6 cholesterol-lowering foods you didn’t know about

Certain foods have been shown to decrease heart disease risk by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and raising HDL (good) cholesterol. And while you probably know about the cholesterol-busting powers of fish, oatmeal, red wine, beans, and olive oil, if you’re looking for something new to keep you ticker healthy, here are six foods that might surprise you.

Indian Gooseberry
Indian gooseberry, also known as amla, is a round, green fruit that is sour, bitter, and quite fibrous. A tree that grows in India, the Middle East, and some southeast Asian countries, Indian gooseberry has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.

Many doctors and commercials have lauded the benefits of oatmeal to help lower blood cholesterol levels, but rarely do we hear about another heart-healthy grain called barley. Like oatmeal, barley is high in soluble fiber, the type of fiber that helps to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood. Barley is also extremely versatile so you’re not just limited to eating it at breakfast time.

One high-fat food you might want to include on your cholesterol-lowering menu is avocado. To see if there’s something special about avocados for your heart, researchers at Penn State University put participants on different diets where they controlled their fat intake—and one of those groups was given one avocado a day.

Possibly one of the sweetest things you can eat to improve your diet: strawberries. A study published in Journal Nutrition using freeze-dried strawberries stirred into a drink found that women who had the drink (equal to about three and a half cups of fresh strawberries) three times a week showed a significant reduction in cholesterol levels by week four of the study. While berry season is in the summer, frozen berries are picked at their peek of freshness and are an affordable substitute that can be enjoyed all year long.

Live microorganisms (naturally occurring bacteria in the gut) are called probiotics and these “good” bacteria are thought to have beneficial effects on gut health, and more recently cholesterol levels. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who consumed a yogurt with probiotic properties showed a greater reduction in blood cholesterol levels than those who consumed a regular low fat yogurt over a 12-week period.

You’ve probably heard red wine is good for the heart, well how about grapes? The heart-healthy polyphenol found in red wine, resveratrol, is also found in grapes of all colors. In addition, fresh grapes provide other heart-protective nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and flavonoids.

Source: foxnews

French Fries – The Danger Effects

french fries dangers

Therefore, think again before you start preparing your fryer or pan for usage.

1. Bad fatty acids

The fried foods are delicious, but the bad saturated fat turns the potatoes into a ticking time bomb for your heart, diabetes and cancer.Bad and saturated fats are contained even in the margarine and all products labeled “partially hydrogenated”.

Bad fats raise cholesterol levels and elevate triglycerides. The human body needs Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, so it is very important to pay attention in what type of oil are the french fries fried. Sunflower and corn oil are good for use, while palm and sesame are always the best choice for frying.

2. They contain bad carbohydrates

The potato in its natural state is really good for the human health, but it can be dangerous if its prepared in a wrong way.
In its composition contains carbohydrates and sugars and when we intake carbohydrates in our body they become rapidly absorbed, which later can be used as a source of energy or get stored as fat deposits.

Once you eat one fries serving it is mandatory to make some exercise or take a walk , because otherwise you will surely raise few grams from only this one meal. The scariest part that adversely will affect your body line is actually that delicious crust generated during frying.

3. Contain trans fats

The french fries have trans fats that are common triggers of multiple types of cancer. Therefore it is best to avoid or limit the consumption of these foods.

One serving per week will be good enough for you, and for the children between 3 and 5 years it is highly recommended only one serving in period of 10 days. The French fries have enormous concentrate of salt, bad fats and carbohydrates, and worse than that is the potato chips.

4. Be careful with the packed french fries

When you get hungry and you are not at your home, you’re probably opting for some packed french fries, without knowing in what kind of oil they`re fried.

Another thing that you should have in mind is to eat it while is still hot. That means that before it gets consumed it has not enough time to stand in a place and then start storing dome extra fat.

Replacement for the french fries?

The best option would be – baked potato.


Cut the potatoes as fries, preheat the oven and on the baking pan place some sheets of paper. Well arrange the potatoes, bake it and spice up as desired.

Source: only pure nature

Common cholesterol drug linked to death risk

Common cholesterol drug linked to death risk

Niacin, a common cholesterol drug for 50 years, should no longer be prescribed owing to potential increased risk of death, dangerous side effects and no benefit in reducing heart attacks and strokes, researchers said.

“There might be one excess death for every 200 people we put on Niacin. With that kind of signal, this is an unacceptable therapy for the vast majority of patients,” said cardiologist Donald Lloyd-Jones from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Niacin should be reserved only for patients at very high risk for a heart attack and stroke who cannot take statins, Lloyd-Jones added.

Lloyd-Jones’s research was based on a large new study that looked at adults, aged 50 to 80, with cardiovascular disease who took niacin (vitamin B3) to see if it reduced heart attack and stroke compared to a placebo over four years.

All patients in the trial were already being treated with a statin medication. Researchers found that Niacin did not reduce heart attacks and stroke rates compared with a placebo.

More concerning, Niacin was associated with an increased trend towards death from all causes as well as significant increases in serious side effects.

These included liver problems, excess infections, excess bleeding, gout and loss of control of blood sugar for diabetics.

“For the reduction of heart disease and stroke risk, statins remain the most important drug-based strategy,” Lloyd-Jones said.

The research appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Source: Times of India

Indian-American scientist finds why cholesterol worsens in winter

Cholesterol levels usually go up in colder months – a trend that may be driven by behavioural changes that occur with the changing seasons, new research by an Indian-American researcher shows.

While previous studies have shown that heart attacks and heart-related deaths increase during the winter, researchers at Johns Hopkins’ Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease were interested in finding out whether cholesterol parameters might follow a similar pattern.

They studied a massive data representing 2.8 million adults – the largest study so far to look at seasonal lipid trends in adults.

“We found that people tend to have worse cholesterol numbers on average during the colder months than in the warmer months – not by a very large amount, but the variation is significant,” said Parag Joshi, a cardiology fellow at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

“The data instead validates a clear seasonal pattern and underscores the need to pay attention to behaviours that are critical to minimising cardiovascular risk,” Joshi said.

“In the summer, we tend to get outside, we are more active and have healthier behaviours overall,” Joshi added.

“In the colder months, we tend to crawl into our caves, eat fat-laden comfort foods and get less exercise, so what we see is that LDL and non-HDL bad cholesterol markers are slightly worse,” he added.

So you have a lipid signature of higher risk but it is driven by behaviours that occur with the changing seasons.

Researchers speculate the shorter days of winter – and limited time spent outside – also mean less sun exposure and, subsequently, lower concentrations of vitamin D, which has also been associated with the ratio of bad to good cholesterol.

More research is needed to further tease out what might be behind these seasonal variations, Joshi told the gathering at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session recently.

Source: samachar

Saturated fat advice ‘unclear’


Swapping butter for a sunflower spread may not lower heart risk, say British Heart Foundation researchers.

Contrary to guidance, there is no evidence that changing the type of fat you eat from “bad” saturated to “healthier” polyunsaturated cuts heart risk.

They looked at data from 72 studies with more than 600,000 participants.

Heart experts stressed the findings did not mean it was fine to eat lots of cheese, pies and cakes.

Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which can increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Saturated fat is the kind of fat found in butter, biscuits, fatty cuts of meat, sausages and bacon, and cheese and cream.

Most of us eat too much of it – men should eat no more than 30g a day and women no more than 20g a day.

There has been a big health drive to get more people eating unsaturated fats such as olive and sunflower oils and other non-animal fats – instead.

But research published in Annals of Internal Medicine, led by investigators at the University of Cambridge, found no evidence to support this.

Total saturated fat, whether measured in the diet or in the bloodstream as a biomarker, was not associated with coronary disease risk in the 72 observational studies.

And polyunsaturated fat intake did not offer any heart protection.

Dr Rajiv Chowdhury, the lead author of the research , said: “These are interesting results that potentially stimulate new lines of scientific inquiry and encourage careful reappraisal of our current nutritional guidelines.”

The British Heart Foundation said the findings did not change the advice that eating too much fat is harmful for the heart.

Prof Jeremy Pearson, the charity’s associate medical director, said: “This research is not saying that you can eat as much fat as you like.

“Too much fat is bad for you.

“But, sadly, this analysis suggests there isn’t enough evidence to say that a diet rich in polyunsaturated fats but low in saturated fats reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

“Alongside taking any necessary medication, the best way to stay heart healthy is to stop smoking, stay active, and ensure our whole diet is healthy – and this means considering not only the fats in our diet but also our intake of salt, sugar and fruit and vegetables.”

Source: BBC news

Red light, green labels: Food choice made easier

In March 2010, Massachusetts General Hospital’s cafeteria got an overhaul. Healthy items were labeled with a “green light,” less healthy items were labeled with a “yellow light,” and unhealthy items were labeled with a “red light.” Healthier items were also placed in prime locations throughout the cafeteria, while unhealthy items were pushed below eye level.

The “Green Light, Red Light, Eat Right” method is a favorite among experts fighting childhood obesity. But doctors at Massachusetts General wanted to know if the colors could really inspire healthier eating habits among adults long-term.

The results of their study were published Tuesday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The study

A cash register system tracked all purchases from the hospital’s large cafeteria between December 2009 and February 2012. The first three months of data were used as a baseline for comparison purposes. In March 2010, all food and beverages were labeled with a visible green, yellow or red sticker. Those with a green sticker were put at eye level and in easier-to-reach places.

Signs, menu boards and other promotions were used to explain the changes around the hospital.

The cafeteria had an average of 6,511 transactions daily. Approximately 2,200 of those were from hospital employees who used the cafeteria regularly. Twelve months into the study, researchers analyzed the number of purchases from each color group, and compared them to the baseline totals. They did the same at the end of the 24-month period.

The results

The number of red items purchased during the study period decreased from 24% at the baseline to 21% at both the 12 and 24-month follow-ups. The biggest decrease was seen in red-labeled beverages (such as regular soda) – from 27% at baseline to 18% at 24 months.

Sales of green items increased from 41% to 46%.

In other words, cafeteria-goers bought more water and purchased healthier food items during the study period than they did before the traffic light system went into place.

Employees showed the biggest improvement; their purchases of red items decreased by about 20%.


“These results suggest that simple food environment interventions can play a major role in public health policies to reduce obesity,” the study authors write.

Lead study author Dr. Anne Thorndike wasn’t sure that the changes seen early in the study would last over the two-year period. The consistent results at 24 months suggest people won’t grow tired of or immune to helpful food labels, she says.

Thorndike does not believe the color coding system can replace more detailed nutrition information, but says the labels “convey some basic nutrition information in a format that can be quickly interpreted and understood by individuals from diverse backgrounds.”

It’s unclear if the traffic light system produced the change in consumers’ behavior or if it was the rearrangement of items in the cafeteria.

Use it at home

“Families could utilize this concept by categorizing foods in the household as ‘green’ or red,'” Thorndike says. “For example, you could have a ‘green’ snack drawer or shelf on the refrigerator that the kids could freely choose from, and you could designate a ‘red’ drawer in which the kids would need to ask permission before taking a snack.”

Parents can also rearrange their cupboards to put healthier snacks front and center. Sorry, cookies – it’s the dark corner up top for you.

Source: the chart

Cholesterol linked to Alzheimer’s protein, unclear why

Patterns of “good” and “bad” cholesterol usually associated with heart risks also predicted the levels of Alzheimer’s-related beta amyloid protein seen in the brains of study participants.

“One of the important themes emerging from dementia research over the past 15 years is that there are intriguing connections between vascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease,” Bruce Reed, who led the research, told Reuters Health by email.

Reed is a professor and associate director of the University of California Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

“It has become increasingly clear that what have been traditionally thought of as vascular risk factors – things like hypertension, diabetes and elevated cholesterol – are also risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease,” Reed said.

In previous work, Reed and his colleagues found a connection between overall vascular risk and levels of brain amyloid.

“Amyloid deposition is important because it is widely believed by scientists to be a key event that initiates a chain of events that eventually, years later, results in the dementia of Alzheimer’s disease,” Reed said.

“There was also previous work in cell cultures and with animals that suggested that cholesterol plays an important role in promoting the deposition of amyloid in the brain,” Reed said.

For the new study, published in JAMA Neurology, the researchers examined the cholesterol levels of 74 elderly people who had normal to mildly impaired cognitive function. Researchers also measured brain deposits of beta amyloid protein with positron emission tomography (PET scanning).

They found that on average, participants who had higher levels of the “bad” LDL cholesterol and lower levels of “good” HDL cholesterol also had higher levels of amyloid in the brain.

Elevated LDL-cholesterol is associated with cardiovascular disease while high levels of HDL-cholesterol are thought to protect against heart disease.

“We think this is a very important finding, but as with all novel findings it needs to be replicated,” Reed said. “Assuming that the basic pattern is found in other groups of patients, it is urgent that we try to understand the mechanism(s) behind this finding.”

“Cholesterol in blood and cholesterol in brain are separate ‘pools,’ walled off from one another by the blood brain barrier. We measured cholesterol in blood. So that is one question that needs to be answered – how do cholesterol levels in blood and in brain influence each other,” Reed said.

“And in the brain, it is not entirely understood how changing cholesterol levels might reduce amyloid deposition. We are very interested in the idea that higher HDL (‘good’) cholesterol levels may help the brain more efficiently clear the toxic amyloid at an early stage,” Reed said.

“If those questions were understood we could begin to think about how to change cholesterol levels so as to prevent the buildup of amyloid,” Reed added.

In other studies, some researchers have found evidence that LDL cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins, might offer some protection against Alzheimer’s disease, but the results have been inconsistent.

Reed’s team didn’t see any associations between current use of cholesterol medication by the participants and their amyloid levels.

In their report, Reed and his coauthors caution that the study does not prove cholesterol is directly affecting amyloid deposition. For instance, they write, unhealthy cholesterol could be linked to vascular damage, such as small strokes, and those micro-injuries could be the reason for the protein deposits.

He encourages people to follow the advice of their doctor and try to achieve the cholesterol guidelines set by the American Heart Association.

“A remarkable number of people who are alive now will live into their 80s or beyond – the period of highest risk for Alzheimer’s. This study is one more piece of evidence that what we do now can shape our health positively in those years,” Reed said.

Source: ABS CBN news

Corn oil better at cutting cholesterol than extra virgin olive oil

Researchers have shown that corn oil significantly lowers cholesterol with more favorable changes in total cholesterol (TC) and LDL-C than extra virgin olive oil.

The scientists were led by lead researcher, Dr. Kevin C Maki, PhD, of Biofortis, the clinical research arm of Merieux NutriSciences.

Among the 54 healthy men and women in the feeding study, consumption of foods made with corn oil resulted in significantly lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol than the same foods made with extra virgin olive oil.

Corn oil lowered LDL cholesterol by 10.9 percent compared to extra virgin olive oil’s 3.5 percent reduction1,2, and total cholesterol decreased by 8.2 percent with corn oil compared to 1.8 percent for extra virgin olive oil. (Read: 8 natural cholesterol busters)

Study participants received four tablespoons of corn oil or extra virgin olive oil in the foods provided every day, consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations. All foods were provided to the study participants as part of a weight maintenance diet.

The randomized, double-blind, controlled crossover clinical trial assessed the effects of dietary oils on fasting lipoprotein lipids.

The study compared the effects of corn and extra virgin olive oil on LDL cholesterol (primary outcome variable), total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), Non-HDL cholesterol

Source: health India