Food Pharmacy to Fight Cholesterol

By William W. Li, M.D. President and Medical Director, The Angiogenesis Foundation

Posted on | By William W. Li, M.D.

One of the biggest health threats today is cardiovascular disease. It affects the heart as well as every organ of the body, and one of the underlying causes is a hardening of the arteries. The condition is associated with genetics, diet and lifestyle as underlying causes, and clogging of the arteries by something called “plaque” can lead to a fatal heart attack or stroke. The plaque is made up of cholesterol, calcium, and other materials found in the blood. High blood cholesterol, which affects 1 in 6 adults, is one of the major risk factors for plaque build-up. Thankfully, there are foods that can help protect against this. 

While you can’t change your genetics, and your doctor can prescribe medications that can control cholesterol, you can also take a proactive and preventive approach by aligning your diet to support better cardiovascular health. The following are some of the foods that can help lower your cholesterol.

Mustard Greens

By its name, you might guess that mustard greens might be used to produce the condiment mustard – and you would be right! The seeds of the plant are used to make mustard. The leaves, however, are a delicious leafy green you can find in the produce section of the grocery store. They are rich in natural substances called sulforaphanes that, when eaten, help the body get rid of bile acid in our gut. Bile acids are used by the body to make cholesterol – so the less bile acid results in less cholesterol. Some cholesterol-lowering medicines help get rid of bile, too – but this is a natural way to do it using food.

Preparation Tips: What’s the best way to eat mustard greens? They are tasty raw in a salad, but researchers have actually shown that steaming mustard greens makes them even more potent in their ability to lower cholesterol! Raw or cooked, try adding mustard greens to your diet.

Article written by William W. Li, M.D.
President and Medical DirectorThe Angiogenesis Foundation