Yes, skip the muffins and pastries—and maybe the yogurt, too. Check out the following foods to eat (and avoid) for lower cholesterol numbers and a cleaner bill of health. "The diet has been shown to reduce both blood lipids and heart disease risk," says Michos—it can even cut your risk of heart disease by 30%, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Fat gets a bad rap, but not all fat should be avoided. Prevention participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. Eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice could turn those statins you're taking into health hazards. If you take one, you can expect your LDL cholesterol to drop by anywhere from 35% to 50% or more, depending on the type of statin you take and your dose, Nissen says. "When people replace fats in their diet with excess refined carbs and sugars, they get into more trouble with increased risk of weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and elevated triglycerides," says Michos. It could be because dark chocolate is full of flavonoids, antioxidants linked to heart health—just stick to bars with 70% cocoa or higher. Therefore, the Supplements you should take, if on statins, ... And of course, as the Mayo Clinic reminds us, supplement programmes like the one above does not give you the excuse to eat whatever you want. "Many people wrongly believe their medication will undo any cholesterol overload, regardless of what they eat," says Erin Michos, MD, a cardiologist and an associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. What You Need To Know If You're Taking Statins To Lower Your Cholesterol. Keep the processed meats to a minimum, but an egg a day is A-OK; Finnish researchers found that eating an egg a day is not associated with an elevated risk of heart disease. The culprit: furanocoumarins, compounds found in … "Alcohol in moderation can raise levels of HDL [good] cholesterol, but excess alcohol can be harmful for the heart and liver," says Michos. Have a glass of wine or two, but not the bottle. Because sodium causes the body to retain water, it can counteract the effect of diuretics that rid your body of fluid build-up. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back. Eat all the organic meat and veggies you want… You know that blood sugar–spiking blueberry muffin is the bad guy, but beware of sneaky sugars in things like flavored yogurt, dried cranberries, granola, and sweetened drinks, too. 6. In fact, research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found those on a low-carb diet that included saturated fats lost nearly twice as much weight as those on a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet, while maintaining good cholesterol numbers. But if you're not on cholesterol-lowering meds, grapefruit gets a thumbs-up. When your cholesterol levels reach the danger zone, doctors routinely prescribe lipid-lowering statin drugs—in fact, 28% of adults over age 40 are on them. To maximize the benefits the drug can offer, be sure to continue to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle. 7. The risk may be higher if you take other cholesterol-lowering medications along with statins. Lifestyle changes including weight loss, increasing physical activity, healthy diet changes, and improved stress management are all proven to carry the most bang for their buck, especially when paired with the use of a statin drug. But don't start mainlining bacon and sausage. Emory University researchers found that consuming too much added sugar can triple your risk of having low levels of "good" cholesterol, while those who ate the least sugar had the highest HDL (good) cholesterol and lowest triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood linked to heart disease. These decreases in risk come in the form of improving blood pressure, systemic inflammation, vascular function and lipid measures; benefits that statin drugs cannot do alone. If you're taking statins, it's fine to use plant stanol or sterol products. Diuretic: Avoid sodium. How to take statins safely If you're taking statins, be sure to let your doctor know about any other medications or over-the-counter supplements you're using. Taking statin drugs or making lifestyle changes should not be considered a one or the other choice. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io, 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make After a Heart Attack, 6 Signs You’re Having a “Silent” Heart Attack, 34 Little Health Skills Every Woman Should Know, 20 Foods That Lower Blood Pressure Naturally, 6 Things That Increase Your Heart Attack Risk, How to Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally With Food, Tweet About Heart Attack Symptoms Goes Viral, 9 Reasons Why You Feel Lightheaded and Dizzy. Statins work by blocking the liver’s production of cholesterol, therefore, lowering LDL cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream. MORE: 13 Ways To Lower Blood Pressure Naturally. "They can lead to higher levels of statin drugs in the bloodstream and potentially cause toxicity," warns Michos. 7 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Sugar, 13 Ways To Lower Blood Pressure Naturally, exact number of nuts you should eat day to prevent heart disease, Dark chocolate can be a part of a heart-healthy diet. In a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, people who ate a grapefruit a day for a month saw their LDL cholesterol fall as much as 15.5%, with red grapefruit doing better than white at lowering triglycerides. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The best recommendation for heart health is to eat a heart friendly diet and exercise 3 to 5 times a week. One study revealed long-term statin users consumed larger amounts of calories and fat overtime and had higher BMIs than non-statin users. Here’s What Sugar Really Does to Your Brain. Statin drugs are one of the most frequently prescribed medications and one of the pillars of preventing and treating heart disease. Diet modifications, increasing physical activity, weight loss, and stress management continues to be the base of the cardiovascular health pyramid however they are all too often cast aside in our “take a pill” society. Pop Quiz! To be safe you should be able to eat grapefruit a week or so after you stop taking the Simvastatin. 5. Because her own health is the foundation of her expertise, you can trust that Lisa will make it truly possible for you to see dramatic changes in your health, without unrealistic fads or impossibly difficult techniques. MORE: 7 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Sugar. The culprit: furanocoumarins, compounds found in grapefruits, that affects how your body processes certain statins (tangelos and Seville oranges are off-limits, too). Danish researchers had people eat 5 ounces of cheese daily for 6 weeks. "Even when taking a statin, lifestyle changes toward a healthier diet and increased physical activity are needed to maximize the drug's benefit." Eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice could turn those statins you're taking into health hazards. 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