Your Questions About Cholesterol And Triglycerides Diet

Ken asks…

How do I lower my LDL when I already have a cholesterol-free diet?

I’m a longtime (16 years) vegetarian with an almost zero cholesterol diet. I don’t smoke, and I eat lots of fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes. I recently was told I have a borderline high LDL level (149). My HDL is also very high (79), which I know is good, and my triglycerides are normal (118). My total cholesterol is 252. But how do I lower my LDL when it has nothing to do with diet? Are there hidden things I could be ingesting that are causing my LDL to rise? Or is this just a case of bad genetics (my parents both have high cholesterol)? Thanks.

Sheila answers:

Sounds like you are on the right track with a vegetarian diet. All foods that come from animals contain cholesterol.You may need to examine your diet for hidden sources of cholesterol.

Because your body manufactures all the cholesterol it needs, you do not need any food source for cholesterol. So, do be sure you are not eating any dairy, or cheese.

Another thing you should totally avoid are foods with trans fats. Trans fats are in most processed foods and are highly dangerous for your health.

Foods that will help to lower your LDL include:

  • Oatmeal, oat bran and high fiber foods
  • Fish and Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Walnuts, almonds and other nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Foods with added plant sterols or stanols

Steven asks…

Can exercise and diet alone bring down your cholesterol and triglycerides to with-in normal ranges?

Sheila answers:

It depends. If high triglycerides or high cholesterol levels don’t run in your family, then yes. Exercise with diet is the one sure way to keep your levels down.

However, if you have inherited the conditions, then diet and exercise may not be enough to bring your levels down to the normal ranges. In that case, you would probably need medication in addition to diet and exercise.

You may be thinking that what is the point of the diet and exercise if you need to go on medication anyway. If you change your diet and start exercising to lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, you won’t need as much medication. And that is a good thing because any time you can lower the amount of medication you need, the healthier you can become.

Robert asks…

Is there a diet that covers diabetes, high cholesterol and high triglycerides?

I’m looking for a combination diet.

Sheila answers:

Yes, there are numerous diets that can help you. One of those is the South Beach Diet. It was actually designed by a cardiologist for better health,(and of course weight loss)for his heart patients, a good percentage of whom were diabetic.

Another diets is Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live.

Basically, you need to follow a plant-based diet that contains little to no animal products, few processed foods and lots of fruits and vegetables.

Nancy asks…

What are side effects and drug interaction of Niaspan?

Triglycerides, 271, Cholesterol, 130LDL, 33 HDL, I have just been given a low fat, low cholesterol Diet. Haven’t had a chance to implement. Also gave me Lipitor. On 2 blood pressure medicines and a diuretic. I think Niaspan is a little bit much?

Sheila answers:

Nancy, the Lipitor is for lowering your cholesterol and the Niaspan is to lower your triglycerides in addition to your cholesterol. I would strongly encourage your to make the diet changes and start  exercising NOW to bring your levels down to a healthy range so you can get off of your medications.

The major side effect people experience with Niaspan is flushing (warmth, itching, redness, or tingly feeling under your skin) but this should disappear the longer you are on the Niaspan.

Medications that can interact with this drug include Coumadin, vitamins that contain niacin and some blood pressure and heart medications.  Check with your doctor or pharmacist about the medications you are on.

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