New diagram showing how soluble fibre reduces your LDL cholesterol naturally

I made this simple diagram below to show you one of the most effective mechanisms you can leverage to lower your own cholesterol naturally. If we understand how it’s removed, then we can work on supporting these mechanisms and get our body into a healthy,  low cholesterol zone, without drugs, as I have personally done over the last year since Sept 2011.

Despite that fact that we have all heard non-stop over the last 20 years how bad LDL cholesterol is for us, I don’t think that message is working very well to help people make positive changes. Generally we’re told to cut back on fats, processed foods, sugar etc., which is all good advice, however it’s a bit of a mystery to most of us how a low cholesterol diet actually works in our bodies.

I think it’s incredibly important to really understand the mechanisms that help cholesterol leave our bodies. I think that if we understood how this works, then we can make better food choices in the moment.There are a plethora of foods out there that are part of “low cholesterol diets”, however not all foods work the same way, or have the same level of effect.

The soluble fibre mechanism is a priority method to lower cholesterol naturally. The more soluble fibre the better.

A biochemist at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Pamela Champe, describes bile acids and salts as the only significant mechanisms that remove cholesterol from your body.


I made this diagram to show how a diet full of soluble fibre (or soluble fiber if you’re American) – particularly oatmeal everyday, as well as plentiful apples, and beans, will naturally lower your LDL cholesterol over time. Thanks to SPL and ADAM for the images.

So looking at the diagram, here’s what’s going on (click on the diagram to see it in full size):

  1. A. The liver pulls cholesterol from your bloodstream to make bile, which is then stored in your gallbladder. The bile is squirted out each time you need to digest the fats in food
  2. Normally, 97% of the cholesterol used to make bile is simply returned to your liver, and only a very small percent leaves the body. So the net effect of eating is often that very little cholesterol is lost from your body. But, this can be changed by looking at point B.
  3. B. You can stop the usual recycling of the 97% of cholesterol that is normally returned to your liver for re-use to make bile. How? Eat more soluble fiber. The Mayo Clinic indicates this is signifigant for removing LDL from the arteries.
  4. C. Because less cholesterol is recovered from digestion, the next time your liver needs to make bile, it must remove cholesterol from your bloodstream. Congratulations! You have just successfully removed some net LDL from your bloodstream, getting you closer to your target LDL level.

This is a very clear view that shows you exactly what you need to be eating to reduce your LDL cholesterol levels. If you want to read more, this is an excellent description of the whole cholesterol removal process from eHow, which I’ve excerpted below:

Soluble fiber controls cholesterol levels by trapping dietary cholesterol, removing cholesterol from the body, and slowing the production of cholesterol in the liver. When food enters the intestines the liver releases bile, which is produced from cholesterol, to help with digestion. When the soluble fiber dissolves, it forms a gummy substance that traps dietary cholesterol, and bile, keeping them from entering the blood stream. The body does not absorb this fiber, instead, the unabsorbed mass, and the cholesterol, pass out of the body during defecation. Because the dietary cholesterol and the bile are removed, the body has to use blood cholesterol for its purposes, thereby lowering blood cholesterol levels.

This soluble fibre removal mechanism is the reason why the first 2 posts of my “Eat this Daily” series, are dedicated to:

Here’s to these daily actions on your cholesterol lowering diet! I raise my green smoothie glass to you for reading this, and getting started.