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Plant-Based Diets and Your Cholesterol

A plant-based diet can greatly benefit your heart. It may help lower your cholesterol levels, as well as your chance of one day developing heart disease.

“What’s really cool is that the more plants you eat, the more you’re able to embrace a vegan-style diet, and the quicker you’ll get those positive effects,” Registered Dietitian and Nutrition said Libby Mills, a spokeswoman for the Dietetic Society.

A plant-based diet may mean that you eat mostly food from plants, but still eat some food from animals. You don’t have to be completely vegetarian (avoid all meat, fish, and poultry) or vegan (avoid anything from animals, including eggs and dairy). But you can do it if you want; just be careful to get all the nutrients you need.

The key is to eat a variety of heart-healthy plant foods such as:

  • Fruit and Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans and Lentils
  • Non-tropical Liquid Oil

Plant-Based Health Perks

“What we do know is that both saturated fat and dietary cholesterol help raise blood cholesterol levels,” said Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., RDN, Evan Pugh University, Penn State professor of nutritional sciences and American Heart Association member. That’s why cutting out foods like fatty meat can help lower cholesterol.

Eating more fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes can also lower your numbers, she says.

“We should be getting 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day,” adds Mills. “A quarter of that should come from soluble fiber,” which includes foods like apples, blueberries, beans, nuts and seeds. Eating about 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber a day can help lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, by 5 to 11 points, and sometimes more, says Mills.

Whole grains or plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables also contain healthy substances called sterols. “Eating 2 grams of sterols a day can help lower your LDL cholesterol by 5 to 10 percent,” she says.

Is one diet better for cholesterol?

You may be wondering if a certain diet could give you a cholesterol-lowering advantage. For example, is it best to be a traditional vegetarian? Or is a vegan diet better for your heart?

This may depend on you and your health. Some people can see benefits from a vegetarian or vegan diet, Kris-Etherton said. But many people can improve their health by including a nutritious ani diet

“I’m a big advocate of seafood,” says Kris-Etherton. “It has all sorts of health benefits. So eating more plant-based foods and seafood is really, really healthy.”

Low-fat or fat-free dairy can also be part of a nutritious meal plan part, she said.

Plant based traps

Just because a food is suitable for a plant-based diet doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you.

Kris-Etherton recommends reducing:

  • Ultra-processed foods, usually in bags or boxes
  • Tropical oils such as coconut, palm and palm kernel oils
  • sugary foods, Include honey

When you buy packaged food, please check Label. For example, your favorite plant-based ice cream may be high in coconut oil, coconut fat and sugar, Kris-Etherton says.

Eating or drinking too many refined ice cream carbs, like soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, may raise blood lipid levels called triglycerides — which can increase Raise your total cholesterol.

Also avoid foods that contain trans fats, which increase “bad” cholesterol while lowering HDL, or “good” cholesterol, she says. You can find trans fats in:

  • Margarine
  • shortened
  • processed snacks
  • baked goods
  • Foodstuffs made with hydrogenated oils
Talk to an expert

If you decide to start a plant-based eating plan , do your research to make sure you’re getting a complete, balanced diet. You may also want to talk to a registered dietitian.

“A nutritionist will be able to make sure you’re getting the right amount of calories,” says Mills. “But perhaps more importantly, when you start switching food choices, a dietitian will help ensure that you meet your nutritional needs. This will cover protein and nutrients, and if you eat more plant-based foods, the following foods you consume the greater the risk: B-12, iron, zinc, [or] omega-3 fatty acids.”

If you have a medical condition, please consult your doctor before Eating habits were overhauled and completely vegetarian. They can make sure it’s safe.

“Anyone with a medical condition should first ask their doctor if they are following a whole plant-based diet and see what the doctor has to say,” advises Chris Etherton.

“People with kidney disease must be careful because they must be careful about potassium in their diet, which is rich in fruits and vegetables. Also, people who take coumarin (a blood thinner) You have to be very careful when eating foods rich in vitamin K—all these leafy greens are high in vitamin K,” she said.



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