Statins are medications designed to lower cholesterol. There are various foods which contain natural statins or statin-like properties. These have been clinically shown to help lower bad cholesterol just as well or almost as well as many prescription medications. Foods may include certain dairy products, whole grains, almonds and other nuts, fatty fish, pure sugar cane, apple cider vinegar, and many vegetables.
Many sources of protein may act as natural statins when eaten regularly. These can include almonds and some other nuts, as well as fatty fish like salmon or tilapia. They seem to function thanks to their naturally high levels of fiber, in the case of nuts, and stenols. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish and certain lentils, have also proven beneficial in cholesterol management. Since almonds and other nuts are high in calories, they should be eaten in moderation.
Pure sugar cane and apple cider vinegar both have substances which have been shown to lower bad cholesterol. It is not fully understood how these substances work, although it is believed sugar cane has plant stenols similar to many whole grains and vegetables. The acid content in apple cider vinegar may be responsible for its heart-healthy benefits, although not enough research has been conducted on its medicinal properties to know for sure.
Foods that are high in fiber have also been shown to significantly reduce cholesterol levels. These can include whole grains, apples, potato skins, oats, and flaxseed. Refined carbohydrates do not have the same benefits since they have been heavily processed and most of the beneficial fiber has been removed. Examples of refined carbohydrates include white bread, baked goods, and enriched pasta. Taking an over the counter fiber supplement may also be beneficial.
Certain dairy products, mainly low-fat milk and yogurt, have been fortified with plant stenols to provide natural statins to these foods. They may be added in the cow's diet or during the packaging process. Certain other dairy products, like some cheeses, may also have them added. Tofu and tofu containing products may also act as natural statins.
There may also be supplements containing certain herbs and vitamins which have been proven to lower high cholesterol. Most of these have not been heavily studied, but there is generally no harm in using them. Before beginning any natural treatments, it is advised that patients speak with a health care professional to determine the best course of action for their condition.