Health Team

Study: Fiber-rich food, dietitian's help can lower cholesterol

Posted August 23, 2011 4:32 p.m. EDT
Updated August 23, 2011 8:52 p.m. EDT

— Canadian researchers have found that a fiber-rich diet and regular consultations with a dietitian can significantly lower cholesterol in older men and women, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study followed 351 people on the verge of needing medication to control cholesterol, specifically low-density lipoprotein – LDL or "bad cholesterol" as it's often called – for 6 months.

Study participants met several times with a dietitian and ate an enriched cholesterol-lowering diet based on a portfolio developed by Dr. David J.A. Jenkins, a nutritionist at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, that included lentils, nuts, eggplant and okra.

"We had a very significant improvement in LDL cholesterol lowering with the dietary portfolio," Jenkins said. 

Researchers found that LDL levels went down 13 to 14 percent.

Study participant Bonnie Wood said she is very glad to be able to manage her cholesterol without medication.

"I would prefer 100 percent to try and lower it by a program of food rather than statin drugs," she said. 

She also plans to use a cookbook given to study participants to help her incorporate more fiber into her diet from now on.

"You kind of think, 'Well, what do I do with lentils?' So, there (are) recipes for things like barley and any other kind of fiber, just to make it a bit more interesting," Wood said.