This summarizes a post written on Facebook in April 2021. We have a pseudonym for the poster. Check out the article below for Nick’s tips on how to lower your cholesterol naturally.
Hey, It’s Analise from cholesterol stories. This story is about Nick, who lowered his cholesterol in just six months by embracing a high carb low fat diet. While this story is part of a series about lowering cholesterol, it stands alone as an inspirational success story in its own right: by following one simple rule—don't eat anything that comes from animals—this man was able to drop his cholesterol from over 300 to 90!
Check out the Q&A below:
Q: How old are you, and are you a male or female (by biological sex)?
A: I am a 47-year-old male. I first started working on lowering my cholesterol when I was 35. Yes – even young people can have high cholesterol.
Q: How would you categorize your activity level before you tried to lower your cholesterol?
A: Before learning I had high cholesterol, I was an athlete and a bodybuilder. I love to exercise and was a former competitive bodybuilder, triathlete, and ultra-marathoner. I knew, or thought I knew, how to eat healthily and work out hard, but I didn't realize how related what you eat is to your cholesterol. Just like the age stereotype I just want to say that yes, it’s possible for someone who exercises every day and eats healthy foods to still have high cholesterol.
Q: How would you describe your body type before you tried to lower you cholesterol?
A: Like most competitive body builders, I was and still am pretty muscular and in good shape. Since working on lowering my cholesterol I’m less bulky, but still strong and in great shape.
Q: How were you eating before you tried to lower your cholesterol?
A: It's important to note how you were eating before beginning your journey. This way, you can see how much of an impact the changes you make have on your numbers. Before this, I ate processed carbs, foods with added sugar, and foods high in saturated fats. Now I am gluten- and dairy-free!
Q: How much were you drinking before you tried to lower your cholesterol?
A: I didn’t really drink before since I was a professional bodybuilder, and I definitely don’t drink now.
Q: When did you first realize you had high cholesterol?
A: My doctor told me that my cholesterol level was high and that I needed to make some lifestyle changes in order to lower it. She told me that if I didn’t start lowering my cholesterol, I would have a heart attack within five years. It was a real wake-up call.
I was shocked because to be a professional bodybuilder, you have to be really intentional about what you eat and follow a strict diet. I never thought this was something that I had to worry about.
Q: Does high cholesterol run in your family?
A: High cholesterol does not run in my family, at least not that I know of, which is part of why I was so shocked when my doctor told me I needed to lower my cholesterol.
Q: What were your starting numbers?
A: My starting numbers were: Total cholesterol: 300+ (Blood pressure was 220/125)
Q: What were your improved numbers?
A: My improved numbers are: Total cholesterol: 90 and my blood pressure is perfect!
Q: How long did it take to lower your cholesterol?
A: It took me about six months to lower my cholesterol, and I’ve been able to keep it below 120 for 12 years. After six months my blood pressure was also perfect and has stayed that way.
Q: What did you eat for breakfast while trying to lower your cholesterol?
A: For breakfast, while trying to lower my cholesterol, I eat whole-grain cereal with dairy-free milk and add fruit. I try to avoid all animal-based products and am a strict vegetarian now.
Q: What did you normally eat for lunch while trying to lower your cholesterol?
A: In the beginning while trying to lower my cholesterol, I had some trouble feeling full, but by cutting out meat and fat, and being strict about it, for lunch, I can eat whatever I want as long as it is high carb low fat. I try to eat lots more fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. I find it the most satiating way of eating now.
Q: What did you normally eat for dinner while trying to lower your cholesterol?
A: For dinners, while trying to lower my cholesterol, I eat big salads with lots of veggies. If you don't like the taste of plain vegetables, try adding fruit instead! Fruit is also high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, it's packed with antioxidants that help fight disease (such as heart disease).
Q: What foods did you give up?
A: To lower my cholesterol naturally by changing my diet, I followed the advice of my nutritionist. I gave up meat and fat. Now, I am a vegetarian and eat more carbs than fat. The only time my cholesterol rose to 120 over the past 12 years was during a period when I was eating a lot of nuts and seeds. As soon as I cut those out, my cholesterol went back down to 90. Now the only fat I eat is 4 tablespoons of ground flax seed.
Q: What drinks did you give up?
A: I didn’t give up any drinks on my journey to lower my cholesterol, but I do avoid half and half or any other drinks high in fat.
Q: What foods did you add to your diet?
A: I added flax seed to my diet daily to lower my cholesterol naturally. I eat lots of potatoes, beans, oats, quinoa, pastas, lentils, sweet potatoes, fruits, greens, etc.
Q: What did you eat for snacks?
A: The snacks I eat now are the same ones that helped me lower my cholesterol initially; I avoid nuts and seeds, and instead opt for fruits, veggies, and anything else low-fat.
Q: How would you categorize your diet?
A: I would categorize my diet plant based. I want to spread the message that a plant-based diet is not only healthy for you but could help you control your cholesterol levels as well. Not only that – it can help you lower your blood pressure which I also struggled with when I was diagnosed with high cholesterol.
Q: Did you take any natural supplements?
A: I did not take any natural supplements to lower my cholesterol unless you count ground flaxseed.
Q: If you could give people trying to lower their cholesterol one piece of advice, what would it be?
A: Doctors are not always supportive of lifestyle changes. You can find help online, but you may need to look beyond the doctor’s office for help.
You don’t have to be stuck with an “all or nothing” approach when it comes to lowering your cholesterol. There are many different ways that people lower their cholesterol and they don’t all involve prescription medications or surgery. If your doctor isn't supportive of your plan, consider changing doctors until you find one who will work with you instead of against you!
Nick also shared,
“That’s the key is the low fat. Fat will raise your cholesterol, especially saturated fat. Ground flaxseed will lower it… Plus all the added fiber you feel fuller and eat a lot more yet consume fewer calories. I’d urge anyone to try it.”
Takeaway: A plant-based diet and exercise can help you lower your cholesterol without taking medications.
What's the longest it took you to lower your cholesterol? Six months, like Nick? Maybe longer? Or shorter? Are you a vegetarian like Nick, or do you eat meat every day?
Nick’s story is just one of many examples of how you can lower your cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol but don't feel like taking medication, try eating more plant-based foods and cutting back on animal products. It may not be easy at first, but if it's important enough for you to do something about it then we're sure these tips will help.
If you’d like to be featured shoot me an email at email@example.com. I am always looking for inspiring stories and love putting a spotlight on awesome people who are lowering their cholesterol naturally.