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Better Diet, Better Cholesterol Profile

A recent study suggests that a change in diet may supersede the need for cholesterol-lowering medication. The drawback for some and the plus for others (depending on your eating habits) may be the necessary inclusion of tofu and oatmeal in the diet.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and headed up by Dr. Cyril Kendall and David Jenkins of the University of Toronto, included 55 middle-aged women and men. Members of the research group, already following a healthy diet, were told to include specific foods such as tofu and other soy foods, raw almonds, oatmeal, barley, okra, eggplant and plant sterol-enriched margarine. Those who faithfully followed the newly prescribed diet lowered their cholesterol by an average of 29 percent after one year. Other participants who did not follow the diet as strictly as others still lowered their cholesterol by 10 percent to 20 percent.

If you're not used to eating healthy, you may have trouble adhering to this type of diet, which also includes low-fat dairy products, smaller portions of lean meat and skinless poultry, and substituting soy products for meat as much as possible. However, as you can see from the results, the benefits are substantial. For more information on healthy eating, visit


Kendall C, Jenkins D, Faulkner D, et al. Assessment of the longer-term effects of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods in hypercholesterolemia. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2006; 83:582-591.


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