Shifnal Chiropractic Clinic

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Cholesterol and Diet


It is becoming increasingly common for GPs to recommend statins to their patients to help lower their cholesterol.  The modern western lifestyle certainly does seem to lead to an increase in the number of people diagnosed as having raised cholesterol, and considering the link to health problems like heart disease it is a good idea to try and control this.

But statins to don’t have to be the whole story.  Let me preface this whole article by pointing out that if your GP has prescribed you statins, you absolutely must not stop taking them without the recommendation of your GP.  If you want to try alternative ways of lowering your cholesterol, or you suspect you have been suffering from side effects from the medication, then discuss this with your GP or a pharmacist before taking any further action.

So what other options are there? Well, diet is a pretty good place to start.  There are all sorts of products and supplements out there which claim various health benefits, but the truth is that by making a few simple changes to your diet you can have a huge impact on your overall health.

  1. Fibre – the benefits of a high-fibre diet are numerous.  Not only does a diet high in fibre improve your digestive health, reduce the chances of you developing colorectal cancer and induce a feeling of “fullness” which helps prevent unhealthy habits like snacking, but it has also been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect.  Always choose wholegrain options, and ensure you are getting at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day – 8 would be better!

  2. Sugar – the current devil-food in the fashion world, but while I don’t normally pay much attention to the fads that come and go, this one is rather important.  Sugar is in just about everything you buy pre-made from the shop.  Whether that’s pizza, a sausage or even just your table condiments or cereal.  Always check the label for the nutrition information and ingredients and you’ll be horrified just how much has been piled in there.  Avoid it where possible – make everything from fresh ingredients where possible, and if there is a low-sugar option then take it.  Don’t forget to check everything you are eating – sugar sneaks in in the most unlikely places!

  3. Salt – you don’t need any added salt in your diet at all.  None.  Yes, you do need some salt in your diet, but the minute amount your body requires is easily covered by naturally occurring salt in your food.  Again, pre-made foods often have loads of salt in them (even those that claim to be low-salt) so remember: fresh is best!

  4. Little-and-often – another apparent fad-diet is the idea of eating 5 or 6 small meals a day, but again I have found from personal experience that it really does make a huge difference.  If you have 5 small portions a day, focussing around fruit, vegetables and proteins such as nuts, eggs and chicken you will find your energy is better, your blood glucose levels stay more constant (good for those type-II diabetes sufferers) and it makes keeping up those fruit and veg portions a doddle.

  5. “Good” fat – there is a world of confusion around fat at the moment.  For years, it has been demonised, and low-fat was all the rage.  Butter was the food of the devil, and low fat yoghurts (incidentally, often loaded with sugar) were crammed in the health-conscious fridge.  Recently, evidence has come to light saying this just isn’t the case.  I think the thing to remember is the old adage “everything in moderation”.  Slathering everything in butter isn’t going to do you much good, but using butter instead of margarine isn’t going to cause an issue.  Choosing leaner meat options such as chicken, turkey and venison is going to help keep your intake down, and eating oily fish such as mackerel and salmon has long been recognised as an excellent way to boost essential fats.

So there you go – if you’re worried about your cholesterol, load up on wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and healthy proteins like oily fish, nuts, chicken and turkey and you’ll be well on the way.  Add in a low sugar, low salt tendency and try eating small portions 5 times a day and you’ll be amazed at the difference it can make.

Comments (1)

  1. Shan:
    Apr 10, 2017 at 10:03 AM

    This blogpost came at the right time for me. My doctor mentions statins each time I visit and I always refuse. I knew diet could lower cholesterol but didn't know how. Now I do!

    Thanks :)

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