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.
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 !