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Good Housekeeping
Belle Yambao, Contributor
September 16, 2011

New Study: Eat Nuts, Soy, Margarine, and Oats to Lower Cholesterol

Reduce your bad cholesterol levels by switching to a diet rich with these foods. By Belle Yambao
In need of a healthier diet but don't know what approach to try? According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, switching to a diet full of plant oils (e.g., plant sterol-based margarine), viscous fibers (e.g., oats and barley), nuts, and soy can help you reduce bad LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels. LDL is more commonly referred to as bad cholesterol.

Dr. David Jenkins of the University of Toronto and his team examined 345 participants over six months to see if this cholesterol-lowering diet, which they successfully tested in a laboratory setting, could work in the real world. The researchers divided the subjects into two groups and sent them to nutritional counseling sessions, which taught them about cholesterol-lowering foods and how to incorporate them into their diets. One group attended two sessions while the other went to seven.

By the end of the six-month period, both groups were able to lower their bad cholesterol levels by 14 percent or 25 mg/dL on average, which implies that they were able to switch their diets successfully, even with just two sessions of the counseling. Meanwhile, a control group instructed by the researchers to go on a low-fat diet only averaged 8 mg/dL.

Dr. Jenkins explains they told cholesterol-lowering diet participants to use a 2,000-calorie daily diet made of 40g of soy and nuts each, 20g of fiber, and 2g of plant sterol. While getting the right mix right away is definitely hard (only 40 percent of the study participants accomplished this), slowly incorporating these foods into your diet can help you achieve good results in the long run. "You don't have to hold your nose, but just change as much as you can and look for substitutes for high-fat foods that often fill the gap very, very well," he is quoted as saying on TIME.com.

If you're ready to make the change, scroll through the gallery below for links to recipes that use these foods.

Want to read more articles about eating healthy? Check these out on FN:
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