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Vegan Health & Nutrition Discussion Forum

Hi all, I am new to this forum and would like some advice or personal experiences regarding your cholesterol levels.

I have been vegan for just about three months, and my last cholesterol was still a bit high (215). I do have a family disposition to genetically high cholesterol, but I asked my primary care provider for another three months on a vegan diet before re-testing. I would rather not go on statins if I don't have to.

So my question for the forum is for those who have had cholesterol issues: does the vegan diet actually lower your cholesterol?

I am a REALLY good cook, I have tackled the creativity you can have while making wonderful vegan meals: but is there some other whole-food strategies I can add to my diet that might help?

About me:I get moderate exercise (I ride my bike/walk) every day weather permitting, as don't own a car. So I am in pretty good physical shape.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Responses (10)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Owen at 12/29/15 10:29:00

    Hello Lisa,

    I've been vegan for several years but have only recently began to only eat whole foods (i.e. no processed foods or added sugar & no added oils or fats). I've been monitoring my cholesterol every other week for nearly two months now and am amazed at the impact the diet change has had (we have Theranos here in AZ at which one can have bloodwork done without a doctor's orders or involvement). My LDL has dropped nearly 20%, & HDL is up 13% in just 7 weeks. I've added things like brazil nuts, dark chocolate & split-pea soup to my diet. I've also increased exercise a little - about an hour 5 days a week.

    So, my advice: try to be really rigorous about whole foods for a couple of weeks & cut out all processed foods including bread; oh, & eat lots of greens! In addition to losing weight, your cholesterol should plummet :)

    A good resource is Dr. Michael Greger's recently released book "How not to Die".

    All the best.

    Owen

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by tokyobags at 12/29/15 12:37:56

    Hello,

    Are you consuming eggs?

    If you are it would be good to cut or avoid on them. Based on experiences, eggs are the key in the Cholesterol issues :)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by ahimsa32fa at 12/30/15 07:22:00

    Dr. Jeffrey Bland, PhD (in nutrition)informed us forty years ago that consumption of more than three eggs a week is putting the average person at risk of high cholesterol.

    Not to mention that at least half of all eggs sold are contaminated with Salmonella...or that factory laying hens experience a life of true horror.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by anahidscv at 12/30/15 16:25:00

    If you are vegan, you should not be eating eggs. Try the new Veganegg, by Follow Your Heart. Based on experience, my husband was prescribed meds for high cholesterol, but after becoming vegan, his cholesterol levels drastically dropped. He never took the meds, and a plant based style saved him from those horrible meds.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by ClaviCows at 12/31/15 15:04:33

    There are many issues with cholesterol that are poorly represented by both the mainstream and alternative medical castes. Lowering cholesterol is a tricky issue. Older people with HIGH cholesterol live longer than those with low cholesterol levels.

    What's also most commonly misunderstood is that HOW cholesterol gets lowered physiologically (eg, inhibition of cholesterol production, removal by fiber intake, energetic conversion to steroid hormones, etc) seems to largely determine whether serious side effects ensure or not. For example, the inhibition of its production by things like statins or the "natural" diet pill garcinia cambogia will have serious adverse effects over the long run (read the scholarly report at www.supplements-and-health.com/garcinia-cambogia-side-effects.html and look at Figure 7 to see how irrational it is to block the production of cholesterol!).

    Cutting out eggs and other high cholesterol foods is also a misguided strategy because cholesterol levels are primarily due to internal production of it, so that the production slows down if you eat a lot of high cholesterol foods to compensate for the intake through consumption.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Robinwomb at 01/03/16 05:14:11

    I don't have issues with high cholesterol, but I do have risk factors such as surgical menopause (lowered esterogen levels) and hypothyroidism (treated). I am a low normal weight, very active (1.5 hours workout five days per week plus snowshoeing, cycling to work daily six months per year in addition to the gym, long distance hikes, canoeing, etc). I think maintaining a healthy weight and exercise is very important and often overlooked! especially cardio for cardiovascular health.

    I had a free fasting screening in 2012, about a year and a half after becoming vegan and eating a whole foods plant based diet. I had a screening (not a fasting one) in 2010 just months before becoming vegan. My HDL in 2010 was 62, and total cholesterol was 155. In 2012, my levels were: HDL 57, LDL 67, triglycerides 27, glucose 84, total cholesterol 125. So definitely a huge improvement as far as total cholesterol but HDL went down slightly. I used to consume a lot of fish as an omnivore and had eaten very healthy but did eat a lot of eggs. I am assuming getting rid of the eggs and animal fat lowered the cholesterol (I also exercised intensively as an omnivore and weight was similar). I unfortunately didn't have my LDL done in 2010 so no comparison but I suspect that improved. I have since added more flaxseeds, chia seeds, leafy greens daily and so on to up my HDL. homemade flaxseed milk makes it easy to get in my ALA omega 3s. I sporadically supplement with vegan DHA (Deva brand) but not all the time.

    I think including healthy fats is crucial, but also do not rely on or use much or any processed oil or vegan butter. Stick to whole fats like flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, almond butter, tahini, etc. Stay far away from hydrogenated oils (such as that in some peanut butter, processed foods etc). Eat loads of fruits and fresh vegetables daily, and at least a serving but preferably more of leafy greens. I incorporated them (bok choy, collards, kale, broccoli, turnip greens, spinach, etc) in soups, vegan omelets, casseroles, raw salads, smoothies, wraps etc almost daily. They also provide calcium, iron, magnesium and other minerals important and overlooked in cardiovascular health and cholesterol.

    Also keep sugar intake low, but healthy carbs higher...whole grains, fresh fruits, tubers etc.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by La_diavolo at 01/31/16 05:41:02

    I lower my cholesterol with tincture of garlic and domestic herbal brandy. Fill a bottle of 1l with garlic cloves unpeeled, and then pour brandy. Keep it on sun for 40 days. Drink every morning one shot glass of it.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by ccaatt at 11/30/16 23:28:53

    Hi Lisa,

    Did you every find a strategy that worked for you? My boyfriend just got results back from his doctor and his levels were higher than we expected too. We're vegetarian but eat about 90% vegan on your average week (we're slowly buy surely marching toward 100%, gradually breaking our cheese addiction). We're both pretty fit - he cycles like crazy and I teach yoga. We've both been so busy lately that we're using more pre-packaged crumbles and things...various meat substitutes, so that could be part of it. The only other thing I can think of is maybe it's stress related. I had a spike in my LDL levels all through grad school and after I graduated, it went way down again while my HDL stayed pretty high. Could stress be a factor for you too? Find anything that worked, whole-food related or otherwise?

    Best of luck!

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by kayleegordon at 07/06/17 10:03:46

    Hi there,

    As you've mentioned that you are vegan then certainly you have to try some homemade herbal tea like coriander seed tea or cinnamon tea (fabhow.com/reduce-bad-cholesterol-level.html). These herbs prevent cholesterol getting absorbed into the bloodstream and help to control the cholesterol. You can also try red yeasted rice in your diet.

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    Posted by Lemor1972 at 11/13/17 07:17:14

    Well i got some really nice tips here guys, thank you a lot for em!

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