Those of us with unfavorable cholesterol scores are constantly bombarded with the importance of controlling LDL-HDL levels. Unfortunately, many of the drugs prescribed for cholesterol reduction can have serious side effects such as fatigue, muscle cramps, brain fog, etc. Trying a natural adjustment to your diet may be a better and less risky way to tame the cholesterol beast.
With all the news and warnings about the dangers of high cholesterol, many people view cholesterol as a “bad” substance that should be eliminated completely from our lives. In truth, cholesterol serves some important functions in the body. In order to understand how cholesterol affects the body, one must first understand what cholesterol is.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is attached to the fats in our bloodstream and is present in all of the cells of the body. Cholesterol comes from food that we eat, as well as being manufactured directly by the liver. Cholesterol is an important regulator in the bloodstream, as it helps to regulate the formation of many cells as well as hormones. However, to have too high or too low of a cholesterol count in the blood can be a very dangerous factor, often leading to a heart attack or a stroke. Although cholesterol is prevalent in the blood stream, it cannot dissipate in the blood. The cholesterol maneuvers throughout the body attached to lipids (fats).
Over time, cholesterol builds up on the artery walls and this condition is known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis was thought to be an affliction of the elderly until the 1950′s when American pathologists were sent to Korea by the Pentagon to study the bodies of servicemen who died during the conflict. They autopsied around 2000 soldiers and found that approximately 75% had waxy, yellow deposits on the walls of their arteries; a shocking statistic considering the average age of the soldiers was 21. Their findings astonished the scientific community as it highlighted the onset of heart disease in the very young.
There are two main types of cholesterol. The first type is called LDL cholesterol, and the other is HDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol, otherwise known as low-density lipoprotein, is considered the “dangerous” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol can build up on the artery walls. Over time this plaque build-up blocks blood flow, reducing circulation and causing stress and damage to the heart. This raises blood pressure, and eventually leads to heart disease or a heart attack. Individuals that have higher levels of LDL run a much higher risk of having heart disease. Although LDL is affected by genetics, there are several precautions that individuals can take towards keeping safe LDL levels.
The other form of cholesterol is HDL, or high-density lipoprotein. HDL is considered the “good” cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is important for the body to have as this type of cholesterol helps filter out LDL cholesterol from the lining of the arteries, as well as transporting fat in the bloodstream (triglycerides) to the liver so that it can be excreted from the body. It is believed that even having high levels of HDL is safe, as it can help protect one’s heart from a heart attack or stroke. Low counts of HDL could potentially lead to a heart attack and stroke, however this is rare for people eating a western-style diet, which is typically high in both forms of cholesterol.
Most of the cholesterol in our bodies comes from the foods we eat. Foods high in fats, particularly saturated and trans fats, contribute to high levels of LDL cholesterol. Meat and dairy products are the main sources of LDL cholesterol, while leafy vegetables, fruits, and nuts are more nutritious alternatives that have higher levels of HDL cholesterol. While genetics does play a role in cholesterol levels, a change in diet is the most effective way to lower dangerous cholesterol levels, and reduce your risk of heart disease and associated health problems.
Certain natural substances found in Ardyss, including plant sterols, fish oils, and policosanol have been shown in numerous clinical studies to be highly effective in promoting healthy cholesterol levels, particularly when combined with a healthy diet and exercise. If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, now is the time to make a change, and Vasacor can help.
There are numerous medications on the market today, but for many individuals it is possible to lower cholesterol naturally rather than with drugs. Currently more than 60% of adults over the age of 45 suffer some form of heart or blood related issues, including high cholesterol. To ensure this does not lead to a shorter life or a poorer quality of life, the following steps can be taken:
The use of regular exercise to lower cholesterol naturally has been supported for decades as an effective alternative to pharmaceuticals. Something as simple as walking 30 minutes a night can significantly reduce cholesterol levels in the adult body while 30 minutes of full aerobic exercise 3-4 times a week is ideal for the optimum reduction in LDL and HDL levels.
Low Fat Diet
In conjunction with regular exercise, a low fat diet that contains less than 30% fat with as close to zero saturated fats as possible can help lower cholesterol naturally. Reading labels to ensure you receive the most accurate information as well is recommended as many labels are intentionally misleading. Anything pre-packaged, frozen foods, non-skim dairy products, and red meats, along with any high fat snacks or junk foods are all considered bad additions to a diet designed to reduce cholesterol.
Adding the Right Foods
Foods that are high in fiber, contain lots of garlic, fish oil, or soy, or that are rich in whole grains are considered highly effective in both stopping the effects of high cholesterol and reducing your existing levels. Fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, and whole grains are all good sources of these foods and should be integrated into a lower cholesterol diet as much as possible.
Foods that Lower LDL Cholesterol
There are a number of foods which are believed to significantly lower LDL cholesterol. Fiber-rich foods are said to be particularly beneficial and will not only lower ‘bad’ cholesterol, but also help the bowel to function properly, lowering the risk of colon and bowel cancer. There are many other foods that can help the body fight back against these dangerous deposits.
Fiber-rich foods, particularly oat bran, barley and wheat bran. They can be eaten as a cereal for breakfast and sprinkled onto other foods. Pearl barley can be added to soups. Apples and pears also have considerable amounts of soluble fiber and should be enjoyed on a daily basis.
Beans and pulses are high in fiber and low-fat. They also contain lecithin, a nutrient that lowers cholesterol. Try to incorporate kidney, fava, borlotti and other dried whole-foods into your diet; there are many different types of lentils and pulses that are delicious in soups and stews.
Avocado contains prolific amounts of monounsaturated fat, which helps to reduce LDL cholesterol and has many other health benefits including anti-cancer properties.
Raw carrots are rich in a fiber called pectin that is renowned for minimizing cholesterol. There are a number of fruits that also contain pectin, including; apples, citrus fruits, strawberries, raspberries and other red or black berries.
Shitake mushrooms are widely used by the Japanese and include a compound called lentinan, which not only lowers cholesterol, but is also thought to be anti-cancerous and may help to boost the immune system.
Garlic is a super food and is well known for its blood-thinning properties. It also contains a substance allicin which is thought to prevent the body retaining LDL cholesterol and research has shown that the equivalent of one clove per day can lessen ‘bad’ cholesterol by 10-15% in the majority of people.
Root ginger has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries and has numerous health benefits. It can be added to stir-fry’s (using healthy sesame oil) and other vegetable dishes.
Nuts are naturally high in omega-3 fatty acids and are known to significantly reduce blood cholesterol; walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts and almonds are especially beneficial.
Sesame seeds are rich in phytosterols. These compounds are said to substantially lessen LDL cholesterol. Other foods containing phytosterols include; celery, lettuce, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, ginger, squash and strawberries.
Safflower, canola, soybean, and olive oil are monounsaturated and are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Research indicates that they can decrease atherosclerotic plaque by up to 15% when eaten regularly.
Salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel contain considerable amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which have many health benefits and are essential for brain and eye function.
Prunes are a wonderful source of antioxidants and fiber, which is known to reduce LDL cholesterol.
Alfalfa sprouts contain a substance called saponin, which is thought to obstruct and inhibit the formation of atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries.
If you have high cholesterol or a family tendency towards atherosclerosis it is best to avoid processed and prepared foods, fried food, food containing animal fats or animal products, high-fat dairy products and food containing either saturated fat or trans fats. Research has revealed the key to lowering LDL cholesterol is a healthy, balanced diet that incorporates plenty of soluble fiber and at least five portions of fruit or vegetables a day. This combined with regular cardiovascular exercise should help keep the heart healthy and provide numerous other health benefits as well.
Supplements can also be added to help lower cholesterol naturally. To boost fiber and fatty acid intake, supplements such as Omega-3 in flax seed oil or fish oil along with garlic extracts have been shown to significantly lower cholesterol naturally and without any side effects. Found over the counter in any drug store or natural health store, these supplements are easy to take or mix in with food for significant benefits to a low cholesterol diet.
May I suggest some supplemental all-natural products which help lower cholesterol – Omega 369 and Fiber Balance.
Omega 369 is an ideal formula of Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 essential fatty acids (EFAs), the “good fats” that help support brain and heart, and maintain good health; EFAs contribute to processing of the cell membranes which help your cardiovascular system in balance.
• Help reduce inflammation in the body.
• Help your cardiovascular system in balance.
• Strengthens body.
• Supports healthy heart.
• Optimizes well being.
Our Everyday Health Benefits From Fiber Balance:
The Fiber Balance formula contains all the benefits of our prior fiber products but now Ardyss has provided additional ingredients such as Chromium, Green Tea, and Panax Ginseng , ingredients that may support glucose metabolism.* In addition, there is no added sugar to keep your glycemic levels in mind!
• Helps maintain cholesterol levels that are in normal range*
• Promotes digestive health*
• Strengthens natural resistance and immune system*
• Supports glucose metabolism*
Nutritional Value: http://www.ardyss.com/atu/products/nf_Omega369.jpg
*These statements have not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure or prevent any disease.
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