Harvard Health Letter

Health by the numbers

Statistics on statin use show a decrease in LDL cholesterol levels in those who take the medications, but for people who don't want to or who cannot handle the possible side effects, dietary changes can have similar benefits. For example, you can fill your meals with foods that contain a lot of soluble fiber, which binds to cholesterol in the digestive system before it has a chance to get into the blood. You can also steer away from foods that contain saturated fat and trans fat, which are known to increase LDL cholesterol. Many people take red yeast rice supplements to lower their LDL. Researchers have shown that red yeast rice, in combination with fish oil and lifestyle changes, can be just as effective as a statin at lowering LDL cholesterol. 
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