Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Avoiding meat is only one part of the picture. A healthy vegetarian diet should be chock full of foods with known benefits. Within the last 12 months, eight products were tested—some for the first time ever—to see what they would do to our LDL, our bad cholesterol.

Almonds, Cheerios, cola, flax seeds, flax oil, kiwi fruits, red yeast rice, and strawberries. First up, almonds—packed with nutrition, but might they raise our cholesterol? Or, does eating almonds not affect our cholesterol? Or, does eating almonds lower our cholesterol? Almonds lower our cholesterol.

What about the hype about Cheerios? Do they really lower cholesterol? Yes, they do, but they also have a tablespoon of sugar in them, per serving—and that’s before you add extra sugar. We should stick to oatmeal for the best of both worlds.

Obviously, soda is just plain bad for us—but does it actually affect our cholesterol? Only the cola—isn’t that interesting? The other sodas don’t do it; so colas are particularly bad for us.

Flax seeds are a given—definitely lower our cholesterol. But what about flaxseed oil? It doesn’t work. Flax seeds, but not flax seed oil, lower our cholesterol—another reason the ground seeds are better.

Kiwis are definitely a first. No one had ever tested their ability to affect our cholesterol—until now. Two kiwis a day for eight weeks significantly improved cholesterol levels. What a yummy way to help our hearts.

Red yeast rice. It’s actually red mold rice. Moldy rice, a fermented food, prized in Chinese medicine, which can be taken as a supplement. Does it work? Yes, it does—because the red mold actually produces lovastatin, sold for billions of dollars as Mevacor. Just like there’s a mold that makes penicillin, there’s a mold that makes a cholesterol medication. The problem is, by eating the rice, you could have all the side-effects, without the dose standardization.

And finally, speaking of yummy ways to lower our cholesterol, what about strawberries? I wish! Strawberries have all sorts of amazing properties, as I’ve documented over the years, but unfortunately, lowering our cholesterol is not one of them.

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