Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is produced by the liver and is also found in food. It serves a number of purposes that are vital for the body, such as giving cell walls their rigidity and strength. However, when there is too much in the body it can lead to plaque buildup on artery walls, atherosclerosis, and heart disease among other things.
Although high cholesterol can lead to certain diseases, it is not considered a disease itself. As is the case with many modern ailments, doctors will prescribe prescriptions for high cholesterol. Like other medications, these can have many dangerous side effects. However, there are many ways to lower cholesterol naturally without the use of medications. This article will discuss a few natural remedies, general diet guidelines, and lifestyle habits that can lead to lower cholesterol.
Alcohol and tobacco
First of all, smoking will lower your HDL (good) cholesterol level and raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol level, so giving up smoking is highly recommended if you do smoke. Inhaling second hand smoke has the same negative effects on your cholesterol as smoking, so it is best to avoid exposure to second hand smoke. Also, limit alcohol consumption because excess alcohol can raise bad cholesterol over time.
One way to increase levels of HDL cholesterol and decrease levels of LDL cholesterol is to exercise. Exercise also burns calories and helps to control weight. Running, walking, cycling, and swimming are all beneficial types of exercise. At least 30 minutes of exercise a day is recommended. It also helps to do little things like using the stairs instead of the elevator and not trying to get the parking spot that is closest to the entrance.
High cholesterol can be a direct result of poor diet. If you eat a lot of fast food and junk food or other foods typically high in saturated fat and trans-fatty acid, then there is a good chance that your cholesterol level is too high. Foods high in these fats are worse than foods simply high in cholesterol because the fatty foods cause the body to produce too much cholesterol. Saturated fat should make up less than 7 percent of total calories, but it should not be eliminated completely. However, trans-fatty acids are unnatural and should never be consumed. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are much healthier and can increase HDL levels and lower LDL levels. Olive oil, flax seed oil, and fish are good sources of unsaturated fats.
A diet that includes whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables will help to regulate cholesterol. These foods help to reduce the level of LDL cholesterol in the body. They can also help with weight management. Foods that contain plant sterols also help to lower cholesterol by preventing its absorption into the intestine.
Free radicals are the particles that result from many chemical reactions in the body. These charged particles travel through the blood and bond to oppositely charged particles, to include LDL cholesterol, through the process of oxidation. This process makes LDL more toxic and more likely to stick to the arteries. Over time, this can lead to clogged arteries and heart disease.
Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize free radicals. Grape juice has been known to have high levels of antioxidants and therefore can help to lower LDL cholesterol. Grape juice also increases HDL cholesterol and reduces inflammation that can lead to atherosclerosis.
Apples have also been found to have high levels of antioxidants. Apples contain a variety of phytochemicals, which are strong antioxidants. The phytochemical composition of apples varies greatly depending on the type of apple, and there are small changes in phytochemicals during the ripening of the fruit. Storage looks to have little or no effect on apple phytochemicals, but processing can significantly decrease the effectiveness of them.
Red-yeast rice has been used for over a thousand years by the Chinese to improve blood circulation, and no noticeable negative side effects have occurred. This rice contains several ingredients that may help control cholesterol levels, including monacolins (especially monacolin K), sterols, isoflavones, and monounsaturated fat. Red-yeast rice results from fermenting rice on which red yeast has been grown. In China, red-yeast rice has been found to reduce total cholesterol by 11-32%.
FDA regulation of lovastatin
In the United States, the FDA banned the sale of any foods or supplements that contained lovastatin, to include red-yeast rice, arguing that this ingredient was in some prescription medications and needed drug approval. As a result of this ban, red-yeast rice is no longer available in the United States forcing people to highly more heavily on potentially dangerous prescription drugs for lower cholesterol. This is just one small example of how powerful drug companies are controlling the American people. In this example, the FDA was helping to protect the profits of the drug companies by banning a product that has been used by the Chinese for over a thousand years with no noticeable problems.
By maintaining proper diet and lifestyle, as well as using certain specific remedies, cholesterol can naturally and safely be kept under control. Drugs will only temporarily lower cholesterol and can lead to potentially dangerous side effects. However, drug companies are continuously using their huge amounts of money to control information presented by doctors, the media, and even the FDA, and so are keeping people dependent on their drugs. Drugs will only suppress the symptoms, but you have the power to naturally eliminate the cause of those symptoms.