You get it all with this meal plan to lower cholesterol, created by the dietitians and physicians at the renowned Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami. Plus, you’ll enjoy all kinds of filling, delicious foods. Get started now!
Many people ask: “Why bother with diet? I can lower my cholesterol with pills alone.”
Sure, drugs like statins can reduce cholesterol. But following a heart-healthy diet like the Pritikin Eating Plan, or adding Pritikin to statin meds may lower your cholesterol even more. Down shoots LDL (bad) cholesterol as well as all forms of bad cholesterol, known as non-HDL.
Cholesterol-Lowering Foods Chart
In research on men and women who had reduced their cholesterol on average 20% via statins, adding the Pritikin Program of diet and exercise to their lives knocked down cholesterol an additional 19%, and in just three weeks.
Equally important, studies have shown that a healthy Pritikin lifestyle can help clean up virtually all the lifestyle-related problems that damage your arteries, not only cholesterol but also high blood glucose, high triglycerides, high levels of inflammation, and high blood pressure, and once again, in just two to three weeks.
That’s right, for clean arteries through and through, a plan like Pritikin is the way to go.
Here’s another big plus about this meal plan to lower cholesterol. It will likely help you shed excess weight. That’s critical for heart health because losing weight, in and of itself, has been found to decrease cholesterol levels.
You shed pounds on the Pritikin Program because it emphasizes regular exercise and an eating plan that does a great job of filling you up with food, but not calories. Hunger is never an issue. Or, as guests at the Pritikin Longevity Center often say, “I had no idea I could eat so much and lose weight at the same time.” It’s called low-calorie-density eating.
Best Meal Plan To Lower Cholesterol
This Pritikin menu plan for reducing cholesterol focuses on 4 key goals:
Goal #1 | Meal Plan To Lower Cholesterol
Maximize your intake of foods that lower blood cholesterol.
Foods Proven to lower blood cholesterol are whole foods that are naturally rich in fibre, especially soluble fibre.
What Soluble Fiber Does
Soluble fibre forms a gel that helps bind cholesterol in the gut, preventing its re-absorption into the body. There’s less cholesterol that ends up in the blood, which means lower cholesterol numbers for you.
Foods Especially Rich In Soluble Fiber Are:
- Beans (also known as legumes) such as lentils, peas, kidney beans, lima beans, black beans, red beans, pinto beans, and so on
- Yams (Sweet Potatoes)
- Brussels Sprouts
Or, as our doctors and nutritionists at the Pritikin health resort like to abbreviate: “BYOBBB”
Repeat After Me. Beans. Beans. Beans.
Beans are soluble fibre superstars… all beans, from lentils to pintos.
Eating a cup of beans each day, such as kidney, navy, pinto, black, chickpeas, or butter beans, can lower cholesterol by as much as 10% in six weeks. A review of 26 studies recently found that one serving of beans per day was linked to lower levels of LDL cholesterol as well as healthier arteries, especially in men.
Beans are also very good for weight loss. They help people feel fuller and reduce food cravings, research has shown.
No Single Magic Bullet
“But as fabulous as beans are, don’t think that lowering cholesterol is about one single superfood,” cautions Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, Director of Nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center. “What’s best is adding many foods to your daily food plan that fight high cholesterol.”
Portfolio Of Foods
Indeed, scientists have repeatedly found that a “portfolio” of various soluble-fibre-rich foods was incredibly successful in decreasing cholesterol – as effective, in fact, like statins.
In addition to BYOBBBs, other good sources of soluble fiber include: passion fruit, apples, pears, oranges, grapefruit, cantaloupe, bananas, cherries, dates, figs, grapes, pineapples, prunes, apricots, nectarines, asparagus, carrots, parsnips, spinach, squash, cabbage, string beans, kale, zucchini, turnips, broccoli, and flaxseeds.
“Essentially, you can’t go wrong with fruits and vegetables,” sums up registered dietitian Kimberly Gomer.
Fruits, Vegetables, Beans, Whole Grains
“And there’s really no need to count up fibre grams. If you fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal, as we teach at Pritikin, you’re well on your way to getting enough. Add in whole grains like barley and brown rice and at least one serving every day of beans or bean-derived foods like tofu, and you’re there!”
Goal #2 | Meal Plan To Lower Cholesterol
Minimize foods that raise blood cholesterol.
Eat far fewer (none is optimal):
- Saturated-fat-rich foods such as butter, tropical oils like coconut oil, fatty meats, and dairy foods like cheese, cream, and whole/low-fat milk
- Organ meats
- Processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and bologna
- Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (also known as trans fats)
- Cholesterol-rich foods like egg yolks.
Have you recently heard in the news that egg yolks are okay? “Don’t believe it,” cautions Dr Jay Kenney, PhD, RD, FACN, Nutrition Research Specialist and Educator at Pritikin. “Egg yolks are not okay,” as this review by faculty at Pritikin elucidates.
Goal #3 | Meal Plan To Lower Cholesterol
Most of the time, choose plant proteins such as beans and tofu over meat.
We all know that eating lean meat like skinless chicken breast is better for our hearts than fatty meats like prime rib. And certainly, lean meats like white poultry and game meat are part of the Pritikin Eating Plan.
But is your goal ratcheting down your blood cholesterol as much as you can? Are you trying to not only halt but reverse the build-up of plaque in your arteries?
If so, it’s a good idea to choose plant proteins over meat most of the time. That’s because leaner cuts of meat, including skinless white poultry, still contain some saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. For optimal cholesterol-lowering, limit lean meat to no more than once weekly, and to a 3.5-ounce serving or less.
Plant proteins like beans and tofu are not only free of artery-clogging saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, they’re also high in soluble fibre, which lowers blood cholesterol.
Another excellent choice is fish, particularly fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and trout. Choose at least 2 times weekly. If you’re using canned fish, such as canned sardines, select very-low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties.
Omega-3-rich foods generally do not lower LDL cholesterol levels, but they may reduce cardiovascular events by reducing blood clotting, lowering levels of inflammation, stabilizing heart rhythm, and/or lowering triglyceride levels.
Other types of fish do not contain as many omega 3s, but they’re still good choices, preferable to land animal meat.
Goal #4 | Meal Plan To Lower Cholesterol
Cut down on SIS (Salt, Industrialized Foods, and Sugar)
Salt: Lowering your salt intake will not directly lower cholesterol, but it can help tremendously in keeping your blood pressure in check. That’s important because high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
Industrialized Foods: Similarly, industrialized, processed foods, from white-flour muffins to potato chips, and highly sugared foods and drinks are not necessarily cholesterol-raisers. But they can damage our arteries in a myriad of other ways, such as raising triglyceride fats, blood glucose, and inflammatory levels, not to mention packing on the pounds.
Sugar: Many people don’t realize that having type 2 diabetes, the all-too-common result of our highly processed American diet and sedentary lifestyle, dramatically increases the risk of a heart attack. What’s more, the chance of dying from heart disease for people with diabetes is two to four times higher compared to those who do not have diabetes.