From a diet low in saturated fats to aerobic exercise to break down the fat, lifestyle interventions are considered extremely powerful for lowering cholesterol levels.
In fact, a case study of a 33-year-old man published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine shows just how much can be achieved with simple adjustments in just six weeks.
The man entered the study with moderately elevated cholesterol and a family history of cardiovascular disease.
This volunteer received a “modified” diet plan in combination with moderate exercise, without the addition of cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins.
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The 33-year-old man had an office job that meant he spent a lot of time sitting down and time to exercise was only possible after working hours.
His usual pre-intervention diet consisted of bread and dairy products, such as butter and cheese – both of which are loaded with saturated fat that can increase the risk of “bad cholesterol.”
In addition, his dinners usually include protein sources, such as steak and grilled chicken, accompanied by a carbohydrate source such as potatoes.
During the study, the new diet saw him include clinically proven cholesterol-lowering foods such as 1/3 cup of raw oats, 30 grams of almonds, at least half an avocado and extra virgin olive oil.
Oats and almonds are great sources of dietary fiber proven to reduce high cholesterol, while avocado and olive oil are packed with unsaturated fats that can help lower “bad” cholesterol levels.
The 33-year-old also added omega-3 supplements to his diet. He also took conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), vitamin C, and a multivitamin prior to the dietary change.
The researchers wrote: “Because 500 mg of vitamin C per day has a proven positive impact on fat burning during moderate exercise, it remained part of the lifestyle change.”
In addition, the researchers also had the man take CLA to limit the amount of things taken away from his regimen.
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In case you don’t know, the “bad” cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is the one that increases your risk of serious health problems like heart disease and stroke.
In addition, the man’s cholesterol levels remained within the normal range even six months later.
The researchers concluded: “This case illustrates that in some individuals, lifestyle changes alone are sufficient to reduce moderately elevated cholesterol levels.”
While this study shows some promising results, the caveat is that it only looked at one man with moderately elevated cholesterol.