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Whole Grain Benefits

What Is the Portfolio Diet, and Does It Lower Cholesterol?



If you’ve been encouraged to improve your cholesterol levels, you may have heard of the Portfolio Diet.

This is a eating pattern that is said to lower cholesterol levels. Unlike most other diets, it doesn’t have strict rules or restrictions on what foods you should eat or avoid.

Instead, it focuses on a few key ingredients that have been shown to support healthy cholesterol levels.

This article takes a closer look at the Portfolio Diet, including what it is, how it works, and whether it is effective.

The Portfolio Diet was developed by Dr. David JA Jenkins, a British doctor who is also credited with developing the concept of the glycemic index (GI).

The plan is designed to lower cholesterol and promote heart health by adding certain cholesterol lowering foods to your diet.

In particular, the diet focuses on four main ingredients:

  • Soy protein
  • Plant sterols
  • nuts
  • soluble fiber

According to the plan’s proponents, consuming more of these foods can lower your cholesterol levels significantly to help protect against heart disease.


The Portfolio Diet is a diet plan designed to lower your cholesterol levels by adding more soy protein, plant sterols, nuts, and soluble fiber to your diet.

The concept of the portfolio diet is simple. Simply replace certain foods in your diet with other ingredients that have been shown to lower cholesterol.

For example, replace meat and dairy products with soy protein like tofu, tempeh, soy milk, and soy-based delicacies or burgers.

Instead of butter, the Portfolio Diet recommends using margarine fortified with plant sterols. Plant sterols are naturally occurring plant compounds that have been shown to reduce the absorption of cholesterol by the body (1).

Your diet should also include at least one serving of tree nuts a day, such as almonds, walnuts, or pistachios.

In addition, the portfolio diet promotes foods high in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a thick, gel-like substance in your digestive tract. It can improve digestion, lower cholesterol, and reduce blood sugar spikes (2).

Fruits, vegetables, oats, legumes, and flax seeds are some examples of foods that are high in soluble fiber.

Here is how much of each component you should be eating per day:

  • Soy protein: 35 grams
  • Plant sterols: 2 grams
  • Nuts: 1 handful or about 23 almonds
  • Soluble fiber: 18 grams

If you’re struggling to get enough soluble fiber or plant sterols through your diet, you can also consider a psyllium or plant sterol supplement.


The Portfolio Diet encourages you to swap out certain foods in your diet for cholesterol-lowering alternatives.

The Portfolio Diet promotes many foods that can help lower cholesterol levels.

Food to eat

With this diet, try to consume multiple servings of foods each day that are high in soluble fiber, plant sterols, and soy protein, including nutrient-dense options like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

Here are some examples of foods you should eat while on the portfolio diet:

  • Fruit: Avocados, pears, apples, oranges, bananas, kiwi, peaches
  • Vegetables: Okra, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beets
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, macadamias, cashews, pistachios
  • Seed: Flax seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds
  • Full grain: Oats, quinoa, brown rice, barley
  • Legumes: black beans, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, lima beans
  • Soy protein: Tofu, tempeh, soy milk, soy cold cuts, soy veggie burgers
  • Healthy fats: Margarine and vegetable oils enriched with vegetable sterols

In addition to the foods listed above, your diet encourages the use of certain nutritional supplements, including psyllium fiber and plant sterols.

Food to avoid

The Portfolio Diet does not remove foods from your diet or specify which ingredients should be restricted. Still, avoiding certain foods can maximize the potential heart health benefits.

Here are some foods to limit or avoid on the portfolio diet:

  • Processed foods: French fries, pretzels, fried foods, ready meals, french fries, processed meat meat
  • Refined Carbohydrates: white pasta, white rice, white bread, tortillas
  • Sweets: Cookies, cakes, candies, baked goods
  • Sugar: Table sugar, honey, maple syrup, brown sugar
  • Beverages: Lemonade, sweet tea, sports drinks, energy drinks


The Portfolio Diet promotes nutritious whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. While there are no guidelines as to which foods to avoid, it can be beneficial to limit your intake of added sugars and highly processed foods.

All four ingredients recommended in the portfolio diet have been shown to reduce cholesterol:

  • Plant sterols. Research suggests that consuming just 1.5–3 grams of plant sterols per day could lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels by up to 12% (1).
  • Soluble fiber. Studies show that soluble fiber can lower total and LDL cholesterol (bad) cholesterol by 5-10%. This may be due to its ability to decrease the amount of cholesterol absorbed into your bloodstream (3).
  • Soy. Not only has soy protein been shown to lower cholesterol, but studies show that other compounds found in soy can benefit other aspects of heart health (4).
  • Nuts. According to a large review of 61 studies, consuming more tree nuts could help lower total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides (5).

Several studies have found that the portfolio diet can lower cholesterol levels.

For example, one review rated the effectiveness of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) portfolio diet and Step II diet – a program that limits your intake of fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol from food (6).

The combination of the two diets lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol, inflammation, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure – all of which are risk factors for heart disease – more than the NCEP Step II diet alone (6).

In another study, people with high cholesterol who followed the Portfolio Diet for 6 months experienced significant reductions in both total and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol (7)) compared to a control group.

Additionally, a 2005 study found that the Portfolio Diet was just as effective as statins – cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs – in lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Both methods lowered LDL cholesterol to below 3.4 mmol / L, which is considered healthy (8).


Several studies have found that the portfolio diet can significantly lower cholesterol and improve several other risk factors for heart disease.

The Portfolio Diet can be difficult to follow in some cases, especially if you are used to eating a lot of processed foods and meats.

Since there are no strict rules or restrictions on what foods you can or cannot eat, it may not be a suitable option if you prefer a more structured eating plan with clear directions.

Since the diet is only intended to lower your cholesterol, consider trying a different plan if you are also looking to lose weight or improve other aspects of your health.

It is also not suitable for people with an allergy to soy or nuts, as both are important parts of the diet.

Additionally, the diet focuses on what foods you should be eating and doesn’t consider other factors that affect your cholesterol levels, such as getting the right amount of sleep, getting regular exercise, and managing your stress levels (9, 10, 11).

Therefore, combining the portfolio diet with other healthy habits can be a better way to maximize your results.


This diet isn’t ideal if you’re looking for clear directions, have certain food allergies, or want to improve other aspects of your health. It only focuses on foods to eat and doesn’t take into account any other factors that affect cholesterol levels.

Here is a sample 3-day menu for the Portfolio Diet:

day one

  • Breakfast: Muesli with soy milk and blueberries
  • Having lunch: Fry with tofu and vegetables
  • Dinner: Soy veggie burger with broccoli and roasted potato wedges
  • Snacks: Almonds, fruit and soy yogurt

Day two

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with walnuts, cinnamon and sliced ​​bananas
  • Having lunch: Sesame tempeh with brown rice and Brussels sprouts
  • Dinner: Whole grain sandwich with soy deli slices and vegetables
  • Snacks: Edamame hummus with carrots

Day three

  • Breakfast: Smoothie with spinach, fruit, soy milk and soy protein powder
  • Having lunch: stuffed peppers with black beans, vegetables and soy sprinkles
  • Dinner: Buddha bowl with baked tofu, avocados, kale and sweet potatoes
  • Snacks: Trail mix with nuts, pumpkin seeds and dried fruits


The sample menu above offers some ideas for meals, drinks, and snacks to enjoy while on the portfolio diet.

The Portfolio Diet is a plan designed to lower your cholesterol levels by adding certain foods to your diet.

Studies show that it can help lower cholesterol and improve other risk factors for heart disease.

However, it may not be suitable for those who have dietary restrictions, want to lose weight, or prefer a more structured eating plan.

Whole Grain Benefits

Running 3 Miles a Day: Benefits and Starting Out



No matter where it is on your list of favorite exercises, running is a great way to get in shape and meet fitness goals.

But if you’re not a marathon runner, you’re probably looking for a distance that is achievable without missing that window of effectiveness. 3 miles a day can be considered a nice sweet spot, even for moderate runners.

Here’s a look at the potential benefits of a regular running routine and what 3 miles a day can bring you.

Even if you HATE running, you have to admit that there are some nice benefits to it.

Cardio endurance

Running is a top class cardiovascular endurance activity. It helps you maintain increased breathing and heart rate for an extended period of time. Over time, this can increase endurance, reduce fatigue, and improve heart and lung function.

Also, there is a chance that running with the Reg can extend your lifespan. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. According to a 2015 study, running for 5 to 10 minutes a day is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and death. So making a habit of 3 miles a day can’t hurt if you are able to.

Strength training

Cardio gets a lot of recognition, but running also offers restorative benefits. It activates a whole host of leg muscles, including your quads, hamstrings, and calves. You will also feel the burning sensation in your buttocks, back and stomach.

You should also consider adding some resistance training to your workout. Research has shown that it can help improve your running performance and reduce your risk of injury. So it should gradually get easier to do your 3 miles every day.

Strengthens the bones (maybe)

Running is a stress exercise, which means it can help bone health. According to a 2019 study, running is more effective than walking for increasing bone density in healthy adults and children. But we definitely need more research to prove this 10/10.

Basically, your 3 miles a day can put real strain on your bones to promote strength.

Burns calories

Running is a super effective way to burn calories. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a 154-pound person burns about 295 calories if they jog at 5 mph for 30 minutes. A very general rule is that you are burning around 100 calories per mile. However, the exact amount of calories burned depends on:

All terrain containers affect the amount of calories you burn on your runs. In general, you burn more calories on harder terrain than on clean, flat surfaces due to the amount of energy you have to exert. Your joints and muscles work extra hard to keep your body upright and in balance.

The incline is also very important. According to a 2018 study, walking on an incline promotes peroneal strength, which could help with weaker ankles. You can also burn more calories while walking uphill.

Dwight Schrute says, “If you want to win, you have to fuel up like a winner.” And NGL, Dwight is right. If you stay hydrated and keep track of your diet, you can get the most out of your runs.

Before your run

Try to have a balanced meal 3 to 4 hours before your 5 mile run. The ideal meal should be high in carbohydrates, low in protein, and low in fat. By the way, the ACSM recommends drinking 17 to 20 ounces of water with this meal. But you might want to drink more when it’s super hot outside.

Snack attack: You should have a snack about 30 minutes before your run. Just be sure to keep it small to avoid indigestion or nausea. A banana, peanut butter crackers, or half an energy bar are good choices.

During your run

Studies show that your glycogen stores can be depleted within 1 to 2 hours of running. For longer runs, you should refuel with snacks such as energy drinks, protein bars, energy gels, nuts or dried fruits.

Since your run is 3 miles long, you should have a good idea of ​​how much fuel you are using pretty quickly. But no matter how long your run is, always stay hydrated during your workout. Dehydration is not a joke!

After your run

Post-workout diet is critical to recovery and results. A mix of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins is best. Here are a few delicious examples:

One of the greatest advantages of running is that you don’t need fancy gear. But you still have to equip yourself.

Your ongoing shopping list should include:

Running off the beaten track should always have a way to get in touch with someone in an emergency. To be on the safe side, you should also have a portable GPS tracker and whistle with you. For more information, see our guide to trail running.

SPF PSA: Don’t forget sunscreen (even on cloudy days)!

Running 3 miles in the regatta is a great way to burn calories. It will also help you increase your strength and cardiovascular endurance. Keep in mind that it can take you some time to develop enough stamina to hit the 3 mile mark. So be patient with the process and stick with it. You can do it.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Should You Eat or Avoid Peanut Butter Before Bed?



If you’re craving a midnight snack, peanut butter is a tempting choice because of its rich taste, creamy texture, and sweet and salty taste.

Thanks to its impressive nutritional profile, some health advocates recommend eating peanut butter at night to support muscle growth, stabilize blood sugar levels, and improve the quality of sleep.

However, it is also high in calories per serving, so you might be wondering if consuming this filling food before bed leads to weight gain.

This article explains whether eating peanut butter before bed leads to weight gain.

Peanut butter is a high-calorie food that is high in heart-healthy fats. Just 2 tablespoons (32 grams) provides 204 calories and 16 grams of fat (1, 2).

Therefore, it is a great food item for a healthy balanced diet, but large amounts can increase your daily caloric intake. If you eat more calories during the day than you burn, you can gain weight in the long run (3).

Even so, weight gain depends on many factors including age, height, activity level, health status, and total caloric intake.

In fact, you can eat peanut butter as part of a diet for either weight loss or weight gain, depending on what else you eat during the day.


Peanut butter is high in heart-healthy fats and calories, which means overeating before bed can lead to weight gain.

Research into the relationship between eating late and weight gain has produced mixed results.

Weight gain possible

Some studies suggest that eating large amounts of food late at night interferes with weight loss and increases body weight. However, other factors may also play a role, including overall diet quality, how long you sleep, and other habits such as skipping breakfast (4, 5, 6).

On the flip side, some research suggests that eating at night may not directly lead to weight gain, but may be linked to eating habits and lifestyle behaviors that contribute to weight gain, including increased snacks, skipped breakfast, and decreased dietary diversity (7, 8, 9.). ).

Benefits for muscle growth and metabolism

Interestingly, several studies have found that consuming a healthy snack like peanut butter before bed can have health benefits.

According to one review, consuming a small, high-protein nighttime snack may improve overnight muscle protein synthesis, morning metabolism, and feelings of satiety in healthy men (10).

Another small study of active college-aged men found that consuming a good source of protein before bed increased their metabolism the next morning (11).

Still, specific research on peanut butter is needed.


The results on the effects of eating late at night have been mixed. While this habit may be linked to weight gain, studies also show that having a healthy snack at night can increase fullness, muscle growth, and metabolism, especially in men.

Peanut butter is a good source of many nutrients, including niacin, magnesium, heart-healthy fats, and vitamins B6 and E (1).

Its antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease (12).

It’s also high in protein, containing over 7 grams in every 2-tablespoon (32 grams) serving (1).

Increasing protein intake can reduce food cravings and regulate your appetite. In addition, adequate protein intake supports muscle growth, wound healing, and healthy growth and development (13, 14).

Peanuts are also a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid that can improve the quality of sleep (15, 16).

Also, your body uses tryptophan to produce compounds like serotonin and melatonin, both of which are also important in regulating sleep (17, 18).

Although there is no research on the effects of peanut butter on sleep, studies link foods rich in tryptophan with improved sleep quality (19, 20).

Therefore, eating peanut butter or other foods containing tryptophan before bed can help reduce sleep problems.


Peanut butter is very nutritious and high in protein, which reduces food cravings and promotes muscle growth. It also contains tryptophan, which can improve the quality of sleep.

The next time you crave a midnight snack, think about your health goals before reaching for that jar of peanut butter.

If you’re trying to lose weight, consider lower-calorie snacks like hummus, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, or fresh fruit instead.

However, if you’re trying to gain weight, build muscle, boost your metabolism, or improve the quality of your sleep, a snack with a spoonful of peanut butter can be a good choice as it provides essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, minerals, and a healthy heart, fats and Tryptophan.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Dietitian shares the ‘power nutrient’ she eats to live longer—that 95% of Americans don’t get enough of



The benefits of fiber

As a nutritionist, I always tell people that fiber – the kind you get from foods rather than supplements – is an essential fuel.

Adequate fiber intake has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, certain gastrointestinal disorders, and type 2 diabetes, researchers have found.

There is also evidence that the benefits of fiber go beyond a specific disease: eating more of it can lower people’s death rate. Even the diets of residents of the Blue Zones, the places on earth where people live longest, include fiber as a basic nutrient, especially in foods like black beans, chickpeas, and lentils.

A study by the National Institutes of Health found that people who consumed more fiber, especially from grains, had a significantly lower risk of death over a nine-year period than those who consumed less fiber.

The analysis included approximately 388,000 participants who were in a larger NIH-AARP diet and health study and who were between 50 and 71 years old at the start of the study.

How Much Fiber Should You Consume?

How to Increase Your Fiber Intake

The body does not break down fiber. Instead, it passes the body undigested and helps regulate the body’s sugar consumption and helps keep hunger and blood sugar in check.

According to researchers at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, there are two types of fiber: soluble fiber, which can help lower glucose levels, as well as lowering blood cholesterol, and insoluble fiber, which can help move through your digestive system , promotes regularity and helps prevent constipation.

While you can easily take a fiber supplement, you will end up missing out on all of the other vitamins and minerals that whole foods provide.

The best sources of fiber are whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts.

Here are five high fiber foods I include in my diet for healthier, longer lives – along with simple ways to enjoy them:

1. Avocados

Fiber: 10 grams per cup, sliced


Loren Klein | Twenty20

In addition to their fiber content, avocados are high in healthy monounsaturated fat, which has been linked to improving heart health.

Avocados are so versatile and their uses extend beyond simple dishes like guacamole. I usually add something to my smoothies, which creates a creamy, thick texture. Or instead of butter or mayonnaise, I smear a few slices on toasted bread.

2. raspberries

Fiber: 8 grams per cup


Katherine | Twenty20

Raspberries also provide a handful of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They also have a lower glycemic index, which means they don’t raise blood sugar levels.

A 2017 study found that consuming fresh fruit, especially raspberries, every day can lower your risk of developing diabetes by 12%.

You can have a handful as a quick snack or get creative and add some acid to your salads. And to satisfy my sweet tooth, nothing beats yogurt with raspberries and crispy oats.

3. Lenses

Fiber: 21 grams per cup


Ilona Shorokhova | Twenty20

Lentils have an impressive amount of fiber per serving and are also an excellent source of protein (around 47 grams per cup), making them an ideal choice for filling meals.

Research suggests that consuming 150 grams of lentils daily may help improve blood lipid levels, blood pressure, and inflammation.

Lentils are delicious in a hearty soup or stew, but I think they go as well as protein in salads and tacos. If I want to reduce my meat consumption, I make lentil cakes for lunch or dinner.

4. Oats

Fiber: 8 grams per cup

Oats are a gluten-free whole grain that contains fiber and other important nutrients, including iron, zinc, and magnesium. They can also help you manage your blood sugar, heart health, and even weight, studies have shown.

For breakfast, oats can be used as a grain substitute in muffins and pancakes. For heartier dishes like meatballs, I like to use them as breadcrumbs.

5. Chia seeds

Fiber: 10 grams per ounce

Chia seeds

Anna | Twenty20

Even a small amount of chia seeds has many health benefits. They’re also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to improvements in brain and heart health.

These tiny seeds can be sprinkled in smoothies, oatmeal, and salads. They gel when placed in liquid so you can easily make homemade jam with the berries of your choice.

Lauren Armstrong is a nutritionist and nutrition coach. She was also a nutritionist for The Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program. Lauren received her bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Western Michigan University and has written for several publications, including Livestrong and HealthDay.

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