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Bite these! Four foods to lower cholesterol

October 4, 2018

On an episode of “The Office,” Dwight Schrute gladly switches to a new company health insurance plan, which doesn’t cover anything. When asked why, he says: “Never been sick. Superior brain power. Through sheer concentration, I can raise and lower my cholesterol.”

“Why would you want to raise your cholesterol?” an officemate asks.

“So I can lower it,” Dwight responds.

High LDL cholesterol is not, in fact, a laughing matter. It ups the risk of heart disease, stroke and peripheral artery disease. And no one possesses Dwight’s lipid-loopy powers. So be conscientious and rely on diet — even when taking statins — to help keep your lousy LDL cholesterol under 70 milligrams per deciliter and your good HDL above 50 milligrams per deciliter. The best bites? A diet rich in plant protein, viscous fiber, plant sterols and nuts, say researchers in the latest metastudy, published in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases.

Plant protein comes from whole grains, soy, legumes and a variety of fruits and veggies. Viscous fiber is found in oats, barley, psyllium, eggplant, apples, oranges and berries. In this study, plant sterols came mostly from enriched margarine — you also can get them from broccoli, Brussels sprouts, apples, avocados, tomatoes and vegetable oils. Nuts, especially walnuts, deliver heart-lovin’omega-3s, and almonds deliver monounsaturated fats.

That plant-centered diet reduced high blood pressure

and inflammation, and lowered lousy LDL cholesterol by 5 to 10 percent — as much as taking 20 mg of lovastatin did!

Those folks lowered their 10-year risk of coronary heart disease by 13 percent. So, now you have a heart-protecting power far more reliable than Dwight’s!

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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