Walk down any grocery store aisle and you'll see many labels touting the cholesterol-lowering abilities of this or that food. Which ones actually work is often hard to determine. But there's one food you can eat that will definitely lower your cholesterol. And, better yet, it will even raise your HDL - the good cholesterol.
The food is yogurt! But not just any yogurt. The best results come from probiotic yogurt.
A small study on 33 healthy women looked at the benefits of probiotic vs. conventional yogurt. Researchers found that consuming just 200 gm daily of a probiotic yogurt caused significant drops in total cholesterol. Additionally, the probiotic yogurt group also saw improvement in the hard to raise HDL cholesterol. Even conventional yogurt as well as the probiotic yogurt caused the "bad" LDL cholesterol to fall.
You may know that I'm a big fan of food as the best medicine. Time and time again, I see proof that food can accomplish far more than most drugs - and without any side effects. Supplements, which are typically a form of food, are my second choice.
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With that said, I don't push a lot of dairy. I think cow's milk is a perfect food for baby cows. But not humans. However, I'm a firm believer in fermented foods and probiotics. With this study, we see benefits of both fermentation and probiotics in the form of yogurt. I do eat some yogurt, but I make sure it's organic. I don't recommend yogurt that has been sweetened or in any way altered with additives or heat. Plain white yogurt is the way to go. You can add your own fresh fruit if you like.
Probiotic yogurt is a great low-cost way to help normalize your cholesterol level. But remember, cholesterol is not the bad guy. It's what your body does with it. This study suggests that a probiotic yogurt will help your body deal positively with your cholesterol. You can find probiotic yogurt in some grocery stores and in most health food stores.
"Influence of daily consumption of probiotic and conventional yoghurt on the plasma lipid profile in young healthy women," Fabian E, Elmadfa I, Ann Nutr Metab, 2006; 50(4): 387-93.