One of the most proven set of dietary modifications for reducing LDL fats in the body is called Dr. Jenkin’s Portfolio Diet. Cholesterol reductions in studies have reached as high as 30 percent, roughly equivalent to statin medication.
1. Substitute soy foods for meat.
Drink soy milk instead of milk and substitute soy protein foods for other meats. I am not a fan of soy substitutes more than 2-3X per week. Instead I suggest almond or rice milk, If you want something with a meatier texture that does not have the negative effects of soy then I recommend tempeh which is fermented soy. The point here is to completely eliminate all red meats and drastically reduce amounts of animal meats like chicken unless the chicken is lean and skinless and prepared without the use of oils. Fish however is an animal product that can remain in your diet. All other kinds of meat are incredibly inflammatory.
For a long time it was thought that cholesterol itself was the culprit in producing fatty clots in arteries that would consequently become the cause for heart attacks and strokes but we’ve determined preceding artery damage is required for the fats to deposit on blood vessels. This damage comes in the form of free radicals that deteriorate the integrity of the artery wall. Foods that generate free radicals are mainly refined sugars and overly cooked foods like barbequed foods. Should the season and grill be too tempting, add some turmeric, sage, rosemary and oregano to your bbq meat to quench those free radicals and reduce their impact.
2. Eat as much sticky fiber as possible.
People in the Jenkin’s study took three daily servings of natural psyllium supplements. Oats and barley replace other grains and preferred vegetables include eggplant and okra. Healthy servings of vegetables in general are very fibrous and aid in the reduction of cholesterol and inflammation in the body. Although it is most important that if you eat grains they are whole grains meaning unprocessed. Flaxseed is another good grain that you can incorporate into your diet. I recommend starting your days with a fruit shake with protein powder with added liquid fish oils and flaxseed. I recommend 2G/day omega 3 fish oils and a shake is a good way to just get it over and done with without the hassle of fishy tastes.
3. Include plant sterol-enriched margarines.
Plant sterols are available in capsule form as dietary supplements which are always a good option. I do not recommend margarine as it is an overly processed artificial food.
4. A handful of nuts every day.
In the study, almonds were eaten and the Almond Board of California offers portfolio diet recipes on its website (look at recipes on Almond Board, but any tree nut will reduce cholesterol. I always recommend 25 almonds/day.
Anything fried is out of the question as well. The only oils you should be consuming are as dressings to meals not as bases for cooking.
Here are some examples of a typical day:
Breakfast: Include rice/almond milk, oat bran cereal with chopped fruit and almonds, oatmeal bread with soy butter or alternative, and some all fruit sugarless jam.
Lunch: Soy lunchmeats or well prepared chicken, oat bran bread, bean soup, fruit.
Dinner: Butternut squash soup to start. To follow, watered stir fry with vegetables or steamed, tempeh, fruit and almonds or a bed of dark leafy green mix salad with olive oil dressing and mixed nuts (pine and almond) with baked bell peppers.
Snacks: Include nuts and veggies ie: cut carrots with hummus or fresh salsa with corn chips. Fresh lemon water is also highly recommended because it has liver function promoting properties that aid the overall metabolism of cholesterol. Pears and apples are high fibre fruits great to snack on.
Enjoy your new Portfolio! Remember to consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner like a naturopathic doctor to get a full understanding of your health status and your health needs.
(Sources and inspiration include Marjorie Geiser @ ezine and Dr. Philip Rochotas ND)