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The Best Medicine For Lowering Cholesterol: Food

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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Written by Dr. Dave Hnida CBS4 Medical EditorGet the bad news that you have too high a cholesterol, the first thing that follows is usually advice to eat less fat and start a statin medication — both treatments which work fairly well.

But a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association has some tastier advice: eat food. Now obviously, we’re not talking about a prescription for a daily bag of Cheetos — instead adding a few special foods to your daily menu.

And maybe the word “special” isn’t exactly accurate. In the study, it was found that people who ate more oats, barley, soy, and nuts were able to lower their cholesterol by close to 14 percent — almost twice as good a percentage as people who took statin drugs. (For most folks that’s more than a 20 point drop over a 4 month time frame).

You can get those soluble fibers from things like oatmeal, soy from almost anything that says soy and nuts, especially almonds and walnuts.

Plus the people who ate more of the above, and less fat, wound up losing 10-15 pounds (which when you think about it, isn’t a major surprise.)

So, does this mean throw away your Lipitor? Not at all. I’m not convinced this study is the end-all when it comes to lowering cholesterol, but it’s fair to say that a change in diet will help.

If your cholesterol is through the roof, a statin is probably a good idea. As are the nuts and soy. And kiss the snacks goodbye (at least most days — while an occasional treat won’t kill you, it’s not wise to make brownies one of the basic food groups.)

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