Best Foods To Manage Cholesterol

April 22, 2024

Cholesterol management is one of the main reasons client seek us out and our food choices DO have an impact on our cholesterol levels. But it’s often not in the way most people think! There’s been a lot of controversy over the last 70 years about WHICH foods to eat or avoid to maintain healthy cholesterol. What are the true culprits we look for when it comes to high cholesterol levels? And what foods and nutrients can you focus on instead if you’d like to try diet modifications before medication? Tune in to this episode for examples of real food swaps for healthy hearts from our dietitians.

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LEAH: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. We are a small Minnesota company with the big goal of spreading the real food message and helping people draw the connection between what they eat and how they feel. I'm Leah Kleinschrodt, a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And today I'm here with Teresa Wagner to talk about some of the best foods to manage your cholesterol.

TERESA: Well, it's great to be here again with you, Leah.

LEAH: Yes.

TERESA: The topic of high cholesterol and how to prevent it or how to lower it is alive and well in our society today. If you had to take a guess, Leah, how often do you think you talk with a client about their cholesterol numbers?

LEAH: Yeah, that's a great question. I mean, so on our health questionnaire and in our charting notes, there is a section where either we or our clients can fill out recent or past cholesterol numbers. So I'd say we usually have these numbers on our radar for the majority of our clients. But as for how often are we making cholesterol levels like the priority talking point and creating a specific eating plan to address cholesterol at an appointment, it's usually at least weekly. What do you say?

TERESA: Yeah, I would say about weekly, you know, it seems like it really ebbs and flows. Sometimes I feel like everybody is cholesterol and then sometimes it takes a little break for a while, but I would say on average it's definitely a weekly topic. Of course, you know, we talk about weight management quite a bit, but cholesterol management is one of those front runners as to why clients seek us out.

Most of the time the conversation starts something like this: “I got my blood work done a month ago and my cholesterol levels were high. And I was told I need to take a statin. I'd rather avoid medication if I can. So I want to see if changing my diet will help.”

And generally what I hear from my clients too is that their doctor will say, sure, let's go ahead and then we'll retest in a couple of months. So I think the medical profession is on board with diet having an impact. I do think it's interesting that aside from weight management, cholesterol is an area in the health sphere that almost universally is accepted as being impacted by our food choices. That's not so much the case when we're talking about things like sleep or moods or fertility or joint pain or brain health, but that's a rant for another day, right, Leah?

LEAH: I'm sure we'll talk about more of that on a different episode. And that line of thought is not wrong. Our food choices do have an impact on our cholesterol levels, but it's often not in the way most people think. Thanks to Ancel Keys and his research back in the 1950s and the 1960s, there's been a lot of controversy over the last 70-ish years about which foods to eat or to avoid to maintain healthy cholesterol. You know, it was Keys that first pointed the finger of blame at fat and cholesterol in our foods for creating high cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. And that has just been a hard message to shake ever since.

TERESA: Right. I mean, it makes a lot of logical sense.

LEAH: Yeah. Our brains want to make that logical connection between point A and point B.

TERESA: Right. I eat cholesterol, Therefore my cholesterol goes up. However, what might be logical is not always biological, right?

LEAH: I love that saying. Yes.

TERESA: Some of the questions I get in counseling or when I'm teaching go a little like this: “Can I eat the whole egg or should I eat only the egg white? Doesn't red meat cause heart disease? Should I forego meat altogether and eat entirely plant based? Shouldn't I be choosing 0 percent fat yogurt and cottage cheese? Do I need to switch out butter for margarine?

So there are a lot of those questions and those are a lot of things that we've been told for a very long time. For our listeners out there, have you ever asked yourself or maybe referred to Dr. Google?

LEAH: Yeah.

TERESA: With some of those same questions.

LEAH: Yep. Yep. Those all sound very familiar and it is so ingrained in us to jump right to the eggs and the red meat when we start looking at high cholesterol numbers. And you know, if someone really loves and enjoys ground turkey and chicken breasts in their cooking instead of using ground pork or ground beef, I think that's great.

What we don't want for people to feel like is that they can't have a steak or they can't use ground beef in their chili or they can't eat two hard boiled eggs at a snack because it then it turns them into a ticking time bomb for having a heart attack.

TERESA: Yeah, it can definitely be scary to get that blood work from your doctor and see the red lettering in those red flags or exclamation marks by your total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol numbers. It is easy to slide into that ticking time bomb mentality. Like, oh my goodness, am I going to die? Am I going to have a heart attack? Right? I mean, it's, it's really scary. It's maybe they should put it in a different color. I mean, not red.

LEAH: Yeah. I don't know. Sounds like a, sounds like a, an up the chain decision.

Ultra processed foods: one culprit for high cholesterol levels

TERESA: But what are the true culprits we look for when it comes to high cholesterol levels? When I sit down with a client and do some digging, one of the first things I'm looking for are fake foods; foods that don't look like anything found in nature. We call these ultra processed foods. Think cereal, bread, soda, sugary coffee and energy drinks, crackers, chips, frozen meals, pizza, French fries, chicken nuggets, or fried and breaded meats, meat alternatives fruit on the bottom yogurt, coffee creamers, and more. I mean, the list goes on and on and on, right?

LEAH: Yeah, there's it's there's something it's like 70 percent of items in the grocery store fall into that ultra processed category. It is the majority of what's out on the food landscape and I agree these ultra processed foods are absolutely the first layer.

These are foods that are going to have an ingredients list that's a whole paragraph long. And of those ingredients that's on that package, I think two things are especially troublesome for cholesterol levels. And that is the refined carbohydrates and the seed oils. So what's the connection here?

Well, so let's actually look at the refined carbohydrates first. This would be things like wheat flour. corn flour, cornmeal, rice flour, oat flour, and out of those, like, the big one's wheat flour. That's probably the most ubiquitous one in our food supply. I think about these refined carbohydrates… as you take the original grain kernel, so you think about that weed kernel, you run it through a machine that just pulverizes it into smithereens.

And so the work that our digestive system would do to break down that kernel and to really process it into something digestible, like that…

TERESA: Like our mouth to chew it.

LEAH: Yeah, like our mouth and our stomach and stomach acid and our, all of our enzymes, you know, that work is now outsourced to the machine. So what's left after it goes through that machine is this flour or this starch that takes almost no effort for our body to digest.

TERESA: Yeah. I mean, just think about if you take a bite and we've probably all had the experience of eating white bread. Take a bite of plain white bread, let it sit in your mouth. What happens to that piece of white bread? It dissolves in your mouth, right? I mean, you don't even have to chew it because like you said, the machine did it for you.

LEAH: Yep. Absolutely. Yeah. That's a great example. You think popcorn, you think, the bread or like a cracker or something like that very easily just kind of melts in your mouth type of situation. Yeah. So our body and our digestive tract don't have to really spend a lot of energy breaking these foods down. When we strip off a lot of the outer layers of the those grains, now we're taking a lot of the nutrients out as well.

So by the time we get those foods in that bread package or that cracker package, they've had B vitamins put back into them, but that's because otherwise we would get deficient in B vitamins real quick if we were really relying on those things without B vitamins.

TERESA: And how do they get the B vitamins into…?

LEAH: You know, yeah, that's a great question. And I don't know a hundred percent for sure. I thought I remember somewhere reading that it's more like they actually spray it on.

TERESA: Spray it on. Yeah. That's what I've heard too, which that doesn't sound like the way, I don't know, does that sound like the way you want to get your nutrients; sprayed on?

LEAH: Right. Exactly. So it's, again, when we think about what's being done to our food before it even hits our plate, like we can look at that through the lens of, okay, is this real food that my body is like, is that's going to do good things with it? Or has it been stripped of nutrients and really degraded into it's in a very simple form.

TERESA: Yeah, just manufactured foods.

LEAH: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Yes. And so then when we eat these kind of starches or these flours, these refined carbohydrates, and we eat these in abundance, which is easy to do, we get a lot of glucose coming into the bloodstream very quickly. And then our body, in all its inherent wisdom, we have to pump out a lot of insulin to clear that glucose from the bloodstream and get it into our cells.

But high insulin levels over time increase our triglyceride levels. So you'll see that triglyceride number if you ever have a lipid panel or a cholesterol panel done. They lower our HDL cholesterol, which is typically what we think about as the good cholesterol. And high insulin also shifts our LDL cholesterol into these small dense little particles that actually harm our blood vessels.

TERESA: So say in the name of heart health for breakfast, you are choosing a bowl of cereal with skim milk, a glass of orange juice and a banana. And I will say I've had this breakfast.

LEAH: Oh yeah. Same.

TERESA: If we add up the carbohydrates in that meal, let's say it's one and three quarter cups of multigrain O's cereal, which has 32 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of fiber, 1 cup of skim milk that has 12 grams of carbohydrates, 6 ounces of orange juice, which has 19.5 grams of carbohydrate, and a small banana that has about 20 grams of carbohydrate and 2 grams of fiber, that gets us to 83.5 grams of carbohydrates or 20.8 teaspoons of sugar in that one meal. It also gets us 5 grams of fiber.

But that is a lot of carbohydrates and a lot of insulin to deal with all those carbohydrates. And if we do this kind of breakfast day after day, because it's tasty, of course, and repetition is easy; over time, we start to push those cholesterol levels in an unfavorable direction.

LEAH: That's incredible. That's almost 21 teaspoons of sugar just in one meal. Like that's how some people start their day. And oftentimes in our classes, we'll show our students what 20 or 21 teaspoons of sugar looks like either in a container or a baggie. And then you might follow it up with a question that would be like, would you ever sit down and spoon 20 teaspoons of sugar into your mouth and call that breakfast?

And usually we get like the deer in the headlights, but just that shake of the head, like, oh, no, I would never actually do that. And so I think it opens people's eyes a little bit and helps them just think differently about where these kinds of carbohydrates are coming in, in their diet.

And just to compare, throw out a comparison number for our listeners, long time listeners will probably know this, but for anyone a little bit newer, we typically recommend about 30 grams of carbohydrates at a meal, which breaks down to seven and a half teaspoons of sugar. So 30 versus 83; there's a big, a big difference there, a big discrepancy. And so we also, it's not just about how many carbs we're eating. It is also about the quality of those carbohydrates.

Quality of carbohydrate intake matters

TERESA: Right? What can we substitute in place of these refined carbohydrates? What falls into that category of quality carbohydrates? My mind goes to carbohydrates that are slower to digest and give us more nutrient bang for our buck. The top choice is vegetables, full of fiber to slow down digestion and the rise of our blood sugar and full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that reduce inflammation.

So think colorful bell peppers, leafy greens like spinach and kale and arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, snap peas, and tomatoes. Even the starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, red potatoes, butternut squash, onions, and parsnips are wonderful. They give us a little bump in our blood sugar without throwing it into overdrive.

LEAH: Yeah. And those are all great examples. I'll throw fruits into this category as well in terms of those quality carbohydrates. Berries are well known nutritional powerhouses, but think about melons and apples, peaches, kiwi; clementines have been a big hit at our house. Apparently my two year old daughter just loves clementines and I never knew until they she had them at my grandma and grandpa's house one day.

TERESA: Oh, really? Clementines are a hit with kids because they're so easy to peel.

LEAH: Yeah. It's just, well, those are one of the things that never frequented our house enough that we exposed our kids to it a lot. And it turns out my daughter really loves them. So any of those things fall into that category of quality carbohydrates. So if we imagine that breakfast scenario that you gave us just a minute ago, Teresa, let's put a different base in that bowl. Say we use something a little higher in protein and healthy fats.

So like a plain Greek yogurt or a whole milk cottage cheese. And then in the bowl of yogurt, you could add three quarters cups of raspberries and top it with a quarter cup of maybe some sliced almonds or pumpkin seeds. And there's your crunch factor. I've had some clients who like to do more of a savory take on a bowl of cottage cheese.

So maybe they do the cottage cheese as the base in the bowl. And then they add slices of cucumbers and cherry tomatoes or red bell pepper slices in there. Top it with the quarter cup of some pumpkin seeds or some sliced olives, sprinkle some salt and pepper, maybe like a little dill for more of a savory type of herb. And just that works really well for them as well.

Water, coffee, a cup of green or herbal tea, that's a nice kind of accompaniment for a breakfast that would be a nice substitution instead of an orange juice, something higher in carbohydrate like that. So one cup of whole milk Greek yogurt is five grams of carbohydrates.

3 quarters cups raspberries is 10 and a half grams of carbohydrates and that's 6 grams of fiber right there. So even just the raspberries in and of themselves have more fiber than that whole breakfast that you mentioned, Teresa. And a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds is 3 grams of carbohydrates with 2 grams of fiber.

So then now we have a total of 18 and a half grams of carbohydrates, which is just a little four and a half teaspoons of sugar for that kind of breakfast. Again, that is a huge difference that 18 and a half grams of carbohydrates versus 83 grams of carbohydrates in the cereal, juice, banana breakfast.

And I can guarantee that people feel differently when you compare these breakfasts also. One is going to leave you feeling more sluggish, just low energy, foggy, and craving sugar by 10 a. m. And the other is going to leave you feeling more clear headed, steady, and feeling like you can be productive with your day.

TERESA: Yeah. And I don't know if you've had this client, but before we really get into the specifics of what people are going to eat, a lot of times they'll say, well, I skip breakfast because if I have breakfast, I'm worse off than if I don't have breakfast. And that usually leads to the question of, well, what are you eating?

LEAH: Yeah. What would you be choosing for breakfast if you were eating it?

TERESA: Yeah. And it is, yes, exactly. And it usually is that high carbohydrate breakfast because it metabolizes so quickly through our system. And like you said, sluggish, low energy, foggy; because we just don't have any fuel left. We've run out.

LEAH: We’ve crashed and burned at that point.

Fiber helps maintain desirable cholesterol levels

TERESA: Yeah. I also just want to make note of that eight grams of fiber from the Greek yogurt breakfast will be a crucial part for helping maintain desirable cholesterol levels. A study published in the Journal of Nutrients in 2019 stated that soluble and insoluble dietary fibers in whole foods have multiple non nutritive health effects that help improve the lipoprotein profiles.

LEAH: That's a bit of a mouthful.

TERESA: In other words, there are several mechanisms through which eating fiber helps cholesterol levels. The data consistently show that the more fiber a person eats, the lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

LEAH: Yeah, it's a great thing to point out. It's not only about what we're taking out from the diet in the form of those refined carbohydrates and ultra processed foods. It is also about what's being added in when we make some of these substitutions. In this instance, we are adding in fiber and antioxidants. Vegetables and fruits are great ways to add in fiber. So are all the different types of nuts and seeds like the pumpkin seeds we mentioned in, in some of those previous examples.

A quarter cup of almonds will have four grams of fiber. A quarter cup of pistachios has three grams of fiber. Same thing with pecans. A quarter cup of sunflower seeds has three grams of fiber. And then thinking about chia seeds and ground flax seeds, these are some easy add ins as well. A tablespoon of chia seeds has three grams of fiber.

Two tablespoons of ground flax seeds also has three grams of fiber and these, they make for a wonderful fiber boost in a protein smoothie mixed into something like the yogurt or the cottage cheese, or if you're making a chia seed pudding. And just to kind of wrap up that thought, the recommended fiber intake for adults is 25 grams per day for women and 30 grams per day for men.

So we do have to take a quick break. We will get to more cholesterol talk and fiber talk on the other side of break, but you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I am Leah Kleinschrodt, along with Teresa Wagner, and we are your hosts for this episode, covering some of the important things we can do to improve our cholesterol numbers, and we'll be back in a moment.


TERESA: And we're back. You are listening to our Dishing Up Nutrition weekly podcast. Before we went to break, we were talking about how fiber is so important for heart health. But before we jump straight back into our conversation, I wanted to let our listeners know that we will be offering another round of our popular 12-week Nutrition for Weight Loss Foundation series starting the week of May 14th.

We will be hosting classes at all six of our Twin Cities locations, and we will be hosting one virtual session on Wednesdays at 12 PM central time, starting on May 15th. All classes will start at 6 PM central time, except for the virtual session I mentioned.

So there will still be plenty of sunshine to enjoy in the evening after class on those longer summer nights. While we don't delve deep into high cholesterol specifically in this series, so many of the things we're talking about in this show are covered, like blood sugar balance and insulin resistance, ideas on how to make veggies simple and tasty so you'll want to eat them, and finding those sneaky hidden sugars in our diet.

This series can be taken with or without a one on one counseling session. So you can get the support you need in the way that suits you and your budget. If you're interested in learning more about this series, or if you have questions, visit our website, or call our offices at 651-699-3438.

Sign Up for Nutrition 4 Weight Loss Foundations

All right, Leah. So let's get back to talking about the cholesterol topic today. And we left off talking about nuts and seeds and the fiber they contain, but they also are great sources of healthy fats.

LEAH: Yep.

Which fats harm heart health?

TERESA: And so if we go back to an earlier point that we made in our show, there are certain kinds of fats that can help our heart health. And there are certain fats that can harm our heart health. The fats that tend to harm our heart health are the refined seed oils we mentioned earlier.

Think about oils like canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower seed oil, cottonseed oil, or if you ever see the umbrella term vegetable oil, which usually is a mix of two or more oils that I just mentioned. These oils, they've been heated and chemically treated to the point that the fats are damaged and rancid. During this processing, the oils are also stripped of many of their beneficial nutrients like vitamin E and the phenols.

LEAH: Yeah, and so these oils then drive up inflammation in the body, which increases our overall risk of heart disease. And not coincidentally, these oils are the main oils used in ultra processed foods. And ultra processed foods now make up 60 percent of the American diet. So it's not the tablespoon of soybean oil or canola oil every now and again that's creating the problem. It's that these seed oils have taken over the majority of the fats that people eat. And they're contributing to our issues with heart disease and just chronic disease in general.

Eat healthy fats for many aspects of health

So when we sit down with clients or when we're teaching in classes, we help our clients start to take back their health by encouraging them to cook at home and use olive oil, avocado oil, grass fed butter, or maybe ghee even. We recommend getting full fat dairy products, eating avocados and olives, and working in those different types of nuts and seeds.

These types of fatty foods will contain nutrients important for reducing inflammation and helping our heart health and our cholesterol levels. These are things like that vitamin E or things like magnesium and even vitamin A.

Omega-3 fats reduce inflammation & balance cholesterol

TERESA: And we can't forget about the healthy omega-3 fats that we get from fatty fish and we get a little bit of some of that from nuts like walnuts as well and flax seeds. The omega-3 fatty acids are especially helpful in lowering triglyceride levels and raising HDL levels. Think of the SMASH fish when we're trying to remember which fish are high in omega-3s. It's salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring. So I have salmon very regularly at my house. It's one that everybody in my family likes, so it's always a hit.

And I always feel good about having it for dinner. And so recently I had salmon and broccoli and blueberries and it's simple. It's delicious. I make rice for my kids because they like to have that starch with it. Sometimes I do sweet potatoes for myself. It's a great food, but if you notice what's in that, it's simple, but it's very colorful and full of those nutrients we're talking about. We've got omega-3’s, we've got the fiber, we've got the polyphenols. So it's all that good stuff that's great for our heart health.

LEAH: I'm so happy for you that everybody in your family, that's one of the things that it just, it's a winner, it's a win all around for the whole family.

TERESA: And I think this is, when I tell people that I'm like, I think this is unusual that everybody in our family likes fish, but I am recognizing how great this is.

LEAH: Yeah. You count your wins.

TERESA: Yeah. And it's easy to make. Fish is one of the easiest things to make. I find that a lot of people are intimidated by fish. But give it a shot because it really is very easy.

LEAH: Yeah. Well, and to that point, I am one of those people, I think cooking fish, especially just even overcoming that hurdle to do it the first time, like that was very intimidating for me because that was something we didn't really grow up with in my household. And I would say too, in my household, we don't do fish as much as I would like to necessarily, but I do love to bring salmon into the rotation every now and again.

And I always make it a point when I'm cooking salmon to cook multiple fillet sections so that it doesn't mean I have to cook it again to have it, I have leftovers. We cook it once for dinner during the week and then I'll have it for lunch a couple of times. So I might get it in three times a week and one week, but it might not come around again for another month.

I keep it simple, like a little olive oil, maybe some lemon juice in there, just a general seasoning blend over the top and I bake it in the oven typically. And for a long time, I made the mistake of overcooking the fish. I would roast it or bake it in the oven for like 20 minutes, 25 minutes. And then I don't remember where I heard this. It was somebody on the internet. They were like, don't ever roast your salmon or bake your salmon for more than 10 or 11 minutes. Especially if you have those smaller individual fillets and game changer like that, but it just made a huge difference in just the texture and the experience of that whole fish dinner.

TERESA: Yeah. And as you're learning to make fish too, it's one that's really easy to check. So if you make like a chicken breast or a steak, you have to cut into it to, to check to see if it's done. But with fish, if it's done, it just kind of flakes apart very easily. And if it's not flaking apart very easily, well, then it's probably not done. And if it does flake, but it's still, it's not opaque yet, then just a little longer. But just a little longer. Yeah. Not 10 minutes.

LEAH: Yeah. Not 10 minutes longer. Like probably another minute or two. Right?


LEAH: Yeah. That's a great tip as well. And so for me and my husband at home too, because we don't eat fatty fish on a super regular basis, or at least consistently enough, I do supplement with our Nutrikey Omega-3 1000 supplement. For me personally, I find it just makes a difference in my knee pain that I have and my knee aches and just some of those joint aches.

TERESA: I definitely think that omega-3’s through fish or through a supplement are the first line of defense for helping to reduce inflammation in general, and then to also balance those cholesterol levels.

We typically recommend 3000-4000 of the omega-3’s per day to get that anti-inflammatory effect and the cholesterol benefits. But sometimes that LDL cholesterol doesn't want to come down as much as we would like through food changes alone.

Targeted cholesterol balancing supplement considerations

Or sometimes people get a little more peace of mind when they're having a targeted cholesterol supplement on board in addition to eating well. With that being said, Leah, do you have some favorites that you like to use with your clients?

LEAH: Mm hmm. Yeah, you know actually my favorite supplement for cholesterol got discontinued in the pandemic craze. But luckily we already had the building blocks of that supplement on our shelves. So now we just have to do a little mixing and matching. The three components of that were in that supplement are berberine, bergamot and plant sterols. And so we're just going to talk a little bit about each of those. You know, some people out there may recognize the name berberine.

TERESA: It's gotten popular.

LEAH: It has gotten popular. I've seen it pop up on some of our private Facebook pages before. And I first, saw this headline last summer. It made the rounds on the internet for a while being called nature's Ozempic. You can still find that out there as well.

But berberine has been around a lot longer than just the last few years. The first documented study using berberine for blood sugar control was in 1986 and it was also used in ancient herbal medicine to treat diarrhea. It does have some antimicrobial properties to it. So for many of us, myself included, it may seem like the cool new kid on the block, but it's actually been around for a while.

TERESA: And a recent umbrella review of studies published in the Journal of Pharma Nutrition in December of 2023 concluded that berberine supplementation reduces LDL cholesterol, reduces total cholesterol, and reduces triglycerides while increasing HDL; all things we want to see in a lipid panel. From the research I've seen, it seems like berberine both inhibits cholesterol absorption in the digestive tract and also increases LDL receptors and gives that LDL cholesterol a place to go.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. And I will, I want to make note too, that if people go on our website and type in berberine, the supplement that's actually going to come up right now is called CM Core. So it's got berberine in it and a little alpha lipoic acid in it, but that's what we're talking about. It has that higher dose of berberine in it. That's berberine in a nutshell.

Let's chat about bergamot for a minute, because I think this is one that's just a little less familiar out there, unless you're really into essential oils. So bergamot is a citrus fruit that's grown in the blue zone region in Italy. And actually some of its oils are used in earl gray tea. Bergamot in a supplement form in this more concentrated form works on the first enzyme in the cholesterol making pathway and it just dims the switch.

So a bit on the cholesterol production. So it helps to nudge that LDL cholesterol into a better position. It just starts to take down that number without dropping it off a cliff. And unlike statin medications, bergamot does not affect our natural CoQ10 production. And unfortunately, that is one of the side effects from statins. They block CoQ10 in the body. And this can be why many people experience like the leg pain or fatigue or their brain might not work as well while taking statins.

TERESA: Yes. Many people know about these side effects now. That may be a big reason why they're looking for an alternate way to address high cholesterol and still feel good in the process. So last in line is the plant sterols. These are plant compounds that look a lot like animal human cholesterol. Plant sterols block the doorways. That cholesterol usually goes through to get into the body from the digestive tract. When we don't absorb cholesterol in the gut, we may see less cholesterol circulating in the blood.

LEAH: Right. And I'll have some clients take a combo of all three of these supplements. So one capsule each of the CM Core, the Bergamot BPF and Plant Sterols. This gets us pretty close to the amounts in that formula that I mentioned earlier that had been discontinued. For other clients, we may prioritize one or two of these supplements and see if that's enough to move the needle.

For example, if I am seeing someone who is dealing with high cholesterol and high blood sugar, it may make sense to start with just berberine and do that in a little bit higher doses at first, since it helps with both blood sugar and cholesterol. So everyone is a little different and that's where we can come in and just, and help clients make the most sensible choice for them.


TERESA: Sometimes it's helpful to sift through the noise with another brain and another perspective. As we mentioned before, high cholesterol is something we've been conditioned to fear and take seriously. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it also doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. Today, we've focused on eating simple, delicious, colorful fruits and vegetables throughout the day to get fiber and antioxidants, and letting go of most ultra processed foods that are made up of refined flours and rancid oils.

There may also be a supplement or two that would be helpful for you in your situation. And if you're hungry for more, we've dedicated a whole category of blog articles and old Dishing Up Nutrition shows to the cholesterol/heart health section. When you search blog articles and old shows on our website,, there is a drop box in the right hand corner under the headings where you can filter which topics interest you.

Check Out More Resources on Cholesterol/Heart Health

So if you want to hear more about what your cholesterol level should be, if you want to hear more about red meat and eggs, this is the place to go.

LEAH: So our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to provide each and every person with practical, real life solutions for everyday health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life-changing. So thank you for listening. And if you enjoyed the show, please head over to iTunes or your favorite podcast app to leave a review and help others find our show.

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