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    Understanding Cholesterol

    Strategies to Lower LDL

    • Increase fiber (25-35g/day)
    • Limit saturated fats ( no more than 5% of daily calories)
    • Avoid trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils
    • Exercise and lose weight
    • Consider using sterol and stanol rich margarines
    One gram increase of soluble fiber can reduce your LDL by an average of 2 points.

    Foods that are high in soluble fiber content include:
    • Beans: kidney, chickpea or pinto
    • Fruits: apples, pears, citrus, strawberries
    • Root Vegetables
    • Oats and Barley
    • Ground Flaxseed
    • Oat Bran / Rice Bran
    • Psyllium: Metamucil
    Insoluble fiber does not directly reduce cholesterol unlike soluble fiber but it does keep you full longer which, in turn, prevents overeating and can help with weight loss. A 5 to 10% weight loss can reduce LDL levels.

    Limit Saturated Fats

    Fat Change # 1
    Change from using coconut oil to olive oil or canola oil; this simple change from dangerous saturated fats to healthier mono-saturated fats is a change that needs to be made in every South Asian household.
    Also keep in mind that storing or reusing oil for frying can turn unhealthy fats into even more dangerous tans fats.

    Fat Change # 2
    Change from Indian fried snacks to nuts and seeds. Nuts, especially almonds and walnuts, are a good source of healthy oils, vitamins and proteins. However, they are still high in calories so limit your daily amount to one-third cup or 1.5 ounces of nuts per day.

    Another way to reduce dietary fat is by making changes from full fat to nonfat or low-fat dairy products.

    The following are margarines enriched with plant-based sterols that can reduce LDL’s by 20 percent.

    • Benecol
    • Take Control
    The key in effective cholesterol lowering is for these products to be taken regularly as directed. These margarines as a cholesterol lowering strategy should be discussed with your physician.

    Other Products

    Soy was once touted as a significant way to lower LDL levels, however, large studies have shown that soy does not effectively lower LDL. However soy may have other health benefits.

    Large studies have also shown that garlic does not lead to a reduction on LDL levels. And with green tea, there is a possible reduction in studies that have been done on green tea extracts.


    • Exercise can reduce LDL and triglycerides.
    • Exercise can also raise your healthy cholesterol or HDL.
    • Exercise can treat and prevent metabolic syndrome.