Originally posted by BT
Originally posted by BrooklynBill
Not wanting to go on medication, he decided to do the oatmeal bit and to start using more mustard. He had read that an ingredient present in mustard lowers cholesterol.
A follow-up blood test confirmed that his cholesterol is now below 200. His only problem is -- What is lowering the reading? He’d like to drop the oatmeal in favor of a diet of ham, cheese, mustard and pumpernickel at lunch. Prudently, he says he’ll stay with both.
I don't know anything about mustard per se lowering cholesterol but I do know there are a number of products other than prescription medications which have been proven effective. I personally take pretty much all of them and, in spite of the fact that I eat pretty much anything that tastes good to me, my LDL (bad cholesterol) was 92 (down from 130 years ago) when last measured a few months ago.
First let's consider the oatmeal. The effective ingredient in that is soluble fiber and the fact is, you have to eat a lot of oatmeal to get a therpeutic amount of soluble fiber (although any amount helps). I take another approach. I use a product called ProFibe (see http://www.profibe.com/index.htm?action=help&helpfile=research.htm
) which is a source of soluble fiber derived from grapefruit pectin by a researcher at the U. of FL med school whom I personally knew when I worked there. This stuff isn't exactly cheap, but 1.5 scoops a day in a glass of purple grape juice (because maybe there is something to the French paradox thing) keeps me from having to eat oatmeal except when I want to (I actually like a bowl now and then).
Beyond the fiber, there are plant sterols and stanols: http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/ANSWERS/ANS01033.html
. These are substances found in plants but chemically resembling cholesterol (which is only found in animal tissues) which, to put it simply, fool your body into absorbing them from the gut rather than cholesterol. They are found naturally in a number of plant foods, but, like fiber, it's hard to get enough directly from veggies so they now come as either pills (called Cholest-Off, widely available but cheapest at CostCo) or in certain margarines (e.g. Benecol, Take Control and, my favorite, Smart Balance Plus which tastes the best to me and is relatively cheap) and other products.
Finally, there's Omega 3 fatty acids: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4632
. These are found in fish oils and are thought to explain why Eskimos, for example, can eat a very fatty diet but have a low rate of heart attacks. Omega 3's don't lower bad cholesterol much but they are one of the best ways to raise "good" cholesterol and they also can dramatically lower triglycerides, another "bad" fatty substance in the bloodstream. Omega 3's can also be found in Smart balance Plus margarine but I take mine in fish oil capsules (to get a really therapeutic dose, you have to take a lot--12 capsules a day--and one side effect is that this much reduces blood clotting so people on blood thinner meds shouldn't do it and everybody doing it should mention it to their doctor).
Beyond these 3 substances known to benefically effect cholesterol, there are a number of other dietary modifications that don't have to be painful. I personally believe in and try to follw a so-called "Mediterranean" diet which means using olive oil (monounsaturated) as the primary cooking/eating oil, eating as much seafood and almonds (omega 3 oils) as I can handle and eating frequent vegetarian meals (I love good plate of spaghetti with putanesca sauce).
Finally, there's an over-the-counter drug, niacin, which is as effective as most prescription drugs. But, like the prescriptions, in high enough doses (3-5 grams/day) to significantly effect cholesterol, it has as many side effect as the prescriptions and should only be taken under a doctor's supervision.
I would suggest if your friend can't handle the oatmeal regimen, he consider using ProFibe and/or Cholest-Off, and, if his doctor says it's OK, take fish oil capsules daily. If he were doing those things, I think he could eat ham and cheese in reasonable amounts and still keep his cholesterol down while skipping the oatmeal.