10 Best Ways to Lower LDL

1. Consume foods that are naturally high in fiber, especially soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is found in legumes, fruits and root vegetables, as well as oats, barley and flax. For every 1 or 2 grams of soluble fiber you consume daily, you will lower your LDL by 1%. Try to consume 10-25 grams of soluble fiber per day. Psyllium husk may help those who have trouble consuming enough; talk to your physician if this is the case.
2. Eat 6 to 8 small meals daily instead of 1 or 2 large ones.
3. Use only nonfat dairy products. Regular dairy products like whole milk, butter, cheese, cream cheese and ricotta cheese are very high in saturated fat. Cheese is the number one source of saturated fat in the American diet..
4. Accumulate 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week, to help raise HDL. Ideally, try to walk a least 2-3 miles per day at least 5-6 days a week. Start gradually and work up slowly.
5. Limit the amount of saturated fat you consume from red meat, restaurant meals, frozen foods and tropical oils. Ideally, you should consume no more than 5% of your daily calories from saturated fat (around 10-11g for most people).
6. Avoid foods with added trans-fat. This fat comes from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils often found in fried foods and processed foods like crackers, baked goods and desserts. Choose foods with 0 g trans fat on the label and be aware of foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils because they can contain up to .49 g per serving and still claim 0g.
7. Limit your daily cholesterol intake to no more than 100 mg. Cholesterol is found in high amounts in egg yolks, squid and animal organs like liver.
8. If you are overweight, lose weight. This will help lower your total cholesterol and raise your HDL.The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to exercise and eat a diet that is high in fiber and low in fat and added sugar.
9. Limit your intake of sugar and fructose.This should lower triglycerides, aid weight loss and will help lower LDL.
10. Consider using foods that have added sterols. These include margarine, yogurt and orange juice. The National Cholesterol Education Program's Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III) says, "daily intakes of two to three grams per day of plant sterol/stanol esters will reduce LDL cholesterol by 6 to 15 percent." (see the Feb 08 issue of CFFH for a list of foods.)
Base most of your meals on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, with a minimum of animal protein foods low in saturated fat like nonfat dairy, fish & egg whites. Updated from 2001 issue of CFFH Newsletter.

By Dr. James J. Kenney, PhD, RD, FACN.

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