As people are more and more looking to take control of their own medical care, supplements continue to grow as a viable option over prescription drugs. When it comes to the world of high cholesterol there are many cholesterol lowering supplements that can be added to your daily routine that can lower bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol, and help you to feel better overall.
As studies continue to be done, there will be more supplements available to help with cholesterol health. But for now here is some of the best cholesterol lowering supplements that continue to prove themselves as a healthy alternative to prescription drugs.
Before starting on any supplement it is important to check in with your doctor or other medical professional. This is especially true if you are already taking other supplements or prescription drugs. Some supplements can interfere with the effectiveness of other supplements or drugs and you want to make sure that you are keeping your body healthy.
Red Yeast Rice – This is a new supplement to the scene of cholesterol lowering supplements. It has been used in China for thousands of years and its active ingredient has shown remarkable positive effects on high cholesterol. The FDA has banned the active ingredient so the red yeast rice available in the United States is not as effective as the true natural supplement found in China.
Oat Bran – Oat bran, oatmeal, and oats in general are great for helping to lower high cholesterol. They are high in soluble fiber which helps the body stop absorption of cholesterol. The important part of adding this supplement to the diet is consistency. You need at least five to ten grams for real cholesterol lowering supplements effectiveness. The average morning bowl of oatmeal is around seven grams.
Artichoke Extract – This is another natural cholesterol lowering supplement and it can be taken in pill form. This herbal supplement has been proven to be effective in lowering the bad cholesterol levels as well as increasing the good cholesterol levels.
Fish Oil – This supplement can be taking in pill form or it can be taken from eating the fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon. Fish oil helps to increase the good levels of cholesterol; which in turn will help to lower the bad levels.
Garlic – Garlic is another of the cholesterol lowering supplements that can be taken in many different forms. Garlic can be taken as an extract, a pill, or in food. Garlic is good for your body on many levels and can help fight off colds and infection as well as lower cholesterol. But garlic can also interfere with blood thinners, so it is important to check with your doctor before adding a regular garlic supplement into your daily routine.
Green Tea – This supplement is high in antioxidants which offer many different health benefits. In order for green tea to be effective for your cholesterol levels you will need to drink eight to ten cups of it a day. Green tea is also high in caffeine, so make sure that you don’t have a negative reaction to caffeine before adding this cholesterol lowering supplement to your day.
Balancing the ratios of LDL and HDL cholesterol is the aim of any cholesterol lowering diet because lowering the bad (LDL) cholesterol is a large factor in reducing the risk of coronary artery disease. The effect of lowering cholesterol has been medically shown to reduce the mortality risk associated with heart disease.
Cholesterol levels, which are measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), naturally rise as men and women age and are determined through chemical analysis of a blood sample taken via a finger prick or from a blood draw from a vein. For a healthy person cholesterol intake should less than 300 milligrams daily while someone with an elevated cholesterol level should consume less than 200 milligrams per day. One thing to remember is that although dietary cholesterol can raise your blood cholesterol levels, the bigger culprit in elevated cholesterol levels is saturated fat. Foods that originate from animals are the only source of dietary cholesterol.
The basis of a cholesterol lowering diet revolves around eating a mostly plant based diet rich in cholesterol-lowering foods. In fact this approach has been shown to as effective as using statin drugs to lower cholesterol. This was proved out during a recent study showing that people who ate a rich diet of cholesterol lowering foods, such as soy protein, almonds, plant sterol-enriched margarines and natural fiber from oats, psyllium, okra, and eggplant for one year resulted in a 20% decrease in cholesterol, which is comparable to taking statins.
After starting a cholesterol lowering diet your levels will generally begin to recede after two to three weeks. When starting this type of diet the first thing you need to do is increase your fiber intake. This can be done by increasing the amounts of fruits, lots of vegetables, and whole grain products. The other thing that needs to be closely watched is the intake of saturated fat.
The reason for this is simple; nothing increases cholesterol levels quite like saturated fat. There are four main types of fat. The first two increase LDL cholesterol and need to be avoided.
1. Saturated fat found in most animal products, fast foods, and some vegetables should be avoided or at the least limited. Saturated vegetable fats include hydrogenated shortening, palm oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter.
2. Hydrogenated or Trans-Fat is found in margarine and vegetable shortening.
The two fats that can be eaten in moderation and can help decrease total cholesterol and keep levels of the good cholesterol (HDL) high include:
3. Monounsaturated Fat is found in olive and canola oil.
4. Polyunsaturated Fat is found in safflower, sunflower, soybean, corn and sesame oils.
The best foods for a cholesterol lowering diet are high in starch and fiber and are a good substitute for foods that contain high amounts of saturated fat. You do have to be careful because although foods from plants do not contain cholesterol some do contain saturated fat, such as avocados. Recently the American Heart Association began to recommend that people who have high LDL cholesterol eat foods fortified with plant sterols. These foods that have been fortified with sterols or stanols help block the body’s absorption of cholesterol.
The thing to remember when undertaking a cholesterol lowering diet is that foods that contain high amounts of complex carbohydrates, if eaten plain, are low in saturated fat and cholesterol and contain the vitamins, minerals, and fiber you body needs. A healthy diet is the first step to successfully lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease that is associated with high levels.