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. | Comments ()

Dark Chicken Meat

Everyone knows that chicken is one of the healthier meats, but most people think the white meat, such as the breast, is the best cut. The dark meat found in thighs and legs is actually healthier for your heart. Dark meat contains a special vitamin called menaquinone (vitamin K2) that’s also found in some hard cheeses. Vitamin K2 interferes with the body’s ability to make cholesterol in the blood, and researchers have shown that vitamin K2 prevents hardening of the arteries, as well. When the levels of K2 were measured in the blood, people who ate more K2-containing foods had more than a 50% reduction in the chance of dying of heart disease.

Preparation Tips: Chicken thighs are often the preferred part of the bird in Asian cooking, and the legs are tasty roasted or stewed. Just make sure you trim away the skin and any fat before you cook them. And here’s the best part: dark meat is cheaper than chicken breast. A healthy serving to eat is 4 oz. per day, which measures out to be a portion a little bit bigger than a deck of playing cards. 



Persimmons are a delicious orange fruit that grows in California, Asia and in the Mediterranean, where they are called “kaki.” Their season is late fall and winter, so they are a cool-weather treat.  Persimmons look a lot like tomatoes, and like tomatoes, they contain a natural substance called beta-cryptoxanthin that is related to vitamin A.  Researchers have shown beta-cryptoxanthin can protect the good form of cholesterol in our blood called HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, and it can also prevent hardening of the arteries. Want to know another benefit? It fights belly fat, as well!

Tips: When you eat a persimmon, just make sure you don’t eat the skin.  Cut it away, or eat around it like you would an orange slice. The reason is that some varieties of persimmon have skins that are astringent. That means it makes your mouth pucker. Just enjoy the tender sweet flesh. A persimmon a day is heart-healthy.

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