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What to Eat to Get the Most Benefit From Statins

Relying on statins alone to lower your LDL cholesterol levels won’t do the trick.

What to Eat to Get the Most Benefit From Statins

When Egyptian Mohamed Elshorbagy became the #1 squash player in the world, did his life-long Mediterranean diet give him an edge? We’re betting it did. The plant-centric, fiber-rich diet that includes healthy oils, legumes, cereals, fish, lean proteins and not much meat or dairy, provides what you need to have a healthy heart and very agile muscles and bones.

But you don’t have to be a competitive athlete to reap the amazing benefits of the Mediterranean diet. If you have had a heart attack or stroke and are taking a statin to help lower your lousy LDL cholesterol levels and avoid a future blockage or clot, the Med diet can help save your life.

Unfortunately, many folks who take a statin think it’s a green light for eating inflammatory, high-sat-fat foods. One study in JAMA Internal Medicine found caloric and fat intake increases significantly (9.6 percent and 14.4 percent respectively) over time for folks taking statins!

If that’s you, cut it out and listen up! In a new study in the International Journal of Cardiology, Italian researchers found combining statins with the Mediterranean diet reduces body-wide inflammation big time. That’s good news if you’ve previously had a cardiovascular event because if you’ve got a lot of inflammation, your risk of premature death doubles!

So, squash that impulse to rely on your statin to provide complete protection from another heart attack or stroke. It can’t do it alone. You need to upgrade your diet to downgrade your risk. Keep track of your diet and your cholesterol levels with the Sharecare app, available for iOS and Android.

Medically reviewed in November 2019.

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