What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatlike material that is found in the brain, nerves, blood, bile, and liver. Although it has been a victim of negative press, it is an essential component in the production of the steroid hormones and in nerve function as well as other essential body processes. When it is present in the blood in the blood in excess and in one of its destructive oxidated forms, it is one of the many contributors to the development of hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) also known as heart disease.
Most medical doctors suggest that cholesterol levers must remain under 200mg/dl (5.2mmol/litre). Cholesterol levels lower than 200 are not without risk, however; as many as many people with levels below 200 have heart attacks. Cholesterol can be divided into two groups LDL cholesterol (directly linked to heart disease) and HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). Someone with high HDL cholesterol may be low risk for heart disease even with a cholesterol level above 200.
Cholesterol and diet
Do eating foods that are high in cholesterol raise cholesterol? This is true for only about 30 percent of the population, however, for most people, eating high cholesterol foods does not raise cholesterol. The body manufactures about 75 percent of its own cholesterol from the breakdown of foods we eat. The rest we get from what we eat. If we eat more cholesterol, the body makes less or it is broken dawn by the liver and excreted.
Significant amounts of animal-based saturated fat are found in beef, pork, veal, poultry, cheese, butter, ice cream, and other dairy products. It is recommended to eat non-fat yogurts, skimmed milk and non-fat cheese. Choose to use foods that are low in fat. Eating fish has been reported to increase HDL cholesterol and is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease in most studies. Fish contain very little saturated fat and fish oil contains EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (dacosahexaenoic acid) omega-3 oils that appear to protect against heart disease.
Eating vegetables is highly recommended; these are high in antioxidants, your body’s natural artery roto-rooters that disarm harmful oxidized cholesterol and keep it from clogging the arteries. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are considered to be toxic to the heart. It is important to avoid rancid oil, such as unsaturated vegetable oils teeming with unstable molecules.
Unsaturated fats are found in most vegetable oils; these fats are rancid, which is a major health risk. It is recommended to use monounsaturated fats like canola oil and olive oil. Butter is also recommended, as it is a healthy fat. Olive oil is flavoursome, packed with nutrients and delicious, however it is important to use in moderation.
Natural alternative to cholesterol-lowering medicines
Despite the links between saturated fat intake and serum cholesterol levels, not every person responds to appropriate dietary changes with a drop in cholesterol. It can be noted, however; that it is so easy to for nearly everyone to significantly lower LDL cholestrerol and raise HDL levels with diet, exercise and supplements that seems extreme for doctors to prescribe cholesterol lowering drugs until, other simpler measures have been taken and failed.
Niacin is a form of Vitamin B3. It is one of the safest and most effective ways to lower LDH and raise HDL. It is at least as effective as cholesterol-lowering drugs and less expensive. The disadvantages of using Niacin are that if taken in high doses for high cholesterol levels it causes acute (flushing, headaches, stomach-ache) and chronic (liver damage, diabetes, gastritis, possible gout) toxicity may be severe. A physician should monitor high intake of Niacin. The key to taking niacin successfully to lower cholesterol is to start with a small amount, 50mg twice daily and gradually increase to 400mg three times a day over a period of two to three months.
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that protects LDL cholesterol from damage. Foods that are high in quercetin assist in lowering the risk of heart disease. Quercetin is found in apples, onions, and black tea, and as a supplement.
Fish oil supplements
Fish oil is excellent not only for reducing overall cholesterol, but also for increasing your HDL. It is highly recommended to include fish as part of your diet. Taking fish oil supplement daily is believed to give you the same benefits as eating fish, however; research found that including fish as part of your diet have better results compared to fish oil supplements. Include fish as part of your diet at least twice a week.
Vitamins and minerals
If your cholesterol is over 300, you will want to add the following vitamins and minerals. Most of these nutrients have antioxidant properties that help lower your HDL cholesterol levels.
– Vitamin C
Like vitamin E, Vitamin C protects LDL cholesterol from damage. Nutritionally oriented doctors sometimes recommend 1g per day. If this is taken in high doses in causes diarrhoea.
Magnesium is needed by the heart to function properly. Magnesium deficiency is associated with low HDL cholesterol level. Recommended dosage 300mg -450mg per day.
In previous studies calcium was identified as having cholesterol-lowering properties. This can be attributed to the possibility that calcium is binding with and preventing the absorption of dietary fat. Recommended dosage level is 800mg -1g per day.
– Copper 2-3mg daily
– Vitamin E
Like Vitamin C, in recent studies Vitamin E has shown to have properties that protect LDL cholesterol from damage. Dosage 400IU (total 800 IU daily)
Chromium supplementation has reduced LDL Cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol in human studies. People with higher levels of chromium appear to be at lower risk of heart disease. Recommended dosage is 200mcg daily.
Herbs that help in lowering cholesterol
People wishing to consume garlic and with no aversion to the odour can chew one whole clove of raw garlic daily. Odour-controlled, enteric-coated tablets standardised for allicin content are available. Doctors knowledgeable in the use of herbal medicine typically recommend 900mg per day.
Ayurverdic medicine is an ancient form of healing from India that relies largely on deviding people into body and personality types and then prescribing a variety of treatments that include plant medicines. Guggul is one of the best-known Ayurvedic medicines, a plant traditionally used mainly to treat arthritis and obesity. Guggul, a mixture of substances taken from the plant Commiphora mukul is an approved treatment for elevated cholesterol in India.
This spice lowers cholesterol. Take a daily supplement of cayenne in capsules or use it liberally in your food.
Curry is another spice that lowers cholesterol.
Wild yam has been reported to raise HDL cholesterol. Recommended dosage is 2-3ml of tincture taken 3 to 4 times per day or 1-2 capsules or tablets of the dried root taken 3 times per day.
Extensive research revealed that psyllium reduces cholesterol levels. Generally 5 to 10g of psyllium are added to the diet per day to lower cholesterol.
Red yeast rice
An ancient Chinese condiment made from specially fermented rice. Red yeast rice has been used safely to strengthen circulation and help digestion in Chinese medicines for hundreds of years. The reaction between the rice and the yeast used for fermenting yields natural statin substance similar to the statin used in synthetic drugs.
There are steps you can take to control of your health in lowering your Cholesterol without the use of synthetic or prescription medicine. Not only is the use of prescription medication expensive, many of these drugs are full of unwanted side effects. It is recommended that you stick to a healthy diet and natural products only. Eat more fibre. Fibre has a direct and dramatic cholesterol-lowering effect. Make olive oil and fish oil your predominant dietary fats.
Add garlic to your diet and have a glass of red wine with dinner or a cup of green tea. You are recommended to use bioflavonoid supplements such as grapeseed extract and other cholesterol-busting supplements, and cholesterol-busting foods. Last but not least engage in exercise at least on a daily basis. Exercise will directly raise HDL cholesterol. To good health and long life.