Lowering cholesterol using a plant-based diet

beating heartCurrent guidelines recommend diet as first-line therapy to lower cholesterol levels in the blood.

But what constitutes an optimal dietary regimen?

First, the details.

  • Researchers from The George Washington University, in Washington, DC reviewed the results from 27 studies.

And, the results.

  • Of the 4 types of plant-based diets considered, a combination diet (vegetarian or vegan diet combined with nuts, soy, and/or fiber) resulted in the greatest effects.
    • Up to 35% lower LDL (bad) cholesterol).
  • The vegan and ovolactovegetarian diets were less effective.
  • Diets that permitted small amounts of lean meat demonstrated less dramatic reductions in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Plant-based dietary interventions are effective in lowering plasma cholesterol concentrations.”

Dr, Christopher Gardner at Stanford University Medical School, in California has studied the effects of diet on cholesterol. He tells us “The goal is more veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and fruits, and the practical way to include them is in the menus of various cultures that have thrived for years on plant-based diets: Asian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Latin American.” lists the top 5 foods to lower your blood levels of cholesterol.

10/11/09 20:34 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.