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Bran, Cinnamon, Vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids

How To Control Cholesterol Numbers by Natural Means


By —— Bio and Archives--December 23, 2007

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“Why don’t you take my advice and start cholesterol-lowering drugs? You quote the expression in your column that “he who treats himself has a fool for a patient.’ And that’s exactly what you’re doing!” My cardiologist believes I’m making a huge mistake by saying no to cholesterol-lowering drugs.

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I start the day with the right breakfast. Not a Tim Horton doughnut and a cup of coffee. A report from The Mayo Clinic suggests oatmeal and oat bran. These soluble fibers reduce low density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol, by binding with bile (which contains cholesterol). So rather than being absorbed from the intestines, cholesterol is excreted by the bowel.

You say you don’t like oat bran. I don’t either. But by adding a banana or other fruit it’s quite palatable. Remember, to live longer it’s sometimes necessary to do what you don’t like and you have to make a choice! 

I also add a half a spoonful of cinnamon to toast. Researchers at the Nutrition Research Center report that this amount of cinnamon decreases bad cholesterol by 20 percent.

Linus Pauling, two-time Noble Prize winner advised me years ago to add vitamin C to my breakfast routine. So a flat teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder (vitamin C) goes into my orange juice. This provides 5,000 milligrams of C. that increases the rate of removal of cholesterol from the blood. It does this by converting cholesterol into bile acids that are excreted from the bowel. I also add this amount of vitamin C to my evening meal.

Studies in the 1970s showed that Greenland Eskimos had a lower rate of heart disease than others living in Greenland at the same time. Later studies showed that the Eskimos consumed less saturated fat and more omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, whale and seal meat.

Omega-3 fatty acids help to lower blood triglyceride. They are also beneficial to the heart by decreasing the risk of blood clots. That’s why it’s prudent to have three meals of fish every week. But you don’t have to hunt for whale or seal meat. Sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon, albacore tuna and lake trout also have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

During the course of the day while writing this column I reach for nuts. Dr David Jenkins, Director of Clinical Nutrition at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, advises a handful of almonds every day.

Jenkins studied 27 men with high cholesterol for three months. He reports that two handfuls of almonds daily reduced LDL by 9.4 percent. It also resulted in improvements in lowering total cholesterol and raising high density lipoproteins (HDL, the good Cholesterol) that remove excess cholesterol from the blood. He says that a handful of almonds daily will decrease the risk of a cardiovascular event by 18 percent.

Almonds are also rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids which help to keep blood vessels soft and elastic. Remember nuts are high in calories, but if you eat sensibly there’s no need to gain weight on nuts.

Mayo Clinic researchers report that foods fortified by sterols and stanols can block the absorption of cholesterol. These substances found in plants and in products such as margarine and orange juice can lower LDL by 10 percent.

At the end of the day I add a glass of red wine to boost HDL. It’s also my treat for eating oat bran in the morning! Red wine also decreases the formation of endothelium-1, a chemical that makes coronary arteries less likely to constrict causing angina. And by making blood platelets (part of the blood clotting system) slippery, there’s less chance of a fatal blood clot. But only use this part of the prescription if you drink moderately.

Many other remedies are available for treating cholesterol. But there’s a limit to the number it’s reasonable to try. After all, there’s more to life than cholesterol.

As for my cardiologist, he may be right that I have a fool for a patient. But I prefer to take my chance on natural ways to control blood cholesterol. I think history will prove me right.

But remember this is my personal opinion and you must follow your own doctor’s advice on this matter.


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Dr. Gifford Jones -- Bio and Archives | Comments

W. Gifford-Jones M.D is the pen name of Dr. Ken Walker graduate of Harvard. Dr. Walker’s website is: Docgiff.com

My book, “90 + How I Got There” can be obtained by sending $19.95 to:
Giff Holdings, 525 Balliol St, Unit # 6,Toronto, Ontario, M4S 1E1

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