A new study shows that a “food as medicine” approach using specially formulated vegan snacks can be beneficial for lowering cholesterol levels. In fact, cholesterol decreased by an average of 9% over the course of 30 days, with some having reductions of more than 30%.
The snacks were plant-based whole foods—such as walnuts, cranberries, and flax seeds with whole food fiber, plant sterols, ALA omega 3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
Overall, following a plant-based diet may help reduce the number of medications, including statin drugs to lower cholesterol, that are necessary for older adults. One study published last year in the medical journal American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine found that plant-based seniors were taking 58-percent fewer medications than meat-eaters.
Another University of Toronto study found that people eating a plant-based diet rich in special cholesterol-lowering foods lowered their LDL cholesterol by nearly 30 percent in just four weeks.
These foods include:
Oats, beans, barley, and other foods high in soluble fiber
Wheat germ, wheat bran, almonds, Brussels sprouts, and other foods containing substances called phytosterols
Why is cholesterol important?
Your liver makes cholesterol, a fatty substance that is found in the membranes of every cell in your body. It is used to make vitamin D, hormones, and bile, which helps you to digest fats.
It’s normal to have cholesterol in your blood but a high level increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. According to HEART UK, half of UK adults have raised cholesterol. Lifestyle changes can help people to lower and maintain their cholesterol levels.
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