Doctor Regale is back! with healthy tips on cholesterol reduction
After taking a break about a year and a half, Dr Regale is back providing more insightful reviews and critics on delicious food all over the world.
Please do feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions for me or if you would like to share your food experience. All are welcomed. Bon Appétit!
Healthy Tips from Doctor Regale:
We all know that dyslipidemia (aka high cholesterol) is not good for health based on the Framingham study, and it is a known risk factor which predisposes a person to ischemic heart disease leading to myocardial infarction/heart attack and some may end up having a major surgery such as coronary artery bypass graft.
In this day and age, anyone who is not wary and eats outside often will bound to get high cholesterol even if the food they consume may appear not tasty.
Dyslipidemia is such a common condition that more than half of the patients who visit primary healthcare have abnormal lipid level or are already started on some form of cholesterol lowering medication.
Physicians would recommend dietary and lifestyle control first before starting patients on medications like statin - which is a wonderful drug, but comes with side effects of impairment of liver function or rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown).
Thus the best way to control your lipid level is via lifestyle modification and it is important to start this healthy habit early.
For foodies like us, in order to be able to continue to regale, we have to resort to maintainance of a healthy diet normally, which will give us the reserve to enjoy real good food - which usually may not be very healthy, perhaps once a week.
Remember, the longer you can maintain a healthy level of cholesterol, the more you can truly enjoy having good food since you would have more reserve to eat.
Furthermore, by having a healthy diet together with exercise (at least 30 minutes each time, 3 times a week) not only reduces the LDL - low density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) and increases the HDL - high density lipoprotein (good cholesterol), losing weight and unsightly adipose tissues (fats) is a great bonus that comes together with the effort!
Healthy food that I eat which helps to keep cholesterol at a healthy level so that I will be able to enjoy all the good food at a regular basis whilst maintaining good health.
Steamed cod fish with garlic (bottom left)
Red yeast chicken breast steamed with garlic (bottom)
Salmon sashimi (top)
Soba - buckwheat noodles (top right)
Steamed vegetable and fish soup (centre)
and last but not least, oats - the staple food to maintain a healthy cholesterol level! (below)
Here are my 2 cents worth of tips on choices of food to lower cholesterol. However, nothing is perfect, hence the top priority is to maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet with regular exercise and sleep.
1. Oats brans/wholemeal bread
Oats contain compounds called beta glucans, which give them their paste-like consistency. The beta glucans form a thick gel inside the digestive tract and bind to cholesterol in the gut, helping to prevent cholesterol from being absorbed by the body via competitive inhibition. The gel and cholesterol are then excreted as waste. There are various large studies involving more than 1000 people which showed that adding beta glucans each day to your diet via porridge, other oat-based cereals and oatcakes reduced cholesterol by up to five per cent within three months. Recommendation is three grams of beta glucans a day. This is equivalent to a small bowl of porridge, three oatcakes and two slices of oat bread. This would also contribute about 5g of your daily fibre intake. Oats also contains fibre which also binds to cholesterol so that it is removed through waste. High-fibre bread can be added to the diet to boost fibre intake further. A meta-analysis of 67 studies on dietary fibre and cholesterol levels revealed that consuming more fibre helped reduce LDL by a small but significant amount.
2. Saltwater fishes like salmon, tuna and cod
They contain omega3 fatty acids which can be your main source of essential fatty acids (fat intake). Evidence have shown that omega3 fatty acids reduces LDL. Hence, if you are not someone on immunosuppresants or chemotherapy, then fresh sashimi can be an option too. But also bearing in mind, too much of consumption of fishes can lead to mercury poisoning.
3. Cruciferous vegetables like brocoli and kai lan, legumes like beans
They also contain fibre which would compete with absorption of fats in the small intestines. They also help to provide bulk in peristalsis of the gut, at the same time contain anti-oxidants which can be useful in cancer prevention. Furthermore, food with high fibre contents can help control weight and protect arteries from heart disease. Recommended eighteen grams a day. Around 5g will come from oat-based products and you can get the rest from just a slice of high-fibre toast and two tablespoons of beans. But also bearing in mind that these vegetable can lead to gyanecomastia or subfertility in males due to the phyto-oestrogens.
4. Red yeast rice
Red yeast rice is a substance that’s extracted from rice that’s been fermented with a type of yeast called Monascus purpureus. It’s been used in China and other Asian countries for centuries as a traditional medicine. It’s also used as a food coloring, additive, and preservative. It contains several ingredients that control cholesterol levels including a number of monacolins, most importantly monacolin K which is the equivalent of lovastain - a well-known drug that reduces cholesterol. It also contains sterols, isoflavones, and monounsaturated fatty acids. Studies have shown that red yeast rice can significantly lower levels of total cholesterol and specifically LDL. One showed that taking 2.4 grams per day of red yeast rice reduced LDL levels by 22% and total cholesterol by 16% in 12 weeks. Another study showed that taking 1.2 grams per day lowered LDL levels by 26% in just eight weeks.
Garlic not only gives flavour to food, there is also some evidence that it can reduce LDL for 6 months and at the same time contains anti-oxidants that prevents cancer in the long run. But patients with gout should not be taking it.
6. Red wine
Recent studies have shown that HDL is increased with alcohol consumption by
increasing the transport rate of apolipoproteins A-I and A-II.
Meat choice: White meat such as chicken breast, turkey meat
(breast meat contains lowest percentage of fats)
avoid red meat when you eat at home or on a regular bassis, so that you can eat them during your quest for great food
Consume skimmed milk/non-fat instead of full cream milk
Choose wholemeal/muti-grain bread instead of plain white bread
Version of cooking: steamed, to get more flavours use garlic (but remember to chop off the brown end which could be carcinogenic when consumed!)
Please refrain from snacking or eating supper. Best to maintain 2-3 meals a day with appropriate proportions of food on each levels of the food pyramid.
Recommendation to have yearly check up on cholesterol levels and if you are below the age of 40, you can try my recommendation, but one has to have enough discipline to maintain this kind of diet.
Another great news is that even if you are diagnosed with dyslipidemia, you do not have to give up on good food anymore: that is if you comply to this diet regime that I have just recommended together with the medications prescribed by your physicians.