct some disorders as well as prevent others. Only in the last food decades have many people lost this knowledge, especially those with “Western” lifestyles. A cardiologist and clinical lipidologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center embraced the knowledge that diet improves heart health for his own healthcare and found it works!
We often tell patients that diet – focused on reducing saturated fat and increasing fiber, sometimes incorporating supplements such as plant sterols or other “nutraceuticals” — is a key factor that will affect cholesterol levels. So, this Midwestern guy raised on meat and potatoes started making some changes. I cut back on the steaks and burgers and added more vegetables. For home cooking, we switched to plant-based oils with high polyunsaturated fat content such as grapeseed, walnut and sunflower. I also tried an over-the-counter supplement of plant sterols that can help lower LDL cholesterol.
It worked. These changes got my numbers down just below the “optimal” threshold. Could I do even better?
Next, I cut meat intake even further. Now, I eat mostly vegetables, fruits, grains and fish. I also added fish oil and fiber supplements. Soluble fiber becomes like gel when mixed with water, and it can prevent cholesterol from being re-absorbed into the bloodstream.
By the end of my self-experiment, I reduced my LDL cholesterol by 29%, which is about the same effectiveness we see from low- or moderate-intensity statin medication. I also learned it’s a plan my family and I can live with long term.
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