Around 35% of the population suffers from high cholesterol levels. Surely we each have a family member that suffers from this condition. As many of us know cholesterol narrows the lumen of the arteries thus being the number one cause for cardiovascular diseases.

Almost everyone who suffers from high cholesterol levels is taking medication for it. It is a lifetime commitment, so why not try a friendly way out of it. It sounds too good to be true, but scientists have proven it – a healthy diet provides as much benefits as anti-cholesterol medication.

David AJ Jenkins, professor of nutritional sciences and medicine at the St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto, developed the so called Portfolio diet. The idea behind it is very simple, instead of fighting cholesterol with one healthy food; bombard it with multiple healthy foods at once.

The new dietary approach is low in saturated fat and salt. It is a combination of plant sterols, plants rich in fiber, soya protein instead of meat protein and nuts high in monounsaturated fats, along with regular exercise.

On a typical day with Portfolio diet you have to consume 30 grams of nuts, 50 grams of soya and 20 grams of soluble fiber. It is very important to stick to the plan since it offers better outcomes. A normal breakfast should include soy milk, oats served with fruits and nuts, a plant based margarine and jam. For lunch an oat-bran bread, bean soup and fruits are at the top of the list. For dinner you can enjoy a stir-fry with vegetables, nuts, and tofu and of course fruits. Snacks should be kept strictly to nuts, yogurt and fruits. The preferred vegetables include eggplant and okra.

A study conducted for six months with people who suffered from high cholesterol levels concluded an average of 13% reduction in the “bad” LDL-cholesterol.

Is the Portfolio diet right for you?

Richard Milani, MD, director of the cardiovascular health center at Ochsner Clinic, New Orleans, says "If your goal is cholesterol reduction, this is a very adequate plan, if your goal is weight reduction, this may not be it. If your goal is reducing your risk of heart attack, the Mediterranean diet may be better — although plant sterols and nuts are part of the Mediterranean diet, too."

This diet is not designed for weight loss, but there should be no reason to not incorporate its benefits into your weight loss plan.

So why not try to lower you cholesterol levels by eating your way healthy. Try seeing the results by checking your blood values before starting your diet. This way you’ll be amazes by the numbers. Good luck! 

References:

  • http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3307942/The-best-diet-Scientists-say-eating-nuts-soy-leafy-vegetables-route-slashing-risk-heart-disease.html
  • http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/features/portfolio-diet-lower-cholesterol?page=3
  • http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33601171
  • http://www.immortal.org/19869/portfolio-diet-cardiovascular-health/
  • Image adapted from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3307942/The-best-diet-Scientists-say-eating-nuts-soy-leafy-vegetables-route-slashing-risk-heart-disease.html

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