The Best Diet for High Cholesterol Levels

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Cholesterol
Last Reviewed 02/14/2014

The Best Diet for High Cholesterol Levels

To Lower High Cholesterol Levels, Switch to the Pan-Asian Mediterranean Diet

The number one way I know of to lower your high cholesterol levels is to eat well. But what type of diet is best if you’re trying to achieve optimal cholesterol levels?

I’m a big believer in what I call the Pan-Asian Mediterranean (PAM) diet —a combination of the diet followed by the people on the Greek island of Crete (also known as the Mediterranean diet) and a diet common among people living on the Asian side of the Pacific Rim.

The Cretan diet is a “primitive” diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fresh fish, various kinds of beans, monounsaturated olive oil, and sauces occasionally flavored with some lamb, turkey, or chicken. The diet favored around the Pacific Rim is bountiful with fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, locally harvested seaweeds, and soy products and can help lower high cholesterol levels.

What makes both of these diets so beneficial to cardiovascular health in general is that they are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fats. And what makes them particularly good at lowering high cholesterol levels is that they are both high in fiber.

Soluble fiber helps prevent the absorption of cholesterol. It essentially soaks cholesterol up into a gelatin-like form, which your body can’t absorb, and insoluble fiber helps to cleanse the colon and decrease the transit time through the intestines, so more cholesterol is eliminated.

On my PAM diet, you’ll get plenty of both of these types of cholesterol-lowering fiber—at least 30 grams per day. 

VIDEO: Dr. Sinatra Debunks the Great Cholesterol Myth! What You Really Need to Know to Protect Your Heart

More Dr. Sinatra Advice on Lowering Cholesterol Through Diet

Want an easy way to get more cholesterol-lowering fiber into your diet? Discover how juicing can help lower your cholesterol levels.

Which specific foods can help lower your cholesterol levels? Read about the foods that will improve your cholesterol levels the most.

What three simple dietary changes can you make to lower your cholesterol levels? Learn three ways to change your daily eating that will lower your cholesterol in just four weeks.

What type of dietary fat wreaks the most havoc on your cholesterol levels? Find out how trans fats both lower your “good” HDL cholesterol and raise your “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Read questions and answers about cholesterol.

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