General Diet Plans and Questions - Lowering cholesterol without medication




onagain1
04-07-2013, 09:51 AM
Hey guys,

I wasn't sure where the best place to post this would be. My cholesterol level is high, and the doctor wants me to try to lower it naturally before considering medication. I agree with this - I don't want to be on medication. I'm kinda wanting to hear from those of you who may have been there, done that. I've read so much information online and that the doc gave me that my head is spinning.

I've started taking fish oil capsules for about a week now and have been increasing fruit/vegetable intake. I am giving up red meat completely for now - which is not that hard since I don't care for it anyway. I'm also limiting dairy and switching from cow milk to almond milk. Every food plan that I find for people that have high cholesterol includes oatmeal. Any ideas for including oatmeal for someone who can't stand the texture? I can eat about 1/4 - 1/2 cup before I start to gag. I've seen some recipes for including oatmeal in smoothies that I might try. I'm going to start walking/biking this week. I'm eating around 1700 calories each day and trying to keep saturated fat under 10g and trans fat to 0g.

I am supposed to go back in June to have it tested again which seems like not a lot of time to see a difference, but what do I know - I'm not the doctor! :) Anyone who has had success lowering their cholesterol having any advice for me? What else am I missing? Please tell me that this is possible - I'm in my twenties and I really don't want to start taking cholesterol meds.


newleaf123
04-07-2013, 09:58 AM
The only other thing I can think of is adding green tea if you aren't already drinking it. I've read that having 3-4 cups a day has tremendous health benefits, including lower cholesterol. If you don't like the taste of it, experiment with different green teas. Or trying brewing a larger cup, using one black and one green tea bag, which usually masks the green tea flavor.

Everything you are doing sounds great! Best of luck to you!

Misti in Seattle
04-07-2013, 10:02 AM
Been there, done that! And significantly lowered blood pressure in the process! It sounds as if you are on the right track with cutting out the red meat and eating a lot of fruits and veggies. One more thing I found extremely helpful is cut out as many of the processed foods as you can; they are almost all made out of genetically modified corn and all kinds of other unbelievable substances. (Just take a list of the ingredients on some of them and google to find out what those unpronouncable words actually ARE and you will be appalled). I've also gone as much organic as possible.

The oatmeal in smoothies sounds like a good idea and something I might try myself! But however you eat it, be sure to use real oats instead of the packaged instant stuff! You can microwave the real thing in a tall bowl (or glass measuring cup is good) for three minutes... most of the "instant" stuff takes two minutes anyway LOL

Oh and regarding the green tea comment above... I HATE the stuff so my doctor suggested white tea. I got some with raspberry and it is great, although I still seldom drink tea, and now I have all of my labwork down into the "perfect" range.... without medication... so it CAN be done!

I wish you the best! Glad you have good doctor's support! You can do it!


JerseyGyrl
04-07-2013, 10:35 AM
A few years ago my DBF was told his cholesterol was high....but....unlike your Dr. wanting to you to lower it naturally before considering medicatiion, his Dr. called in a prescription for Lipitor. I immediately protested!! I bought a book for my DBF to read called The Great Cholesterol Con by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick. I would recommend you read it. You can probably find a used copy on Ebay or Amazon for cheap. Its an eye-opener. There are a lot of myths out there and a lot of people on statin drugs needlessly. I'm not trying to say that medication is a bad thing when it is NEEDED...but....when it isn't needed, it can prove to be a very bad thing.

I have been low carb for almost 9 years now. Low carb is a great way to reduce cholesterol. There are also a lot of supplements that can help with cholesterol, Red Yeast Rice being one. I would suggest talking to a good pharmacist or someone at a health food store with extensive knowledge of supplements & nutrition before taking any supplements.

I agree though, going back to the Dr. in June really doesn't give you much time to get this under control....but....stick to your guns and tell him/her you do not wish to take medication. In the meantime, do your research because knowledge is power. The more you know on the subject, the better! With dietary changes, exercise & supplements, my DBF got his cholesterol down. IT CAN BE DONE!!!

All the best to you!!:hug:

TripSwitch
04-07-2013, 10:57 AM
Usually losing weight helps... And usually exercise helps even more... My numbers weren't quite where I wanted them a few years ago... And I took something called BiosLife Complete which is basically a fiber supplement that's designed to help lower cholesterol... It was recommended by my Dr., who also happens to be a good friend of mine as well... It's also listed in the PDR(Physicans Desk Reference) so it's FDA approved to be used for this purpose, so I trusted that it was legitimate... And it worked for me...

So basically, I took this fiber supplement twice a day before my biggest meals, lost some weight, started exercising more, and within a month my cholesterol came down a lot...

SouthernComfort257
04-07-2013, 11:08 AM
Here is a "can of worms" for you. Go vegan.
Read the book Forks Over Knives. It works!

SouthernMaven
04-07-2013, 12:21 PM
Hey guys,

I wasn't sure where the best place to post this would be. My cholesterol level is high, and the doctor wants me to try to lower it naturally before considering medication. I agree with this - I don't want to be on medication. I'm kinda wanting to hear from those of you who may have been there, done that. I've read so much information online and that the doc gave me that my head is spinning.

I've started taking fish oil capsules for about a week now and have been increasing fruit/vegetable intake. I am giving up red meat completely for now - which is not that hard since I don't care for it anyway. I'm also limiting dairy and switching from cow milk to almond milk. Every food plan that I find for people that have high cholesterol includes oatmeal. Any ideas for including oatmeal for someone who can't stand the texture? I can eat about 1/4 - 1/2 cup before I start to gag. I've seen some recipes for including oatmeal in smoothies that I might try. I'm going to start walking/biking this week. I'm eating around 1700 calories each day and trying to keep saturated fat under 10g and trans fat to 0g.

I am supposed to go back in June to have it tested again which seems like not a lot of time to see a difference, but what do I know - I'm not the doctor! :) Anyone who has had success lowering their cholesterol having any advice for me? What else am I missing? Please tell me that this is possible - I'm in my twenties and I really don't want to start taking cholesterol meds.

I'm going to have a bit of a different take on this from the other posters, although I do agree that you should definitely try to get your cholesterol numbers down naturally before resorting to medications. Especially since you are so young!

I'm 61 years old with a strong history of heart disease on my mother's side of the family. Two of my three brothers had heart attacks in their 50's, one of which was almost fatal. (he was 53 and only mildly overweight) When I finally got myself to a cardiologist in 2008, I was shocked to discover my cholesterol was off the charts. I was overweight but not obese, and I have not even been overweight for the majority of my adult life - the most I've been overweight is about 25 lbs and it was after menopause.

I couldn't wait to get it down - I had to go on cholesterol medication immediately. Fortunately I don't have any side affects from the regular cholesterol medicine (Crestor).

Because of my family history, my doctor encouraged me to have my cholesterol genetically tested to see what types of markers I have for heart disease, heart attack risk, etc. This is done through the Berkeley Heart Lab in California. http://www.bhlinc.com/

To say that I am at risk of heart disease and heart attack is the epitome of understatement. He did encourage me to lose weight (which I did) and he said that when I did that brought the good cholesterol (HDL) way up. But even though Crestor gives me great readings on my regular cholesterol panel - the one we are familiar with - you should have seen the red marks on my Berkeley Lab tests, which really get deep down into the makeup of your cholesterol (what kind of cholesterol molecules you have, are they "fluffy" as opposed to "thick" - totally layman's terms here - and all sorts of other things not measured by a regular cholesterol screening).

So he put me on Niaspan. I'm here to tell you that this is some bad s***. When I say that, I mean the side affects are just horrible. I've never experienced a single side affect from any medication I've ever taken in my life. Ever. But this medicine and I do not get along. But I was scared enough and managed to increase the medication from 500 mg to 1000 mg to 1500 mg. And then boom! I had a reaction to it one night that almost sent me to the hospital. Scared the you-know-what out of me. So I just stopped taking it. I was getting ready to go to Europe didn't want to deal with that. And of course when I got back and tried to get back into taking it the side affects were driving me crazy.

I avoided going to the cardiologist until I couldn't avoid it any longer. (keep in mind I was still at a normal weight when this all happened) When I got there my regular panel was just fine. No problem. But those genetic testing readings? Horrible. Off the chart bad. Again. So he had a come-to-Jesus meeting with me and I had to get back on the Niaspan. I'm still only at 500 mg but the difference in the readings - even after I'd gained some weight back recently - is amazing. Getting out of the red and into the yellow and green ranges again. (I have one marker that is SO BAD he said it will NEVER be normal; most we can hope for is for it to move from "at risk" to "moderate risk" - which is from red to yellow).

So the whole point of this diatribe is this...yes, follow your doctor's instructions to the letter and do everything you can to get those numbers down by any means possible before resorting to medication. If the numbers are primarily because of your weight, losing weight and doing other things should help.

But if you get back there and they haven't budged and he wants you to go on medication, do it. Because statins do have side affects, but they also save lives.

And that Berkeley test - the one for genetic markers in your cholesterol? This is why you see case after case of people who don't appear to have ANY heart problems and who are of normal weight and have normal cholesterol readings suddenly and inexplicably DROP DEAD. It's often because of these underlying family markers that they were totally unaware of. I know one lady (a dental hygienist at my dentist's office) who had a massive heart attack in her late 40's. Can't remember her exact age. She had been to the doctor two weeks before and had a perfectly normal cholesterol panel. Blood pressure was fine. She almost died. One of the first questions they asked when she got to the ER was "is there a history of heart attack under 50 in your family?" and there was. Fortunately she survived and is doing well.

Also remember that heart disease absolutely dwarfs breast cancer in women's deaths in this country. Yet it gets nowhere near the play that breast cancer does. My mother, ironically, was the only one of her siblings to die of breast cancer. All the others died of heart disease, as did both her parents.

So take this cholesterol situation very, very seriously. You're quite young and I'm glad to see you're doing something positive for your health.

Good luck.

geoblewis
04-07-2013, 01:21 PM
Let me start by saying that my cholesterol levels got higher from unhealthy eating and gaining lots of weight. And my HDL was far too low. There is no heart disease in my family, but there is type 2 diabetes. My lifestyle choices are all about managing the diabetes without meds.

The foods that I cut out that had the greatest impact on lowering my LDL levels was all starchy carbs and sugars. I increased vegetables a lot, but lowered my fruit to one or two servings a week. I totally cut out processed foods as well. I don't drink milk. I avoid all soy as well as artificial sweeteners.

To increase HDL levels, I started taking the fish oil capsules and eating fish at least three times a week. I only eat wild caught fish, grass fed meats and poultry, eggs from pastured chickens. I also eat healthy fats, like olive oil, cheeses from grass fed dairy, avocados, almonds and walnuts. I also drink plenty of clean water.

If you don't like oatmeal, then I suggest you don't eat it. I don't like the rolled oats and quick cooking oats. And I don't like it sweet. I am a fan, however, of steel cut oats. I like to toast it in a dry pan till it starts to turn golden, then I put it in a canning jar with boiling hot water. I let it sit overnight. By morning it's cooked and ready to eat. I reheat it, put a serving of it in a bowl, then put a poached egg on it and dress it with olive oil.

Alternatives to oatmeal are broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, apples, pears, prunes and citrus. Also legumes. They all work as effectively. I like to eat my proteins with vegetables high in soluble fiber. It absorbs some of the dietary cholesterol. I'll have kale or spinach with my eggs and bacon in the morning, broccoli-carrot slaw with salmon at lunch, roasted brussels sprouts with lamb chops at dinner.

I also exercise six hours a week, 3 hours of cardio and 3 hours of weight resistance training.

Eat a great variety of foods. Don't limit yourself to a short list, because it is the best chance of getting all the right nutrients.

I have lost weight, but I am still obese. Currently, I have very healthy cholesterol and blood pressure. So healthy that my doctor remarks on how envious she is and she is at a very healthy weight.

I wish you well!

onagain1
04-08-2013, 09:56 PM
Thanks! Ya'll have all given me some good things to think on. I feel like I'm on the right track to get it lower - I guess I needed some reassurance from some who have been there before.

nelie
04-08-2013, 11:04 PM
Here is a "can of worms" for you. Go vegan.
Read the book Forks Over Knives. It works!

Yeah, I didn't have high cholesterol, I think I was around 180/190, went vegan, within a few months, I was at 120. I obviously wasn't trying to lower my cholesterol. My husband had the same thing happen. LDL went way down and HDL went slightly up.

And I should say at that point, I had already lost over 100 lbs, exercised and ate lots of fruits, veggies and overly a fairly healthy diet.