Portfolio Diet is a specialized diet designed for those people who have increased levels of plasma cholesterol as a result of which their portfolio may suffer adversely.
This diet emphasizes using a portfolio of foods or food components that have found to associate with cholesterol lowering effect. The Portfolio Diet is typically a vegetarian diet. It almost limits or prevents the intake of meat, poultry, fish and dairy. It also restricts the intake of sweets.
Thus the diet becomes very low in saturated fat and fat as a whole. The diet in itself is not reducing because if well planned with sufficient food intake, it may provide calories as high as 1800-2000 per day.
The Portfolio Diet is a good diet option not only for those who want to lower their cholesterol level but also for those who wish to lose weight and/or control diabetes as well. Though it limits the food choices but is quite easy to be followed for the vegetarians in particular.
Portfolio diet is designed to be high in fiber with the inclusion of foods like whole grain cereals, multigrain flour and their products, fresh fruits and vegetables, pulses and legumes and nuts like almonds and walnuts. Fiber may also be incorporated in the diet by using the psyllium available in the market as fiber supplement.
Fat like cholesterol lowering margarine and olive oil or sunflower or soybean oil may be used for cooking.
Decision to follow such a diet should be based on your own choice and suitability, as well as consultation with your doctor. If your total cholesterol level is high, a combination of diet and exercise would help you and if these don’t work you should consider medication.
For a vegetarian, the Portfolio diet may seem easy but for one who is accustomed of eating meat, poultry, fish, and dairy, it could be harsh. Moreover fish and low-fat or nonfat dairy products have their own cardiovascular benefits.
While low-fat diets help lower total cholesterol, they may also lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol. The plus point of a Portfolio diet is that it does not lower HDL. But it doesn’t raise it, either (no diet raises it significantly). So if you have low HDL below 40 for a man, 50 for a woman—this diet won’t solve the problem. In contrast, some cholesterol-lowering drugs need to be taken which may raise HDL by 10% or so. Regular aerobic exercise also boosts HDL.
If you stick to a diet consisting chiefly of vegetables and beans with a dose of psyllium at every meal then this may be the eating plan for you. But if your cholesterol level is high, make this decision after seeking professional advice and make exercise a part of the program. Psyllium may interact with certain drugs and hence prior consultation should be taken from doctor or pharmacist.
While it is vital that people who have already had a heart attack or stroke to take cholesterol lowering drugs, for many people with no added complications, following this eating plan known as The Portfolio Plan can be very successful.
Sincerity and dedication to stick to the Portfolio diet is required as you may have to change your diet pattern significantly. If once you get used to portfolio diet, it will reap you the benefits of healthy eating. It will make you lose that extra weight, reduce cholesterol and fat levels of your body and prevent the onset of diabetes.
The foods which are included in the portfolio diet are almonds, foods rich in soluble fibers like oats, barley, fruits and vegetables, soya as soya milk, yogurt and tofu.
Almonds are great for vitamin E which is important for a healthy heart. Foods rich in soluble fibre are helpful for their binding property and during their course of travel from stomach to intestine;they bind the available food cholesterol and carry them to be eliminated from the body. Soya beans and soy products give us soya protein which again helps in lowering bad cholesterol.
Portfolio diet also administers lots of water. Smoothies made with light soya milk and lattes and cappuccinos or home made coffee using light soya milk are good choices. Tea made with light soya milk and a small 250 ml serving of pomegranate juice are also good. Try to have tea and coffee without sugar and avoid sugary squashes and fizzy drinks.
Gift yourself a healthy portfolio diet. To get one customized for your specific needs, visit our Thereapeutic Diets section here.