High cholesterol: ‘Portfolio diet’ could help lower cholesterol – doctor shares benefits

High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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Medication known as statins is usually prescribed to lower your cholesterol levels. Currently, about seven million Brits are on statins. As more people are being prescribed statins to lower their risk of developing heart disease, Dr Sarah Jarvis recommended a portfolio diet as means for lowering cholesterol.

Statins are mostly given to patients who suffer from heart disease or type 2 diabetes as well as for lowering “bad cholesterol” levels.

There is a lot of research proving that statins can help cut your risk of heart attack and stroke, so you might be taking them only as a precaution.

Statins can be recommended based on a formula that considers your age, gender, smoking habits and cholesterol.

The previous UK recommendation was “that anyone with a 10-year risk over 20 percent should be offered a statin”.

In 2014, this changed to 10 percent, making it more common to prescribe statins for people only at risk.

However, Dr Jarvis stressed that many people on the borderline could improve their risk with lifestyle changes.

As losing weight is helpful for lowering your cholesterol, a portfolio diet offers “lots of beneficial changes”.

This diet is nothing new, with the original version including a combination of:

  • Low-fat diet
  • 5-10 servings of fruit and vegetables
  • 46g a day of almonds
  • Five to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables
  • 2g a day of plant sterols
  • 20g a day of soluble fibre (found in oats, rye, strawberries, and aubergines).

Research has found that after a month of following this diet, the levels of “bad cholesterol” have fallen by an average of 29 percent.

The problem was that after a year of this diet, one in six people had quit it.

Dr Jarvis explained that you can devise a portfolio that works for you.

“Each of these elements works on its own – 15g soya a day could drop cholesterol by up to 6 percent a day; 30-35g nuts by 5 percent; 2g plant sterols by 7-10 percent,” she said.

“Whatever way you choose, make sure you stick to it. We’re all at risk of heart attack – it’s just a question of how high that risk is.

“By making healthy lifestyle changes, we can all benefit,” Dr Jarvis added.

To reach the necessary soy protein intake, you can try foods like soy mince, tofu and soya dairy alternatives.

To see the full list of foods including soluble fibre, click here.

This diet is beneficial for everyone to lower their risk of heart disease as Dr Javis explained.

However, if you already have heart disease or type 2 diabetes, it might be necessary to also take statins. 

As they “seriously” cut the risk of dying from a heart attack and stroke, according to research.

Always follow your doctor’s advice when it comes to taking medication.

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