The best diet to help lower your cholesterol

High cholesterol is a growing problem in the U.S., affecting roughly 73.5 million Americans. Worse yet, less than one out of every three adults have their condition under control.

High cholesterol is described as having elevated levels of LDL cholesterol levels, commonly referred to as the “bad” one due to the fact that it can narrow and clog arteries.

Statins are often prescribed as a means to lower cholesterol, but less than half of American adults are being treated with statins, and those who are often miss dosages and don’t fully adhere to their treatment plan.

Doctors often recommend dietary changes as a way to lower cholesterol. And one diet has ranked supreme as it has been found to actually remove cholesterol from the body.

Mediterranean diet found best to reduce high cholesterol

You may have been hearing more and more about the Mediterranean diet – its health benefits have been making headlines as of late. The American Heart Association (AHA) has now recommended this diet for cholesterol reduction.

In the study, participants who were at high risk of heart disease followed one of three diets: Mediterranean diet with four tablespoons of olive oil, Mediterranean diet with a handful of nuts each day, and a control diet that focused on lowering intake of unhealthy foods. The Mediterranean diet stresses the consumption of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and fish, nuts, olive oil, legumes, and whole grains.

Both groups on the Mediterranean diet saw improvements in their cholesterol levels, but the benefits were greater in the olive oil group. More specifically, those who consumed extra olive oil experienced a process known as reverse cholesterol transport, meaning that cholesterol was actually removed from the plaque in the arteries and transported to the liver.

Additionally, the diet helps promote the relaxation of blood vessels, improving the blood flow and this way helping reduce the risk of heart disease.

The researchers speculate that the olive oil-based diet is more effective than the nut-based diet due to the antioxidants in the oil.

So, if you’re looking for a natural way to improve your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease, then adhering to the Mediterranean style of eating is a good place to start. If changing your diet completely is a bit difficult at first, you may want to begin incorporating more olive oil into your diet.

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