Lowering Your Cholesterol Naturally
A high blood cholesterol level, especially elevated low-density lipoproteins (LDL), is considered to be a contributor to plaque building up in the arteries and one of the primary causes of heart disease.
Cholesterol is an essential part of every cell structure and is needed for proper brain and nerve function and is used in the manufacture of sex hormones.
Cholesterol attaches itself onto lipoproteins to be transferred around the body. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are the major transporters of cholesterol in the bloodstream and, because LDL’s seem to encourage the deposit of cholesterol in the arteries, it is known as the “bad cholesterol”. High-density lipoproteins (HDL), on the other hand are considered to be “good cholesterol” because they carry unneeded cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver, where it is broken down for removal from the body.
If everything is functioning as it should, this system remains in balance. However, if there is too much cholesterol for the HDLs to pick up promptly, or if there are not enough HDLs to do the job, cholesterol can form plaque that sticks to artery walls and may eventually cause heart disease.
Cholesterol levels are greatly influenced by diet, but they are also affected by your genetic makeup. The consumption of foods high in cholesterol and or saturated fat increases cholesterol levels, while a vegetarian diet, regular exercise, and vitamins B3 (niacin) and C may lower cholesterol.
Include the following cholesterol lowering foods in your diet:
Make sure to take in large amounts of fiber in the form of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Water-soluble dietary plays an important role in reducing cholesterol. Water-soluble fiber is found in barley, beans, lentils, brown rice, fruits and oats.
Garlic reduces the free radicals that cause damage to cholesterol. Garlic also inhibits the infiltration of damaged fats and cholesterol through the wall of the arteries.
Garlic’s ability to lower serum cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, and its ability to reduce platelet aggregation and premature clotting, we can understand why garlic is the single most important food for protecting the heart and arteries.
Apples are a very nutritious fruit. They are high in fiber, and the apple pectin has detoxifying qualities. A study published in the Journal of of Functional Foods, showed that eating one apple a day for four weeks lowered LDL cholesterol levels by 40 %. Apples are also like mini-multivitamins - they have a little bit of everything… so as the saying goes… “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away !.”
Bananas are high in fiber and almost a complete carbohydrate making them an excellent source or energy. They are also loaded with potassium and contain minerals such as iron, selenium and magnesium.
Drink fresh juices, especially a mixture of apple, carrot, celery and beetroot. Carrot juice helps to flush out fat from the bile in the liver and this helps to lower cholesterol.
Cold-Water Oily Fish
Oily fish such as tuna, sardines, salmon, mackerel, and herring have high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to lower triglycerides. Omega-3 fatty acids may also slow down the growth of plaques in the arteries and reduce inflammation throughout the body.
If your main aim is to shed a few pounds, don’t rely too heavily on willpower, scientists say what you really need is planning !
What they suggest is that it is best to do healthy shopping lists, take fruit and vegetables to work, and even come up with clever excuses about how to refuse your colleagues’ offers of fattening treats, and the weight is bound to drop off. A delight when you step on that scale.
The study mentioned how people can boost their daily intake of fruit and vegetables. This leads to weight loss as you make yourself full on healthy goods and feel less tempted to eat fatty, unhealthy snacks.
As Psychologist Cristina Albuquerque from the Lisbon University Institute in Portugal mentions, the key to success is planning and motivation.
She also advised that "Buying food ad hoc in the supermarket is not a helpful approach. Write a list and make a deliberate intention to change behaviour or lose weight, because this is a strategy that works,".
Preparing a shopping list is key. People who said they would plan in advance to get their five-a-day or more were much more likely to succeed with their healthy eating goals.
Planning was particularly helpful in surprise situations, such as when offered cakes at work to celebrate a colleague's birthday. Knowing what to say in advance made avoiding temptation much easier.
Will power alone is not enough to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Some examples of planning are:
· Taking fruit to work
· Planning Menus
· Making healthy snacks in large batches to keep on at hand or in the car
It can be said that planning is more so a psychological process which helps people make the correct choices for themselves.
The more fruit and vegetables one adds to their diet, the more it has been proven to keep weight off as it is replaced by less healthy food. You may be too full or eat less of that cheese pie that would have otherwise been a snack.
Most of us like to indulge and go over the top for the holidays - eating and drinking rich Christmas cakes, mince pies, biscuits, cheese, wine, casseroles. Our bodies are on a sugar and fat overload.
Now the festive days are over, give your body this simple detox to get back to normal and start the new year right. No starvation or weird juice required, I promise!
Skip the Coffee
Prepare yourself and spend the next few mornings without coffee. Coffee may give you a caffeine boost to start your day but it also increases your carb and sugar cravings for the day. If you need a caffeine boost get it from green tea instead. Just one cup helps to speed up liver activity thus helping with the detox.
Rehydrate and flush the toxins out with water. Focus on having around six glasses a day or you may have very watery herbal teas with dandelion and rosemary. You can add a squeeze of fresh lemon or orange juice to burn fat and decrease inflammation.
Get Your Fiber Fix
After over-indulging, you need to get your digestive system back on track, and fiber will do just that. Start with a high fiber breakfast, such as oatmeal or almond butter on brown bread toast, to regulate the system and give you that satiated feeling.
Feeling a little stiff? Add just five minutes of gentle body stretches to your morning routine to open up. The twisting of the muscles during the various positions releases fresh blood as well as nutrients and oxygen to the muscles-all of which will help you recover faster. If you’re feeling up to it, get in some cardio to really sweat it out.
Throw Out All White Refined Foods - Sugar, Salt and Wheat.
Avoid eating the refined and processed foods such as cakes, cookies, pizza’s, pasta’s, white bread and any other foods made from them… Instead favour veggies, fruits, whole grains and lean meats.
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !