yogurt; dairy, yogurt for breakfast, special yogurt, Greek yogurt

Many people worry that if their cholesterol gets too high, their doctors will insist that they need a statin to lower it. As a result, they search for alternative ways to lower cholesterol.

One reader found a surprisingly simple solution. We don’t know if it will work for other people, but here is an interesting way to lower cholesterol.

High Cholesterol and Blood Pressure:

Q. Three years ago my blood work showed cholesterol of 292 and my blood pressure was up. My doctor wanted to keep an eye on both.

At my next visit, my cholesterol had dropped 44 points and my blood pressure was down to 120/68. The only change in my life was that I eliminated dairy products. I take a calcium supplement (400 mg) and feel fine.

Are Dairy Products a Problem for Human Health?

I figure that cow’s milk is intended for baby cows. Someone should investigate the possibility that our nation’s overconsumption of milk products could be contributing to health problems such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes and maybe even osteoporosis.

A. Your report is fascinating. We found studies suggesting that cheese (International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, Dec., 2014; Food & Nutrition Research, Aug. 19, 2015) or yogurt (Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, Nov. 4, 2015American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May, 2014) do not raise cholesterol levels. Consequently, your reaction may not generalize to other people.

With regard to blood pressure, the evidence-backed DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is rich in vegetables and fruits and contains plenty of low-fat dairy products. Following such a diet can help lower blood pressure about as well as medication.

On the other hand, it will not hurt you to forego dairy products. Years ago we spoke with Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, chair of nutrition at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. He told us that drinking milk was neither necessary nor particularly helpful in preventing osteoporosis. To learn more about this, you may wish to listen to the interview.

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  1. Ron

    The reader who said he was taking calcium needs to take magnesium along with it or he will increase his risk of blood clots; this was in the news several years ago. Never take calcium without magnesium.

  2. Marion
    Mesquite, TX

    I’m not a milk drinker, but what about Soy milk? Would Soy mild be better than homo milk?

    • Marion

      I would love to get off cholesterol meds, Simvastation. I have a stent in my left artery and the doc insist I need this. What can I di to convince him to do something different?

  3. Laura

    For 15 years I consumed no dairy products because of lactose intolerance. About a year ago, I discovered lactose free milk, cottage cheese, and ice cream. I have added these to my daily foods and have experienced no difference in my cholesterol or blood pressure numbers ~ both tend to be a little high either way, with dairy or without. Sounds like and individual thing to me.

  4. Mary

    I do not think milk is a miracle like the dairy industry would have us believe or a poison like some others spout. We are individuals and maybe listen to our own bodies about what to do.

    I do use half & half in my coffee and a little bit on my oatmeal. I rarely drink any.

  5. Stephanie

    It’s funny what works for some folks has no effect for others. My brother stopped eating bread and all things made with wheat and his cholesterol dropped 22 points in five months. His blood pressure also was lowered. he also lost 10 pounds even though he didn’t need to, he is quite trim for a man in his seventies.

  6. Audrey
    Milan Illinois

    My mother just turned 96 years old. She has had high cholesterol over the years and changes her diet. She gives up any junk food and deserts and sweets and eats a healthy diet and her cholesterol always came down. Remember our bodies create cholesterol because we need it and everyone’s body handles cholesterol differently. It can be controlled by diet and not drugs.
    My mother was doing fabulous until the doctor put her on high blood pressure medication about a year ago which had the side effect of causing confusion. She lost her short term memory and got very depressed. We took her off the drug and once the drug was out of her system her depression went away but she still has memory issues. The doctor talked to her and said she had a stroke but never tested her. I totally disagree…she was fine before she went on the drug. Bottom line…if you want to live a healthy long life, eat healthy and stay off drugs.

    • asd

      mmmmm… I’m not buying it.

  7. Barb

    Home remedies from grandmother that I love…
    For a stubborn wound that is not healing try a *bread & milk poultice
    Use a slice of white bread dip it in regular milk place it over the wound with a layer of plastic wrap leave it on overnight.
    If you are suffer from ***gout try this natural remedy
    It stops the pain instantly.
    Wrap the bread around the toes and hold it with plastic wrap put on socks to hold it in place. This works but I don’t know why if you understand why please share

  8. Mary

    The “one size fits all” answers to problems is disconcerting to me. For my entire life, I drank milk.
    Lots of milk. My blood pressure and cholesterol were fine. As I got older and more sedentary, I stopped drinking milk (cold turkey) because I started gaining weight. That is when I started having issues with higher cholesterol. My blood pressure went up too. It now averages about 143/80.

    • Kassandra

      Mary, I, too, am an enthusiastic milk drinker. I LOVE milk, and would hate to give it up. My BP is fine (118/70) and my cholesterol is around 200 (with very low triglycerides, and high HDL—LDL not so good). For several years my chol. was over 230 and my doctor wanted me on statins, but I reacted very badly. When I cut WAY back on my sugar and carb consumption, but not on my dairy consumption, my cholesterol dropped. Perhaps your increased numbers and weight are not from dairy, but from carbs or even from a new medication. I started on gabapentin a year ago and gained over 20# even though I eat less. Apparently the gabapentin has lowered my metabolism so I’m not burning the calories.

      • fitness
        Jacob Creek

        Actually it’s probably because she became more sedentary. I think Mary even suggested that herself.

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