High cholesterol is a health concern for many Americans. High levels of LDL cholesterol are a leading contributor to heart disease. LDL cholesterol is what contributes to clogged arteries. Arteries become clogged and narrowed when LDL cholesterol circulating in the blood becomes oxidizes and hardens into plaque. The more LDL cholesterol you have circulating in your blood, the more plaque you'll develop.
A second type of cholesterol, known as HDL cholesterol is what we refer to as "good cholesterol". This form of cholesterol carries away LDL cholesterol to the liver, where it can pass out of the body. This is why we should have high levels of HDL cholesterol. However, when our levels of LDL cholesterol are high, our HDL levels are typically low.
If you're trying to lower your LDL cholesterol levels and raise your HDL cholesterol levels there are a few things you can do.
The first is watching your diet. Avoiding foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol like butter, eggs and red meat can help you lower those LDL cholesterol levels. In addition, you can help raise your HDL levels by replacing those saturated fats in your diet with healthy fats like olive oil, canola oil, avocados and nuts. These fats raise our HDL levels and keep us healthy.
Secondly, to reduce LDL cholesterol levels, it's important to exercise. Walking is a great way to help reduce your cholesterol levels, and it will help lower your blood pressure, as well.
If you're overweight, losing weight will help you reduce cholesterol levels, as well. Making the dietary changes mentioned above and beginning to exercise should make dropping a few pounds easier. If you're a smoker, you should stop. Smoking significantly increases your risk for heart disease.
Your cholesterol level is also affected by your heredity. Some people are prone to high cholesterol even if they exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. If you fall into this category, you may require medication in addition to lifestyle changes in order to get your cholesterol under control.
Another way to help reduce LDL cholesterol levels is to drink tea. Green tea has been shown in many studies to help prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and turning into plaque. These studies have suggested that even if your LDL cholesterol level is high, drinking tea may prevent it from causing a problem.
However, it appears that drinking tea may actually have the power to lower your blood cholesterol levels, too. A study conducted by the University of Hong Kong studied various types of Chinese tea and their effect on cholesterol in rats. The rats were all fed a high cholesterol diet for a week before beginning the study. Then, the rats were divided into several groups. Each group was fed a different type of tea while continuing the high cholesterol diet for another eight weeks. A control group of rats received water instead of the tea.
The types of tea used for evaluation including Jasmine, Iron Buddha, Pu-erh, oolong and green tea. The reason that multiple types of tea were used was to evaluate whether fermented teas are as effective at decreasing cholesterol as those that are not fermented. Green tea is completely unfirmed, Jasmine tea is mildly fermented, and oolong and Iron Buddha are semi-fermented. Pu-erh is a fully fermented tea.
In addition to measuring the cholesterol levels in the mice participating in the study, the weight and fattiness of the liver was also measured.
This study concluded that the teas that had been minimally fermented (Jasmine and green tea) had a significant effect on both the serum and liver levels of cholesterol. In addition, these teas reduced the weight and fat of the liver. These teas were able to significantly lower the cholesterol levels, while the fermented teas and the water did not. * The levels of triglycerides and HDL cholesterol were not significantly different among the groups.
So, it appears that green tea may be a powerful way to help reduce your cholesterol level, particularly when combined with a healthy diet and exercise. If you combine the results of this study with those of past studies, you can come to the conclusion that consuming tea, particularly green tea may be able to help reduce the actual level of LDL cholesterol circulating in your blood and may also be able to prevent the cholesterol that is there from oxidizing and turning into plaque.
If you're struggling to get your cholesterol level under control, green tea is definitely worth a try. It has no side effects, and is well tolerated by nearly everyone – even those who are sensitive to caffeine. And, in addition to helping you lower your cholesterol, green tea may have other added benefits.
Green tea may be able to help you lose weight and may prevent heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Green tea just might be the one supplement to your diet that can help with many of the health problems plaguing Americans today.