|Living longer naturally||Dec. 22, 2007|
|Provided by: Sun Media|
|Written by: DOCTOR GIFFORD-JONES|
|Making the right food choices can help lower cholesterol without taking drugs|
|"Why don't you take my advice and start cholesterol-lowering drugs? You quote the expression in your column that 'he who treats himself has a fool for a patient.' And that's exactly what you're doing!" my cardiologist says. He believes I'm making a huge mistake by saying "no" to cholesterol-lowering drugs.
I start the day with the right breakfast. Not a doughnut and coffee. A report from the Mayo Clinic suggests oatmeal and oat bran. These soluble fibres reduce low density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol, by binding with bile (which contains cholesterol). So rather than being absorbed from the intestines, cholesterol is excreted by the bowel.
You say you don't like oat bran? I don't either. But by adding a banana or other fruit it's quite palatable. Remember, to live longer it's sometimes necessary to do what you don't like and you have to make a choice!
I also add a half a teaspoon of cinnamon to toast. Researchers at the Nutrition Research Center report that this amount of cinnamon decreases bad cholesterol by 20%.
Linus Pauling, the two-time Nobel Prize winner, advised me years ago to add vitamin C to my breakfast routine. So a flat teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder (vitamin C) goes into my orange juice. This provides 5,000 milligrams of the vitamin, which increases the rate of removal of cholesterol from the blood. It does this by converting cholesterol into bile acids that are excreted from the bowel. I also add this amount of vitamin C to my evening meal.
Studies in the 1970s showed that Greenland Eskimos had a lower rate of heart disease than others living in Greenland at the same time. Later studies showed that the Eskimos consumed less saturated fat and more omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, whale and seal meat.
Omega-3 fatty acids help to lower blood triglyceride. They are also beneficial to the heart by decreasing the risk of blood clots. That's why it's prudent to have three meals of fish every week. But you don't have to hunt for whale or seal meat. Sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon, albacore tuna and lake trout also have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
During the course of writing this column I reach for nuts. Dr. David Jenkins, director of clinical nutrition at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, advises eating a handful of almonds every day.
Jenkins studied 27 men with high cholesterol for three months. He reports that two handfuls of almonds daily reduced LDL by 9.4%. It also resulted in improvements in lowering total cholesterol and raising high density lipoproteins (HDL, the good cholesterol) that remove excess cholesterol from the blood. He says a handful of almonds daily decreases the risk of a cardiovascular event by 18%.
NUTS AND RED WINE
Almonds are also rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which help to keep blood vessels soft and elastic. Remember, nuts are high in calories, but if you eat them sensibly weight gain shouldn't be a problem.
Mayo Clinic researchers report that foods fortified by sterols and stanols can block the absorption of cholesterol. These substances found in plants and in products such as margarine and orange juice can lower LDL by 10%.
At the end of the day, I add a glass of red wine to boost HDL. It's also my treat for eating oat bran in the morning! Red wine also decreases the formation of endothelium-1, a chemical that makes coronary arteries less likely to constrict and cause angina. And by making blood platelets (part of the blood clotting system) slippery, there's less chance of a fatal blood clot. But drink moderately.
Many other remedies are available for treating cholesterol. But there's a limit to the number that's reasonable to try. After all, there's more to life than cholesterol.
As for my cardiologist, he may be right that I have a fool for a patient. But I prefer to take my chance on natural ways to control blood cholesterol. I think history will prove me right.
But remember this is my personal opinion and you must follow your own doctor's advice on this matter.
|MORE COLUMNS BY DOCTOR GIFFORD-JONES|