I eat well, little animal products and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables but my cholesterol is high. Do you have any advice for balancing it out?Paul, UK
Dear Paul,It is wonderful that you are eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, way to go! To really help you out with this issue, when you say little animal products, I would have to know specifically what little is and what little means to you. Our perspectives could be very different but I will do my best to help you with the information at hand. When it comes to optimal cholesterol levels, we need to look at what we need to avoid which are trans fats, saturated fats and cholesterol. These can be in anything from animal products, baked goods, margarine or anything in a box. The top food sources for cholesterol are eggs, chicken, beef, pork and dishes that have any of those four items mixed into them as well as regular cheese. According to the Institute of Medicine, any amount or intake level above 0% increases LDL (bad) cholesterol concentration. This means any meat, dairy, eggs or junk food increases your LDL cholesterol because they all contain trans fats, saturated fats and cholesterol. There is no tolerable intake and any intake can increase your chance of cardiovascular disease.
Since your cholesterol is already high, I would suggest finding replacements for the animal based items you are consuming. This would be fresh, whole foods and nothing processed. Instead of meats you can eat lentils, chickpeas, beans, split peas, etc.. Tempeh is another great healthy option that many vegans use to even make a fake bacon by adding marinades and spices to it. You could also try tofu which is processed but if it helps you get off the animal based products, go for it. Try to play around with flavors, textures, look up recipes and have fun! If you are trying to remove cheese from your diet, Julie Piatt just came out with a fabulous book called, This Cheese is Nuts!: Delicious Vegan Cheese at Home. I truly believe education is essential for anything and especially with you dealing with high cholesterol, my recommendations to you are Dr. Esselstyn’s Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease Programme, Dr. Neal Barnard who founded the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Dr. Greger who blogs about the latest in health and nutrition related research as published in peer reviewed scientific journals, Dr. Colin T. Campbell who runs the Center for Nutrition Studies and Dr. McDougall who runs a health and medical centre. All of these amazing men have written numerous books about health with the focus on cardiovascular disease and their have websites share incredibly valuable information that I think you will find very helpful.
Sources Cited Trumbo PR, Shimakawa T. Tolerable upper intake levels for trans fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Nutr Rev. 2011 May;69(5):270-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.
Share this Post
Disclaimer: The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. The opinions or views expressed in this column are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed professional, physician or mental health professional. This column, its author and the website are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions.