Whole Foods Lifestyle - High cholesterol and diet

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01-29-2008, 08:28 PM
My husband has high cholesterol, and nothing he does seems to help lower it. A few years ago he lost about 20 lbs and his cholesterol went up 25 points. His parents are both on meds for high cholesterol, and his doctor says its just genetic and he'll have to take medication. He's only 36, and it seems he's very young for a lifetime of medication.

I'm wondering if anyone knows if I add more veggies to our diet if that will help. I'm vegan and he's vegetarian, but he only occasionally eats dairy or eggs. Unfortunately I'm a lazy vegan, and rely on processed foods too much, but I'm definitely willing to start cooking more.

Any information on books, websites, etc. I should check out would be greatly appreciated.


01-29-2008, 08:31 PM
Nice ot see another vegan!!! ;)

I've never seen cholesterol drop faster than on a raw vegan diet.

Dr. Barnard's and Dr. Mc Dougal's programs work too though.

I'd say no refined sugars, more whole foods and MOSTLY vegetables and beans/legumes works pretty well too!

01-29-2008, 08:38 PM
I absolutely agree with Soulbliss.

YAY veggie love! :) Fiber. It's all about the fiber. Have you heard of Fiber35? They have an awesome line of products. The whole idea is to get 35 grams of fiber a day. The fiber binds with the bad cholesterol to flush it out of the system. It's hard to find fiber in most processed foods so you can supplement it with a product that they sell like Sprinkle Fiber or the FitSmart bars. Oh, and GOOD fats too like flax oil. Or, my new favorite - chia seeds. ;)

A detox is great too!

01-29-2008, 08:41 PM
Ah, the same thing happened to me, though I was older! Even when my cholesterol was high, I had the lowest of anyone in my family! Don't know what to tell you, but I've been on meds for several years now and haven't had any problems.

And eating whole foods will easily give you 35g of fiber a day, no need for supplements. :)

01-29-2008, 08:53 PM
Thank you all for all the info! And so quickly!

I've done McDougall a couple of times, and I'd always fall away from it, because of the time involved. I have a bit more time now, so cooking is more of an option. I'll look into Dr. Barnard too. I think his diet is similar to McDougall. I don't know anything about raw veganism, but I'll look into it.

I can't wait until the farmers markets start up again!! I just started going last summer and we ate lots of veggies all summer.

01-29-2008, 08:53 PM
I average 60 grams a day of fiber when I eat my "normal" diet with broccoli, kale, flax and black beans!

01-29-2008, 09:47 PM
Exercise is an important factor as well isn't it?

01-30-2008, 12:03 AM
I am 33 and I've been athletic and relatively fit my whole life. I just recently started on 5 mg (not much) of Zocor because, despite my borderline cholesterol number (197), my family history does not bode well for future low numbers.

Although I'm a carnivore, I rarely eat red meat and I average about 3 eggs a month. I do like my dairy (hooray, Greek yogurt!), but surprisingly, my triglycerides are good (go figure?!), it's just that my LDL is awful...

I talked to a friend who wanted to get off her cholesterol meds and she told me she loaded up on oats, walnuts, almonds, and hummus and was able to drop her overall number by 60 points!

So, inspired by that, for the last few months, I have been eating a 1/2 cup of oatmeal with 1 T of oat bran, and an full cup of frozen wild blueberries. I also add 1 T of ground flaxseed with Omega-3 oils in for good measure. This breakfast clocks in at something ridiculous like 420 calories, but honestly, it has been awesome for my weightloss-- keeps me sated for hours! I'm not sure yet how much it will help with the cholesterol, but I hope to find out at my physical this week...

As for the meds, I don't mind being on them...it sure is better than having a stroke!

01-30-2008, 11:05 AM
I would also recommend Eat to Live.

My DH went for his yearly physical 3 weeks after we started following ETL (although he wasn't really following it, just eating what I gave him and he ate things I didn't eat like pita chips and peanut butter).

He had a dramatic improvement in cholesterol in just that short period of time even though his cholesterol was good to start with.

01-30-2008, 02:51 PM
Oh! One thing I forgot to mention is the fact that if you're going to take a statin it is VERYimportant to be taking a CoQ10 supplement along with it. Statins block CoQ10 production in the body leading to major health issues.

Here's an article from newstarget.com about CoQ10:

I love that website!

01-30-2008, 11:05 PM
I also drink a lot of green tea. Very good for the endothelium (blood vessel lining). While this isn't directly related to your cholesterol, it will help keep your arteries healthy and clot-free!

Gotta go check out that CoQ10 link now...

01-31-2008, 02:49 PM
Hmmm, that article said nothing about statins, but rather it was a study of 29 people who had chronic heart disease appearing to benefit from supplemental CoQ10.

It did explaing what it is though: CoQ10 is a vitamin-like antioxidant compound that is essential to the body's ability to produce energy in cells. CoQ10 is mostly available in supplement form, but it can also be partly obtained through the diet. Foods rich in CoQ10 include oily fish that contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, and in organ meats and whole grains

01-31-2008, 03:43 PM
Pat, yeah the reason I posted that link was to give more information about what CoQ10 was. There was an article on the same site that talked about the damaging effects of statins. I'll take a look and post it. :)

01-31-2008, 03:46 PM
Here's the link to great info on statins:


01-31-2008, 04:08 PM

02-22-2008, 08:29 AM
I decided to give up my cholesterol lowering medication - Vytorin - after hearing the bad news about it. I researched natural ways to lower cholesterol and everything pointed to high fiber, low saturated fat, no processed foods and exercise. Luckily I love fruits, veggies and oatmeal so I love this way of eating. I've been on this plan for about 6 weeks and I'm getting my cholesterol checked next week. I can't wait to see the difference.

03-02-2008, 10:00 AM
Well, I had my cholesterol and blood pressure checked yesterday and my total cholesterol was 234 and blood pressure was 139/88, both are borderline high. So I've got to kick up my eating and fitness plan a notch. I am determined to not go on any medication for these two things.

Besides the whole foods way of eating, I'm going to really watch my salt intake and see if that brings my blood pressure down. Exercise is also going to be my new best friend!

03-02-2008, 10:20 AM
Sunshine...My DH's experience may be helpful to you. About a year ago his cholestrol was about the same as yours, and we were both put off by the side effects of statin drugs, so he decided to consult a naturopath first to see if he could make lifestyle changes.

She put him on some supplements, not all of which I can remember off the top of my head, but theres COQ10, red yeast rice, vit.c, calcium, fish oils, and some others. She also said that he needed to cut his sugars out, with the exception of a weekly treat. So no more coke, no more HFCS, and he watches the sugar grams of everything he consumes like a hawk. He also increased his exercise to 45 minutes of cardio, 5 times a week. In about 8 weeks he had his cholestrol down to 180. However, later in the year, he backed off on the exercise and it went back up to 210. He recommitted to exercise, and his last reading was at 170.

My feelings on the subject: He had thought for years that he needed to watch his saturated fat, but he paid no attention to sugar and it turns out that was the big culprit for him. He needed to watch both. The supplements have certainly helped him, but they don't do the job completely - he really has to eat well AND exercise. I hope his story helps.... we both firmly believe now that cholestrol can be controlled without statin drugs. It's hard, but it's worth it.

03-02-2008, 11:45 AM
I do not want to stir up a hornet's nest, but I am currently reading Gary Taubes' "Good Caloies, Bad Calories", a detailed review of the science behind the high cholesterol-heart disease link. I'm really surprised at how shakey the research is for such a widely accepted theory. The drug trials do show that statins like Lipotor do decrease heart disease risk is certain populations, but other cholesterol lowering drugs do not. So, do the statins have a different effect on heart disease that is not related to their cholesterol lowering properties (most drugs cause multiple effects in the body, we just call the unwanted ones "side effects")? Just something for those considering cholesterol lowering medications to explore, and speak to their doctors about.

03-03-2008, 07:36 AM
rosiekate - thanks for sharing your DH's experience. It was inspiring and I think I've made every change necessary in my diet. It's the exercise that I have to be more consistent with and I need to get my weight down.

circebee - when I was on vytorin, my doctor said the side effects were worth it. He said if I went off the drug, my cholesterol would go right back up. Of course, he never told me how diet and exercise would naturally bring it down. I had to research that myself. I'm will get my cholesterol down to a normal range.

03-04-2008, 01:18 PM
I understand soluble fiber in particular is effective for reducing cholesterol. So many kinds of beans, barley and oat bran would seem like good food choices. And of course the positive effects of regular exercise can't be overlooked!

03-07-2008, 12:12 AM
Any ideas how to raise good HDL cholesterol levels higher?

03-07-2008, 07:29 AM

here is a link for answers on how to raise your good cholesterol