Natural Remedies For High Cholesterol

Natural Remedies For High Cholesterol

Cholesterol does a lot right for your body. It helps digest fat, synthesizes Vitamin D, maintains cell membranes, and produces sex hormones - but it’s better known for what is does wrong, which is clog arteries and set the stage for heart attacks and strokes.

More than 100 million Americans have elevated blood levels of cholesterol, which means half the adult population is at risk for developing cardiovascular disease. You, too, could be in that risk pool, especially if you have a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease, or stroke, or if your cholesterol rises as you age.

Fortunately, there are natural remedies for high cholesterol that you can do to reduce that risk, including changing your diet, exercising more, and taking supplements. For many people these natural remedies for high cholesterol are just as effective at improving cholesterol levels as taking medication, according to Mimi Guarneri, M.D., medical director of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in La Jolla, California.

Not all changes you make will automatically lower your cholesterol. Some things, says Guarneri, are beyond your control. “As you age, your liver starts producing more cholesterol in an effort to boost declining levels of sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone.”

Natural remedies for cholesterol start with your diet. Food is still your best medicine when it comes to lowering cholesterol and preventing plaque buildup. To maximize the nutrients in your diet, fill up on fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains such as bulgur, brown rice, and multigrain products.

Also, choose vegetarian sources of protein such as edamame, lentils, beans, nonfat milk, cheese, and other dairy products. If you eat fish, choose those high in omega 3’s, such as wild salmon, wild trout, and sardines.

In a 2006 review in the Journal of the American Medical Association, evidence from several epidemiological studies clearly showed that eating fish packed with omega 3 fatty acids once or twice a week can decrease your risk of dying from a heart attack by up to 36 percent.

When cooking, replace butter with olive oil, canola oil, and nut oils that are rich in monounsaturated fats, the type of fat that helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol.

Sugars, especially table and refined sugars used in processed foods, also create plaque buildup, because the body uses them to produce fats called triglycerides, which make it easier for small LDL (bad) particles to stick to blood vessel walls. “No cardiologist focuses only on cholesterol anymore,” says Guarneri. “Triglycerides are just as much a risk factor as cholesterol.”

Experts at the National Cholesterol Education Program say that being overweight can increase your total cholesterol and triglyceride levels and keep your protective HDL’s at a low level. Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your weight is one of the other another natural remedies for high cholesterol.

Don't just focus on avoiding saturated fat. Eat high-fiber and phytochemical rich foods and you might lower blood cholesterol as much as if you took a statin drug.

A study by an international team of researchers (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2005) reported that nearly a third of the people who ate a diet rich in soy, oats, nuts, certain high-fiber vegetables and margarine fortified with plant sterols lowered their cholesterol by a surprising 20 percent.

Get moving. Being sedentary has much of the same effect on cholesterol and triglyceride levels as being overweight. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found that another natural remedy of high cholesterol is exercise. All exercise was shown to improve improves cholesterol and triglyceride levels in both men and women.

A 2002 study in the American Journal of Cardiology reported that when subjects who were following a low cholesterol, low saturated fat diet, added 30 minutes of aerobic and free weight exercises to their daily routines, 89 percent lowered their total cholesterol. Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Natural Remedies For High Cholesterol –
Reduce Tension

A 2005 study published in Health Psychology found that a long-term effect of mental stress can be an increase in total cholesterol. Study participants with the greatest emotional response to stress were three times more likely to have high LDL levels than those who were able to cope with stress.

Guarneri, who uses meditation, breath work, and yoga in her practice, has seen patients reduce their dosage of cholesterol-lowering medication after learning to manage stress.

Supplements -
Natural Remedies For High Cholesterol

Mentioned earlier, omega 3 fatty acids have been proven to reduce triglyceride levels by as much as 30 percent, according to a 1997 review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Omega 3 supplements are made from fish oils or flaxseed.

Plant sterols are substances derived from vegetable products that interfere with the absorption of cholesterol and can lower cholesterol levels by as much as 13 percent.

In order to help people get the health benefits of vegetables, without actually eating them, vegetable supplements are becoming increasingly popular.

Made from dehydrated vegetables, dried vegetables and fruits or juice concentrates, these supplements may be able to fill in the gaps created by personal preference and seasonal availability.

Whole food supplements are the natural choice for people who want the total components of vegetables and who don't have the time to always eat healthy.

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