Although most of us are well aware of the need to lead a healthy lifestyle by eating right and exercising regularly, sometimes we often delay making the necessary changes until warning signs that our health might begin to deteriorate start emerging. One such problem is elevated cholesterol levels, which have been linked with higher risk for heart disease. Despite the fact that high cholesterol can be treated with appropriate medication, making a series of behavioral changes and adopting is still recommended.
Those who are looking for ways to make a style change will also addressing the problem of high cholesterol levels might benefit from following the portfolio diet plan. David J.A. Jenkins, MD, the creator of this diet, encourages people to see his guidelines as an investment in lower cholesterol, in cholesterol lowering foods rather than a diet plan. Compared typical low fat diets, this revolutionary diet is a lot more efficient at lowering the cholesterol levels. Some studies even indicate that the diet is as effective as a low dose of statin, a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol over the course of one month, lowering cholesterol by one third. Moreover, the diet also seems to lower blood sugar levels and to decrease inflammation.
The portfolio diet is a vegetarian one to avoid saturated fats as much as possible. Although not designed as a weight loss plan, this diet can help people lose a few pounds, especially if a consumption of foods high in saturated fats and processed foods is the main culprit for weight gain. With a little bit of guidance from a nutritionist, this diet plan can be used for weight loss.
The diet plan combines four main guidelines, which have proven to be effective for stabilizing cholesterol levels. Firstly, meat is substituted with soy based foods. Secondly, the diet encourages the consumption of high fiber foods, up to 20 grams of fiber daily. Oatmeal, oat bran, barley, eggplants or beans are a few good choices. Fiber supplements can also be used.
Thirdly, the diet plan includes nuts, about 30 grams a day. For a 2000 calorie diet eating about 30 almonds daily is recommended. Rich in monounsaturated fat, vitamin E and fiber, almonds and other types of nuts have proven to be beneficial in preserving the heath of the cardiovascular system. Last but not least, the diet also endorses plant sterols, which are also known as “phytosterols”. These phytochemicals are naturally found in corn oil, squash or soybean oil in small quantities. Dr Jenkins recommends the using plant sterol enrich margarine for a more pronounced effect.
Although it might seem limited in terms of food choices, especially for meat lovers, this amazing diet won’t leave you felling hungry. Since it is rich in proteins and sticky fibers, you won’t feel be left feeling hungry. Another benefit worth mentioning is that unlike other diets that are designed to help lower cholesterol levels, this diet does not decrease the levels of HDL cholesterol which is “good cholesterol”. The importance of regular exercise is also well recognized. 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise are recommended on a daily basis.
If you are struggling with high levels of cholesterol, discussing the option to start this diet plan with your doctor is advisable. Not only you will be able to determine whether or not you need to take cholesterol lowering medication but you might also find out about possible interactions with other types of medication.
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