Quiz: Can Supplements Help Your Cholesterol?

Soy can help your cholesterol a lot.

Eating soy protein every day could help lower your bad cholesterol, or LDL, but only a little -- about 3%. And it would need to make up more than half of your daily protein. A bigger drop comes from not eating fatty meat and dairy products, which raise cholesterol.

Which of these added to your food helps lower your LDL, or bad cholesterol?

Phytosterols can stop your body from absorbing cholesterol. These plant extracts come in two forms that are added to some types of margarine: sterols or stanols. Eating foods daily that have just under a gram of phytosterols can lower your LDL. Adding phytosterols to your diet might lower your beta-carotene level, so make sure you eat more fruits and vegetables as replacement.

Fish oil ...

Fish oil can lower triglycerides, a type of fat that can put you at risk for a heart attack or stroke if your levels are too high. Supplements with 2 to 4 grams of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA can lower your triglycerides and even boost your HDL, or good cholesterol. However, in some people with high triglycerides, fish oil supplements can increase LDL cholesterol. High doses of fish oil supplements can also cause problems if you also use blood thinners, so check with your doctor first.

Which helps your cholesterol most?

No.201 - Prevent Elasticity Damage

Chewy, delicious barley makes a great soup or side dish. And it can lower your LDL (the bad cholesterol). Barley has soluble fiber, the kind found in oatmeal. There's not enough proof to show that fenugreek seed or red clover flower helps lower cholesterol.

Red yeast rice can ...

Red yeast rice has monacolin K, the active ingredient in the cholesterol drug lovastatin. The FDA forbids the sale of red yeast rice with this ingredient. Still, some red yeast rice products contain monacolin K, while others don't. If you buy red yeast rice, you can't tell how much monacolin K is in it. Too much can be dangerous. Ask your doctor before using red yeast rice. Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers should not use red yeast rice.

Since niacin is a vitamin that lowers cholesterol, you can take as much as you want.

Too much of a good thing -- in this case, the B vitamin niacin -- can be downright dangerous! Niacin can help lower cholesterol, but at high doses, it can raise blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Niacin can also cause flushing, a warm feeling and red color in the face and neck, as well as headaches, blurred vision, heartburn, and other unpleasant side effects.

Does green tea help your cholesterol?

There's not enough research to tell whether green tea can lower cholesterol levels. But it can help in other ways. Drinking green tea daily lowers your chance of having a heart attack.

Flaxseed might ...

Whole flaxseed and flaxseed compounds called lignans tend to lower LDL and total cholesterol mainly in older women and in people who already have high cholesterol. Whole flaxseed is rich in fiber. Eating ground flaxseed allows your body to absorb its omega-3 fatty acids. Both help lower cholesterol levels.

Can margarine lower cholesterol?

No.141 - Humectant

Look for margarine with zero trans fat and added phytosterols. These plant compounds keep your body from absorbing cholesterol. Phytosterols are in nuts, vegetable oils, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. But some foods have extra phytosterols added in -- including some brands of orange juice, milk, bread and buttery spreads.

Psyllium fiber supplements are good for the heart because they…

The main ingredient in fiber supplements such as Metamucil is psyllium, a ground seed husk that can help lower your LDL bad cholesterol. Psyllium powders or capsules should never be taken "dry" -- be sure to drink plenty of water. Add at least 5 to 10 grams of this kind of fiber daily to your diet to help lower cholesterol.

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