Cholesterol is a wax-like substance present in the cell membranes of body tissues and is carried in the blood plasma. It is a sterol (alcohol and steroid combination), also called atherosclerotic plaque. The body requires cholesterol to form and sustain the plasma membrane, help with bile production, and aid the metabolism of fat-soluble vitamins. However, having high blood cholesterol levels is not always good and can even cause an increased risk of cardiovascular health problems such as a heart attack or stroke.
Over time cholesterol builds up on the artery walls, a condition called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis was thought to be an affliction of the elderly until the 1950s. When American pathologists were sent to Korea by the Pentagon to study the bodies of soldiers 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 by highlighting the onset of heart disease in the very young. That’s why our focus here is to help you know a natural way to lower high cholesterol.
LDL and HDL cholesterol
There are two different types of cholesterol; low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL).
HDL cholesterol, the good.
Let’s start with the “good guy,” HDL, which is transported by high-density lipoproteins. The difference between HDL and LDL makes him the “hero” of this story.
HDLs remove cholesterol from the arteries, including plaques, preventing atherosclerosis. To stay in the superhero metaphor, it is as if Good Cholesterol were a protector responsible for fighting the dirt left by its antagonist, Bad Cholesterol.
LDL cholesterol, the bad.
They transport cholesterol and some triglycerides through the blood to store them and use them in biosynthesis.
Because of its function, LDL facilitates fat accumulation in blood vessels, forming plaques. This happens when our body has many of these molecules circulating in the body in search of tissues that need cholesterol.
This process, called atherosclerosis, is what causes clogged arteries, which in turn leads to heart attacks and strokes – also known as strokes. And that’s why LDL is considered bad.
While HDL is believed to reduce the chance of a heart attack, an estimated 25% of Americans are at risk of heart disease due to atherosclerosis. About 10% have levels so high that doctors have no choice but to prescribe medication to reduce cholesterol.
- Low-risk individuals: below 130 mg/dl
- Individuals at intermediate risk: below 100 mg/dl
- High-risk individuals: below 70 mg/dl
- Very high-risk individuals: below 50 mg/dl
What causes high cholesterol?
The leading cause of high cholesterol is having an unhealthy diet rich in fatty foods such as yellow cheeses, sausages, fried foods, or industrialized products, which causes blood cholesterol to increase very quickly, not allowing the body to eliminate it correctly.
Does high cholesterol have symptoms?
Contrary to what many people think, high cholesterol has no symptoms in most cases. This further reinforces the importance of performing routine exams, where these values will be measured and, if necessary, treatment initiated.
Although cholesterol does not show signs, the diseases caused by its increase can manifest in very serious and dangerous ways, mainly as a result of atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of fatty plaques in the arteries, obstructing the flow of blood, leading to a series of risks, the main ones being infarction or cerebrovascular accident (CVA).
And this risk is even greater for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes, who are 3 to 4 times more likely to have clogged arteries.
And anyone who thinks that only overweight or obese people are at risk of having high cholesterol is wrong. Although these groups are at greater risk, even people considered thin can also present the problem.
Therefore, the ideal is to maintain the habit of checking blood cholesterol levels – performing a lipid test or lipid profile – at least once a year, preferably under the supervision of a cardiologist or endocrinologist.
Foods that Lower LDL Cholesterol
Many foods are believed to significantly lower LDL cholesterol. Fiber-rich foods are said to be particularly beneficial. Fiber will lower ‘bad’ cholesterol and help the bowel function properly, reducing the risk of colon and bowel cancer. Many other foods can help the body fight back against these dangerous deposits.
Some Fiber-rich foods are oat bran, barley, and wheat bran. They can be eaten as 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 daily.
Beans, Peas & Lentils (Pulses) are high in fiber and low in fat. They also contain lecithin, a nutrient that is known as one of the ways to reduce cholesterol. Try incorporating kidney, fava beans, borlotti, and other dry whole foods into your diet; many different types of lentils and peas 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.
For breakfast, avocados can be consumed with a bit of sugar or pure. At lunch or dinner, it can be used for sweet and sour salads — which mix salty with sweet and, in this case, is the fruit’s natural sugar.
Therefore, investing in foods is one of the good ways to reduce cholesterol, as avocado can bring good results for your health in the long run.
Raw carrots are rich in pectin fiber; for cholesterol, carrots will act as a tonic on the liver because it also has a purifying and cleansing effect. It helps the liver to eliminate excess bile and fat accumulated by an unhealthy diet. Many fruits also contain pectin, including; apples, citrus fruits, strawberries, raspberries, and other red or black fruits.
Shitake mushrooms are widely used by the Japanese and include a compound called lentinan, which is one of the good ways to reduce cholesterol, is also considered anti-cancer, and can help boost the immune system. These tasty mushrooms are rich in vitamins A and C and other compounds that have antioxidant action, fighting free radicals.
This characteristic protects against rheumatoid arthritis, cirrhosis, arteriosclerosis, and premature aging.
Extra virgin olive oil; Rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols, which can fight free radicals responsible for cell aging, it has a protective effect against a number of cardiovascular health problems. Still, the consumption of olive oil is associated with low levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) due to the presence of poly and monounsaturated fats.
Garlic is a superfood and is well known for its blood-thinning properties. It also contains the substance allicin, which is thought to prevent the body from retaining LDL cholesterol. Research has shown that the equivalent of one clove a day can lower “bad” cholesterol by 10-15% in most people.
The mechanisms behind this effect are not fully understood. Still, it appears that it acts both on the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine and on the synthesis of endogenous cholesterol — the one we produce in the liver and is responsible for most of the circulating cholesterol.
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Root ginger has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries and has numerous health benefits. It can be added to stir-fry (using healthy sesame oil) and other vegetable dishes, or it can be used to create delicious ginger tea.
Nuts are naturally high in omega-3 fatty acids and are known to reduce blood cholesterol significantly; walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and almonds are especially beneficial.
Sesame seeds are rich in phytosterols. These compounds are said to lessen LDL cholesterol substantially. Other foods containing phytosterols include; celery, lettuce, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, ginger, squash, and strawberries.
Safflower, canola, and soybean are monounsaturated oils and are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Research indicates that they can decrease atherosclerotic plaque by up to 15% when eaten regularly.
Salmon, tuna, sardines & mackerel contain considerable amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which have many health benefits and are essential for brain and eye function.
Prunes are an excellent source of antioxidants and fiber, notably lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels and slightly increasing HDL cholesterol levels. In addition, it can positively alter the human intestinal flora and thus improve various physiological functions, benefiting health.
Alfalfa sprouts contain saponin, a substance that clogs and inhibits the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries. In addition, alfalfa is rich in phytoestrogens, substances with estrogen-like activity, and are therefore effective in relieving menopausal symptoms, for example.
Lifestyle changes can help you in your journey in the natural way – how to reduce high cholesterol levels and improve your health.
Exercise regularly; even riding a bike to work, walking the stairs, or taking a brisk walk can help raise good cholesterol.
Lose weight; losing only 10% of body weight can help reduce cholesterol levels.
Quit smoking; quitting smoking improves your good cholesterol levels. It lowers the risk of heart disease and heart attack within one year of quitting smoking.
Eat healthy foods; eat omega-3-rich food, avoid saturated fats, and include more fish, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in your diet. Eat more soluble fiber and whey protein. Avoid fast food and between-meal snacks.
Lower alcohol consumption; it is recommended for men to have two drinks a day and women to have only one drink daily. If you do not drink alcohol, it is not recommended for you to start drinking.
These lifestyle changes are necessary to reduce the risk of heart disease, as high levels of bad cholesterol cause them to accumulate in the arteries and form plaque, increasing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, stroke, or heart attack of the myocardium.
The Natural Way – How to Reduce High Cholesterol
Medications used to manage high cholesterol levels are called statins.
Side effects vary between different statins, but the most common ones are:
- Digestive problems, including diarrhea, constipation, indigestion
- Muscle pain
- Low blood platelet count
- Feeling unusually tired
- Problems with sleep
Statin use may lead to more side effects and conditions like pancreatitis, hepatitis, skin problems, diabetes type 2, erectile dysfunction, etc. If you are at risk of developing these conditions, you should avoid taking these medications by lifestyle and dietary changes. Talk to your healthcare provider about the natural approach.
Suppose you have high cholesterol or a family tendency towards atherosclerosis. And now you ask yourself, “what is the natural way how to reduce high cholesterol?”
In that case, 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. Combined with regular cardiovascular exercise, these dietary changes should help keep the heart healthy and provide numerous other health benefits.
High Cholesterol Natural Supplement (BM135)
Studies have shown that high cholesterol increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and circulation problems. BM High Lipid Profile Compositum is particularly researched by a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial study method to reduce the high lipid profiles and maintain the same to avoid the risk factors.