Soy foods are going mainstream.The U.S.Food and Drug Administration allows manufacturers of food containing soy to label their products with the claim that,when consumed in combination with a healthful diet,soy products may lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.The scientific evidence for this position is quite impressive.Studies suggest that using soy protein instead of animal protein can lower total cholesterol by an average of 9%, lower LDL(“BAD”) cholesterol by 13%,and lower triglycerides by 10.5%.
The amount of soy necessary to lower cholesterol appears to be approximately 25g daily -approximately two servings of tofu and tempeh,you’re in luck. Soy is one of the most versatile foods in the world .
In centuries of traditional use in Asia,tofu has been braised ,stir-fried ,steamed ,and deep-fried in a variety of ways.Today,you can also buy tofu hot dogs,tofu burgers,soy”cheese”, and tempeh “turkey”drumsticks. Yet soy seems to be one of those foods that is loved by some and hated passionately by others.If you can’t imagine eating “soysage” instead of sausage in your spaghetti sauce,you can still benefit from trading some of th meat in your diet for plant-based protein.If eating meat is important to you, try replacing half the meat in your stew with lentils or barly.If you’ve never put beans in your chili before,try it.Use just a little meat to flavor split pea or bean soup.
While it is very important to cut down on saturated fat in your diet,certain fats may actually be healthy for you.
Fish contain omega-3 fatty acids,a form of polyunsaturated fat that may be protective against heart disease.Omga-3 fatty acids are “essential fatty acids” that are not made by the body and must be supplied by the diet or by supplements.Interest in them began when it was found that natives of northern Canada who lived extensively on fish had few heart attacks despite a very high fat intake.
Subsequent studies,however,have come to mixed conclusions.It appears that the omga-3 fatty acids produce little effect on total cholesterol levels,but significantly decrease triglycerides.They must slightly raise LDL cholesterol ,but this effect is usually temporary.Fish oil may also help prevent blood clots,lower blood pressure,and decrease homocysteine levels.The bottom line is that it is unclear whether fish oil is beneficial for atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Fish oil appears to be safe.Contrary to some reports,it does not seem to increase bleeding or affect blood-sugar control in people with diabetes.Flax oil has been suggested as an alternative to fish oil.However,there is no evidence that flax oil is effective,and it does not lower triglycerides.
Another supplement that might show some benefit is L-carnitine.It is an amino acid that the body uses to turn fat into energy.It is not normally considered an essential nutrient,since the body can manufacture all the needs.However,supplemental L-carnitine may improve the ability of certain tissues to produce energy.This has led to the use of L-Carnitine in various muscle diseases as well as heart conditions.
Weak evidence suggests that L-carnitine may be abe to improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels.Since L-carnitine is very expensive,and there is little evidence as yet that it works.I recommend using other more proven and cost -effective therapies to reduce your cholesterol.
Calcium supplements may occasionally lower cholesterol.A typical nutritional dose is 1.000 to 1.200 mg daily.Calcium is probably more useful as a treatment for osteoporosis.
Although there is a widespread belief that lecithin can lower cholesterol, a recent small, double -blind study of 23 men with high cholesterol levels found that lecithin treatment had no significance effects on total blood cholesterol,triglycerides,HDL cholesterol,LDL cholesterol,or lipoprotein.There is little good positive evidence to set against this negative study.