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Posts Tagged ‘dietary fiber’

Your Checklist to Lower Cholesterol

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on September 12, 2008

Here’s a checklist of the top 8 things you must do if you want to successfully lower your cholesterol and keep it low.

Know your numbers

Have you had a lipid profile? Do you understand the numbers? If you are going to successfully lower cholesterol you need to know your numbers and what they mean. The most effective way to raise HDL is not necessarily the best way to lower LDL.

Evaluate your lifestyle

There are risk factors for high cholesterol that you can not control, such as age, gender, and family history, but there are factors you can control. For example, you can reduce risk by not smoking, increasing your activity, and losing extra weight.

Balance your fats

Reduce unhealthy saturated fats in your diet and replace them with heart healthy unsaturated fats. Total fat intake should be 30% or less of your total daily calories. Out of this 30%, saturated fat should be limited to 7%.

Be active

Physical activity lowers triglycerides and raises HDL (good) cholesterol. Shoot for 30 minutes 5 or more days a week. If you are not currently active, check with your MD before beginning an activity program.

Eliminate trans fats

You need to be food label savvy and watch out for trans fats. Trans fats raise LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and raise triglycerides. Limit trans fats to 1% or less of your daily caloric intake.

Understand triglycerides

Triglycerides are impacted the most by your simple sugar and alcohol intake. If you are struggling with high triglycerides, you need to use a different strategy to get your cholesterol under control.

Increase dietary fiber

A high fiber diet is necessary for heart health. You need 25-35 grams of dietary fiber daily, especially soluble fiber. For every 1-2 grams of daily soluble fiber intake, LDL (bad) cholesterol is lowered 1%.

Add omega 3 fatty acids

For heart health and lower cholesterol, you want to improve the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are involved in the regulation of heart rate, blood pressure, and blood clotting.

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Brown rice – New whole grain health claim.

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on August 26, 2008

I’ve always recommended clients make a switch from white rice to brown rice as a way to boost dietary fiber intake.  A diet high in dietary fiber (ideally 25-35 grams/day) is linked with reduced heart disease risk by lowering LDL and total cholesterol levels.

The FDA just approved a new ruling that will allow brown rice to use a health claim on its label.  So, when you’re shopping for groceries, be on the look out for the new whole-grain logo added to the brown rice packaging and don’t forget to reach for the brown rice over the white!  A 1/2 cup of cooked  brown rice contains two grams of fiber.

Brown rice takes extra time to prepare (~45 minutes).  I checked out the nutrition label on brown “minute” rice recently and it’s another option, still providing 2 grams of dietary fiber per 1/2 cup serving.  Best of all, only takes ~10 minutes to prepare.  Haven’t tried it yet, so can’t vouch for its flavor, but I have added it to my shopping list.

All the best,

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN
The Heart of Health

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How to boost dietary fiber intake without elevating uric acid.

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on July 25, 2008

I received a good question from a Heart of Health reader related to my recent dietary fiber article.


How do you boost fiber intake if you have to watch your uric acid levels?


Too much uric acid leads to problems with gout (inflammation/pain in your joints).

Fortunately, a diet that is “gout friendly” will also benefit your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as weight loss efforts.

Here are 4 tips:

  1. Avoid alcohol or limit intake
  2. Drink plenty of water (stay hydrated!)
  3. Maintain an ideal body weight – if you need to lose weight avoid fasting or quick weight loss schemes (Get a Mini Diet Makeover)
  4. Avoid foods high in purines

Uric acid comes from the breakdown of purines.  Purines make up human tissue and they are found in foods.  Which is why limiting foods with high in purines content is beneficial.

Foods to limit/avoid – alcohol, anchovies, sardines in oil, herring, organ meat, legumes (dried beans, peas, mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, yeast, meat extracts, and gravies.

Foods that are beneficial to gout treatment include fresh berries, bananas, tomatoes, celery, cabbage, parsley, green-leafy vegetables, pineapple, red bell peppers, tangerines, oranges, potatoes, low fat dairy, whole grain breads and pastas, tuna, salmon, nuts, seeds, and tofu.

In my recent article – 4 Tips to Use Dietary Fiber to Lower Cholesterol – I recommended legumes as a good high fiber source to increase.  If uric acid levels are an issue for you, legumes is not the best source for increasing your fiber intake.  Instead, rely on whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas, as well, as fruits and vegetables beneficial to gout treatment that I’ve listed above to get your daily dietary fiber.

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All the best,

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN

Posted in food, heart health, high blood pressure, lose weight, lower cholesterol, nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »