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Book Review: Cholesterol Down: 10 Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol in 4 Weeks – Without Prescription Drugs by Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN

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Cholesterol Down is for the 105 million Americans who have high cholesterol. The author, Dr. Janet Brill, a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist, exercise physiologist, and certified wellness coach, has spent years counseling patients on cardiovascular disease prevention, researching, and writing on the subject of cholesterol. Her work has been published in the International Journal of Obesity and the International Journal of Sport Nutrition.

Cholesterol Down provides readers with the information they need regarding cholesterol — what it is and how it works both for and against the body. It is significantly endorsed by Dr. Jennifer H. Mieres, the National Spokesperson for the American Heart Association. She states, “The simple, consistent, and inexpensive lifestyle therapy outlined in her {Dr. Janet Brill’s} Cholesterol Down Plan could be the most important investment you make in your future health.” Dr. Brill explains LDL, the bad portion of cholesterol, and offers an effective combination therapy of foods, scientifically based, that are as effective as statins. Besides lowering LDL, the following ten-step program also offers further health benefits.

First, eat one cup of oatmeal every day. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends three whole-grain servings daily. This is linked to reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, some cancers, lower blood pressure, and improved bowel movement. Oatmeal lowers LDL, may raise HDL — the good portion of cholesterol, and studies show that the more consumed, the greater the benefit.

Second, eat a handful of almonds daily, approximately 30. In addition to warding off heart disease, they also are particularly preventive toward colon cancer, and help with weight loss. The FDA, American Heart Association, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute all recommend eating almonds to lower heart disease risk, possibly by 50%.

Third, eat at least two tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily. Flaxseed has been shown to be preventative toward breast, colon, and prostate cancers, and is known to lower LDL cholesterol and aid in brain functioning.

Dr. Janet BrillFourth, consume three grams of psyllium husk daily, gradually increasing to 10 grams. For the average consumer that means Metamucil. Dr. Brill states that psyllium husk, the active ingredient in Metamucil is “the most powerful LDL-lowering viscous soluble fiber in existence….For every 10 grams of total dietary fiber intake per day, risk of heart attack dropped by an estimated 14% and risk of dying from the disease by 27%.” Metamucil also promotes digestion, moving toxins out of the body quickly.

Fifth, eat a half-cup of beans, peas, or lentils daily. Legumes help reduce blood pressure, provide minerals and vitamins, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Beans help fight obesity, diabetes, constipation, hemorrhoids, and various cancers — lung, colon, breast, esophagus, and stomach.

Sixth, eat an apple every day. Pectin, the soluble fiber within the apple lowers LDL cholesterol. Apples also help maintain a steady blood sugar level, aid in weight loss, provide nutrients, antioxidants, and tannins helpful with preventing urinary tract infections. The fruit is known to promote healthy lung function as well.

Seventh, consume two to three grams of phytosterols per day at two separate meals. This chapter is titled “Step 7: Eat Margarine with Phytosterols.” During the last twenty years we’ve been moving away from margarines. But recently, new healthier versions — those without hydrogenated oils and now containing phytosterols, have arrived in the supermarket. The National Cholesterol Education Program asks Americans to eat two to three grams of phytosterols daily, to aid in cholesterol reduction by 6-15 percent. Phytosterols are also a protection against colon, breast, and prostate cancers. I highly recommend this chapter is thoroughly read by consumers to raise awareness of how their purchases affect their bodies. A small decision such as which type of margarine to use can yield significant results.

Eighth, eat 20-25 grams of soy protein every day — also recommended by the U.S. government. This Dr. Brill says, does not include soy oil or soy sauce. Soy consumption reduces risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and various cancers. It promotes kidney function in diabetics, prevents osteoporosis, eases menopause symptoms, and possibly prevents male balding.

Ninth, eat a clove of fresh garlic and one Kyolic One Per Day Cardiovascular aged garlic extract supplement daily. Modern research reveals garlic’s effectiveness against cholesterol. Garlic is also the food of history used for bacterial, viral, parasitic, and fungal infections. Its phytochemicals work naturally against stomach, colon and larynx cancers. Further research shows positive results with garlic’s use in possibly treating leukemia.

The last step of the Cholesterol Down Plan is to walk for 30 minutes every day. The American Heart Association regards the lack of physical activity as the biggest risk factor for heart disease. Exercise prevents diabetes, increases length of life, lowers LDL cholesterol, reduces risk of breast and colon cancers, prevents loss of muscle mass, reduces risk of senility, and will save you money when compared with those who are sedentary.

Dr. Brill provides a fresh approach to cholesterol reduction in her simple ten-step plan, freeing patients of undesirable prescription drug side effects. The book includes a daily checklist, a progress chart, meal plans, and recipes. Cholesterol Down: 10 Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol in 4 Weeks — Without Prescription Drugs should be read by every person with high LDL cholesterol, or who is at risk of heart disease. An affordable paperback and a best-seller, it receives five stars.

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  • Martin Thomas

    Seems good. But in India, most people including me, do not know what Phytosterols & Kyolic are. Can anyone tell us if these are available in India?

  • http://www.CholesterolDownBook.com Dr. Janet Brill

    Q: Seems good. But in India, most people including me, do not know what Phytosterols & Kyolic are. Can anyone tell us if these are available in India?

    A: You can order both phytosterol supplements (Brand name: CholestOff®) and Kyolic® garlic supplements online. Simply type in either brand name in a search engine and you will find many stores that will ship to India. Thank you for your interest in my book!
    Best of health,
    Dr. Janet

  • lena Zullo

    Would I follow the same 10 steps for lowering trycliceride, because the doctor told me that they are a little on the high side.Please advise!

    Thanks,

    Lena

  • http://www.DrJanet.com Dr. Janet

    Dear Lena:

    All of the steps in my book, Cholesterol DOWN, have scientific evidence showing that they each target (or lower) “bad” LDL cholesterol.

    Triglycerides are a whole different ballgame and are not addressed in my book.

    That said, here are some helpful hints on how to lower triglycerides without prescription medication:

    1. Lose weight (if you are overweight).
    2. Take fish pills. Fish pills contain omega-3 fatty acids (long-chain EPA and DHA) which have been scientifically proven to lower triglyceride levels. I would highly recommend the prescription fish pills (called Lovaza) as they are regulated under the FDA. I suggest that you take them under your doctor’s supervision.

    Best of health,

    Dr. Janet

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    My annual checkup a few months ago revealed an ‘elevated’ cholesterol level, so I’m trying to limit my intake of high-LDL foods. That said, I read the nutritional information on packaging and it’s surprising how few manufacturers will actually own up to their products having any cholesterol in them at all!

  • http://www.DrJanet.com Dr. Janet

    Dear Dr. Dreadful:

    First off, I hope that I can help you get your CHOLESTEROL DOWN so that at your next doctor visit, he/she will refer to you not as Dr. Dreadful, but as “Dr. Healthful!”

    To simplify things for you, I suggest that you read a copy of my book, Cholesterol DOWN, which will provide an easy-to-follow outline for exactly which foods (and in what amount) you should be trying to consume daily. These are regular, inexpensive and certainly not dangerous foods that are available at your local grocery store (apples, almonds, oatmeal, etc.). What’s more, you won’t need to read the label and worry about the cholesterol level in these foods. Each targets “bad” cholesterol, and when combined together on a daily basis, will significantly lower your LDL cholesterol. Combine this healthy eating prescription with daily light exercise and you should see miraculous results.

    Best of health,

    Dr. Janet

  • http://www.kardeanutrition.com Rob at Kardea Nutrition

    Hi All

    I certainly live the recommendations in Cholesterol Down, and I have been able to lower my LDLs by 20% and raise my HDLs by 10%–in 4 months. I am confident that there are more improvements to come.

    The challenge, of course, is that we start with a belief that life should be lived well, and good food is an important part of living life well.

    In this light, I founded Kardea Nutrition to deliver great tasting, natural foods and high quality supplements that support the recommendations of Cholesterol Down. Beyond our products, we are looking for innovative recipes and solutions to incorporate natural cholesterol management into one’s day-to-day habit. If you have solution, jump on to our blogsite. Kardea launches its products through its online store on February 25.

  • http://www.DrJanet.com Dr. Janet

    Dear Rob:

    Thank you for your kind comments regarding my approach to good health and longevity. I completely agree with you that life should be lived well and that good-tasting, healthy and nutritious food plays a large role in the “living well” equation.

    My tagline sums up my thoughts on the topic and I believe all Americans should take heed!

    Eat Healthy. Exercise. Live Better.

    Warmest regards,

    Dr. Janet

  • Karen

    I’ve studied your book, purchased the food & products, ready to begin (fully) my first 4 weeks.

    #1 – Oatmeal: OK to sometimes eat it with NO liquid? OK to pour the instant pouch over fruit?

    #2 – Need help with adding so much fiber & surviving the inevitable BLOAT discomfort. Book says add it “gradually”, but is there a product to take with meals that would remedy that & be OK — would not interfere with the fiber’s “work” ?

    #3 – Is it possible this should be adjusted for one’s size? Frankly, just the food in the 10 steps is more than I can eat; much less round it out with fruit & veg & snacks. I’m 5’4″ & 116#. There are not enough hours in the day for all that food; especially given that all the fiber kills appetite. Yet, I need LDL results!

    #4 – With no family history issues, age 55, how “serious” is my problem in your expert opinion:
    TOTAL 234. HDL 91. LDL 122. TRI 107. RATIO 2.57

    Thank you for your book, Dr Brill… Brilliant!

  • http://www.DrJanet.com Dr. Janet

    Dear Karen:

    Thank you very much for your interest in my book, Cholesterol DOWN.

    Regarding your questions:

    I’ve studied your book, purchased the food & products, ready to begin (fully) my first 4 weeks.

    Wonderful!

    #1 – Oatmeal: OK to sometimes eat it with NO liquid? OK to pour the instant pouch over fruit?

    Perfectly OK.. If using instant, be sure to add back some oat bran to bring the soluble fiber back up.

    #2 – Need help with adding so much fiber & surviving the inevitable BLOAT discomfort. Book says add it “gradually”, but is there a product to take with meals that would remedy that & be OK — would not interfere with the fiber’s “work” ?

    I think that you mean “Beano” which is perfectly fine to use. Anything that helps you to adjust to the high fiber intake is a good thing.

    #3 – Is it possible this should be adjusted for one’s size? Frankly, just the food in the 10 steps is more than I can eat; much less round it out with fruit & veg & snacks. I’m 5’4″ & 116#. There are not enough hours in the day for all that food; especially given that all the fiber kills appetite. Yet, I need LDL results!

    How about substituting supplements for food such as Cholest-OFF for the plant sterols and Metamucil for the psyllium seed husk? If you make the oatmeal with soy milk and flax and top with sliced almonds then you only have an apple left along with using some garlic in cooking…not so much food!

    #4 – With no family history issues, age 55, how “serious” is my problem in your expert opinion:
    TOTAL 234. HDL 91. LDL 122. TRI 107. RATIO 2.57

    WOW! Excellent HDL!! I would still try to get your LDL down to under 100 mg/dL–the “optimal” number for preventing heart disease–according to the American Heart Association.

    Thank you for your book, Dr Brill… Brilliant!

    THANK YOU! Best wishes in getting, and keeping, your Cholesterol DOWN.

    Dr. Janet

  • Karen

    Dr. Janet,
    Thanks so much for your (quick!) reply. Just want to be sure I understand your directions:

    “How about substituting supplements for food such as Cholest-OFF for the plant sterols and Metamucil for the psyllium seed husk? If you make the oatmeal with soy milk and flax and top with sliced almonds then you only have an apple left along with using some garlic in cooking…not so much food!”

    Yes, I purchased the Metamucil & Cholest-OFF & Kyolic as food subs(!) … but perhaps you’ve made a change to the “prescription” or my “size” was the difference. Did you mean only 1 cup of soy milk is enough soy protein ( vs book’s 10grams TWICE a day ) and ok to drop the daily 1/2 cup beans?

    Also, your comment: “WOW! Excellent HDL!!” My question: What in your nutrition research keeps HDL high? I want to be sure and not omit those foods and possibly lose that protection.

    Thank you in advance for a follow-up reply!

  • http://www.DrJanet.com Dr. Janet

    Karen,

    No, I haven’t changed the 10 step prescription. I forgot to mention the beans and additional soy. In a perfect world you should aim for getting in all 10 steps, every day. If you can’t manage all the food, then do what you can.

    As far as HDL, keep on exercising (the volume of aerobic exercise preformed relates to the level of HDL). Also, not smoking, losing weight if overweight and drinking a daily glass of red wine helps raise HDL. Niacin raises HDL but should only be taken under a doctor’s supervision as there are side effects.

    All the best,

    Dr. Janet

  • Karen

    Dear Dr. Janet,

    It worked! Amazing results!! Although I requested another lab after 1 month on your plan, my doctor said/insisted “It takes at least 2 months of eating differently to see any kind of result” — so my lab order was for after 2 months on the plan.

    Results as follows:
    TOTAL down 25% from 234 to 176 today.
    LDL down 33% from 122 to 81 today.
    HDL down from 91 to 75 today;but still >50
    TRI down from 107 to 98
    RATIO down from 2.57 to 2.35

    I will continue with your 10 steps for life (literally!) and will tell all of my friends & family to BUY THE BOOK and DO IT!

    If there’s any detail you would like to know from my experience, please just ask, happy to reply!

    THANK YOU again and again!!
    Karen

  • Lynda

    By following the guidelines in this book, I was able to do exactly what it said it would! I lowered by total cholesterol from 242 to 218. My doc was amazed…as was I! I have kept my numbers down for 6 months. This book has now been recommended by my doc to other patients.