High cholesterol levels can greatly increase the risk of heart disease including potentially fatal heart attacks. Heart disease can be caused by a number of factors but lowering cholesterol can have many positive effects and reduce risk. High cholesterol causes hardening of the arteries. Blood flow is then reduced to the heart which may result in chest pains or a heart attack. Lowering the possible causes of hardening or blocking the arteries will help maintain a healthy heart.
For severely high cholesterol it is recommended to seek consultation with a physician for the best course of treatment. Traditionally, this is treated with prescription medication. However, the majority of people can lower cholesterol naturally without the use of prescription drugs. Natural remedies are abundantly available. With a few changes in eating habits and lifestyle, one can easily lower cholesterol.
Eating foods that are low in fat will help as well as avoiding those with high fat content, especially foods containing trans-fat. Spreads such as butter and margarine have high levels of trans-fat. Packaged foods and frozen foods generally contain high levels also. Potato chips, crackers, baked goods and fast foods are all types to avoid. Instead concentrate on foods that are low in fat and high in fiber. Foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, and garlic are great to use in your daily diet.
Lifestyle changes are important if you are not leading a fairly healthy life. Smoking can increase the chances of having high cholesterol. Quitting not only will help this but will also reduce several other medical risks. Regular exercise will help promote a healthy heart. Partake in some form of aerobic exercise several times each week.
Vitamin E may help reduce fatty formations on arteries. Artichoke leaf extract helps produce bile while assisting in eliminating cholesterol from the body. Chromium is a proven method of maintaining correct blood sugar levels, which will help control cholesterol. Niacin in high doses has shown benefits for reducing cholesterol. However, if taking other medications, consult a physician as niacin can react adversely to other medications.
High cholesterol is a condition that affects many people throughout the world. It can increase chances of heart disease and potentially shorten life. Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, eating healthy and exercising can reduce these risks significantly. Adding supplements can also help reduce cholesterol levels. Although the risks of high cholesterol are serious, it is easily controlled.
If you have high cholesterol and you are thinking of lowering your cholesterol level, don’t worry because you can do it yourself and a lot of other people are also experiencing the same problem. This may be a tough job but it will be worth it in the end. There are several ways and steps to be healthy. If you want to be serious, you must closely follow each step.
Actually, there are two kinds of cholesterol in your body, HDL and LDL. The difference between the two is that HDL is the cholesterol that is bad for you and LDL is the healthy one. An increase in blood cholesterol is very common in most people. Lowering cholesterol takes discipline to follow some of these helpful tips:
1. Eat fish. This is an effective way to easily lower cholesterol. Salmon is a good choice because it is high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Flax seed is also a good source of Omega-3.
2. If you love desserts, try to limit them and choose healthier ones. Eating graham crackers, fat-free frozen yogurt, and angel food cake is a nice alternative. Set aside the mouth-watering desserts you have been eyeing.
3. You should eat foods that are rich in fiber. Oatmeal, vegetables, beans, fruits, wheat bread and some cereals are examples of foods that have high fiber.
4. Eat more fruits and vegetables. They are the natural foods that contain no cholesterol at all. You can eat a lot of them without the slightest chance of cholesterol.
5. You must avoid fast foods such as French fries and all the food that is cooked in a deep fryer. These are the foods with the fattiest ingredients. They are dipped into oil and absorb too much oil. Although they are tempting, it is worth the sacrifice. Stay away from burgers too, or reserve them for an occasional special treat.
6. If you like salad, try and find a new salad dressing, which is cholesterol friendly. Most salad dressing is full of cholesterol and Trans fats. Maybe a choice of vinegar with lemon juice or Olive oil will be a good option. Bacon bits, egg yolks and croutons should be avoided.
7. If you really can’t get away from burgers and steak, you can grill them in your backyard and use lean cuts of meat instead. This type of cooking prevents reduces the amount of fat in the meat and barbecuing is fun and enjoyable which makes eating pleasurable.
8. If you want a nice healthy sandwich without the fats, have whole wheat bread with a mix of lean turkey and lots of vegetables. Remember to skip the salami, hot dogs and of course the mayo. This type of food is highly processed with cholesterol and fats.
Now after all the worries, you realize that adjusting your diet isn’t going to be too hard at all right? Lowering cholesterol is not a tough job. It just takes patience and dedication and you will have the your levels under control in no time.
Remember, it is important to consult your physician before making any significant changes in diet or lifestyle. Always follow their advice regarding the control of cholesterol levels.
While there’s plenty of medical advice that indicates the statin family of drugs are highly effective in lowering your levels of cholesterol, there are many people who are seeking alternative non-medical solutions to lowering high cholesterol. These people include the not-so-old who wish to make lifestyle changes now rather than face 30 or more years on medications. Why take the chance of suffering unacceptable side-effects from statin medications, such as erectile dysfunction in males and abdominal pain and muscle soreness in both sexes? Also, the long-term use of these drugs could lead to as yet unknown problems. So, eat a healthy diet low in saturated fats and combine this with the following natural health tips.
Natural Health Tip No 1: Regular Exercise. Start a program of regular exercise that will lead to achieving a healthy body weight. This means exercising three or four times a week to a level where your heart rate is raised to an acceptable rate for your age. Walking, swimming and cycling are all good activities that don’t place unnecessary strain on your body. Be sure to warm up with at least five minutes of muscle-stretching exercises beforehand. Raised oxygen levels also help your body organs maintain their vitality and firms and tones your muscles.
Natural Health Tip No 2: Plan Your Menus. Think about the healthy foods you like and plan your meals a week in advance to coincide with food shopping day. This saves you having to make compromises to your diet that involve the wrong foods. It also means you’ll have plenty of low fat products on hand that may be hard to find at the corner store.
Natural Health Tip No 3: Smart Cooking Techniques. Avoid bad cooking techniques such as deep-frying and try to prepare your foods by simmering, dry baking, steaming or using Asian stir-fry techniques. Even microwaving can allow foods to cook in their natural juices and retain their nutrients. And be sure to eat lots of raw foods, especially fruit and vegetables.
Natural Health Tip No 4: Take Your Supplements. Supplements such as Omega-3, inositol hexaniacinate, pantethine, and guggulipid can be effective in lowering cholesterol. Supplements for lowering cholesterol should be used as a part of an overall plan that includes diet and lifestyle changes.
Natural Health Tip No 5: Clean Out Your System. Plan an occasional system cleanout day where you consume only fruit and vegetables. The high water content of fruit and vegetables facilitates the spread of their valuable nutrients through your body and helps flush out the wastes that have built up from eating the wrong foods.
Natural Health Tip No 6: Relax. Stress and ill health go hand-in-hand. While you can’t and shouldn’t eliminate stress, you can learn to control it by meditation and relaxation techniques and by regular exercise. If you are currently on prescription drugs, don’t stop them without consulting your doctor. But follow these natural health tips and you should be able to lower your cholesterol. In any case, you will certainly be much fitter and healthier.
Lowering your dietary intake of cholesterol is recommended to maintain overall good health. Basic dietary guidelines are as follows:
Limit the following in your diet:
Fats, especially saturated fats.
All foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (most margarines and baked goods.
Dairy fats, such as whole milk, cheese made with whole milk, butter, egg yolks, sour cream.
Vegetable oil and lard.
Beef, especially the less-lean cuts.
Products made of refined sugars and flours.
Most animal fats and hydrogenated fats are solid at room temperature, and have more of the LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol. Also known as ‘trans fats’, these are the fats to avoid. Look carefully on the ingredients label for the words, ‘hydrogenated,’ or ‘trans fats.’ The most common foods with trans fats are cookies, pies, cakes, chips, snack and convenience foods. These foods also usually contain refined sugars and flours, making them doubly bad for cholesterol levels.
Instead, use these:
Fruits and vegetables, most of which are cholesterol-free, and which help lower cholesterol levels.
Whole-grain breads and cereals.
Low-fat or skim milk, yogurt, sour cream and cheeses.
Canola oil or extra virgin olive oil.
Chicken, turkey and fish.
Legumes and nuts.
Margerines made of plant sterol esters, which help to lower cholesterol levels.
Foods high in fiber have the added benefit of helping to absorb and eliminate cholesterol from the intestines. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts are all high in fiber. Some fruits, such as citrus, apples, cranberries and blackberries are high in pectin, and are particularly good at reducing cholesterol levels.
Putting it into Practice
A change of lifestyle and eating habits can be very, very hard, especially if the habits are habits acquired over a lifetime. One way to help implement these all-important changes, is to start small. Set a small, short-term goal, such as switching to low-fat dairy products and whole grain breads. When that becomes habit, and the tastebuds are acclimatized to the new flavors, make another small change, such as adding fruits and vegetables to the diet. Next, try eliminating soda pops, exchanging them for water and sugar-free, noncarbonated drinks.
The most difficult change to make for many people is the elimination of refined sugars and flours from the diet. Refined fours and sugars can be very addictive, giving the body a ‘sugar rush’ that may be hard to live without at first. A first step may be switching to whole grain flours, and then switching from sugar to sucralose, such as Splenda sweetener.
Make each step small and be patient, waiting for the change to become easy. It may take a year or two, but eventually, persistance will pay off, and a new heathier diet will be habit.
Cholesterol is a fatty lipid, steroid and an alcohol found in the body tissues and blood plasma of vertebrates. It is the essential part of the outer membranes of human body cells, and it circulates in the blood.
Cholesterol in the human body comes from two major sources. About three-quarters of the body’s total cholesterol is produced within the body, while only one-quarter comes from cholesterol in food.
Higher concentrations of cholesterol are present in body tissues which have more densely packed membranes – i.e. the liver, spinal cord, brain, atheroma, adrenal glands and reproductive organs.
The liver is the most important site of cholesterol biosynthesis. It is secreted from the liver in the form of an acidic secretion known as ‘bile’.
Diets rich in animal fats, meat, poultry, fish, oils, egg yolks and dairy products are a rich source of dietary cholesterol. Organ meats, such as liver and kidney, are extremely rich in cholesterol content, but foods of plant origin contain no cholesterol.
High cholesterol levels in the bloodstream can influence the pathogenesis of certain conditions. Recent studies have revealed that the abundance of protein complexes called lipoproteins, are responsible for the cholesterol build-up in the blood vessels.
Cholesterol gets attached to these lipoproteins. The high-density lipoprotein (HDL) carries cholesterol out of the bloodstream for excretion, while the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) carries it back into the system for use by various body cells.
LDL cholesterol is called bad cholesterol, because elevated levels of it are associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. LDL deposits cholesterol on the artery walls which leads to the formation of a hard, thick substance called cholesterol plaque. Over time, cholesterol plaque causes thickening of the artery walls and narrowing of the arteries, a process called atherosclerosis.
The levels of both HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol may also determine risk for heart disease; however current medical opinion is that the ratio of HDL cholesterol to LDL cholesterol is much more important than the level of cholesterol.
Methods to control your cholesterol levels:
Lower your consumption of foods containing saturated fats – fried fast foods, butter, cream, cheese, and fat on meat – to help reduce cholesterol. Add more plant foods to your diet – vegetable oils, nuts, legumes, breads, cereal grains, fruits and vegetables. A low cholesterol diet, combined with regular exercise is the best way to lower cholesterol levels.
Medications can also help lower cholesterol levels. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, ‘Statins’, such as lovastatin (Mevacor) and atorvastatin (Lipitor) are the most effective and widely used medications to lower LDL cholesterol. Other medications include nicotinic acid (niacin), fibrates such as gemfibrozil (Lopid), resins such as cholestyramine (Questran), and ezetimibe, Zetia. These medications should be taken after consulting the experts.
You can lower cholesterol without drugs by following some basic steps that will not only change your cholesterol readings, but also improve your health today and in the future. So often we use a prescription drug and hope it will magically cure whatever ails us. The truth is prescription drugs for lowering cholesterol do work. The problem is both the short term and long-term side effects.
Even more dangerous than the side effects of prescription drugs to lower cholesterol is not getting cholesterol under control. Over time, high cholesterol can lead to numerous conditions of the heart and arteries, not the least of which are atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), stroke or heart attack.
Here are 5 steps you can take today to lower your cholesterol without prescription drugs.
Eat right. May sound simple, but diet has such a significant impact on lowering cholesterol that it should be the number one factor you look at in determining if your high cholesterol is hereditary or a matter of dietary choices. A low fat and low cholesterol diet is the first step toward lowering cholesterol.
Exercise. Improving cardiovascular health is a step toward reversing the effects of high cholesterol. Exercise itself doesn’t directly lower cholesterol, but will strengthen the heart and entire circulatory system.
Quit smoking. If you smoke, the plaque build up in the arteries due to high cholesterol is accelerated. When plaque blocks the flow of blood to the heart, the muscle has to work harder to get oxygen. This can lead to a heart attack. If the arteries get completely blocked with plaque from high cholesterol then a stroke can occur.
Relax. Chronic stress can affect cholesterol levels. If you are constantly stressed and eating a low cholesterol diet, you may not see any improvement in cholesterol readings until you learn to relieve stress.
Talk to your doctor. Not all doctors are quick to prescribe medications. In fact, the more enlightened doctors will help you form a diet and exercise plan that is suitable for your current overall health and abilities as a first step toward lowering cholesterol. It is always important to ask your doctor if your decision to follow a specific diet or exercise plan is right for you. In addition, do not stop taking medications before consulting with your doctor. You can lower your cholesterol with diet and exercise, and under the care of your doctor, see about removing drugs from the process.
It does not take long to see significant improvements in your cholesterol. Lower cholesterol can be yours in just a matter of weeks.
One Day Miracle Diet – as dieticians put it – is a suitable diet program for gourmet buffs. This cholesterol lowering diet plan is quite simple – you diet for a day and eat full the next day and continue this routine until you feel that you have lost enough weight. It is also called the 24 hour Hollywood Miracle Diet.
During the dieting day, refrain from eating any other food than vanilla (every two hours) or chocolate diet wafers and raw fruits. Also, make it a point to drink lots of water (ideally 8 glasses of water or above). It is also advisable to follow a light exercise routine for better results. Walking short distances will serve the purpose.
The biggest advantage with one day cholesterol lowering diet programs is that the person undergoing dieting will not suffer any muscle loss. This is partially because of the high protein and low calorie content of the wafers, and partially due to the fact that the dieting person actually in fact is not completely severed from his/her eating habits. He/she can have any food he/she wants the every next day.
On the other hand, the disadvantage with the cholesterol lowering diet program is that it does not contribute towards improving one’s eating habits. That is, as it does not suggest an improved diet, the chances of the person regaining the weight due to normal eating after stopping the diet program are high. Also, nutritional deficiency can happen sometimes depending on the physical aspects of the person concerned.
To conclude, cholesterol lowering diet programs of this sort can bring about quick results. Further, as the person is not restricted from his normal diet for more than 24 hours, people will be more inclined to try out this diet program. But the con is that perhaps people may resort to eating more after the one-day deprival. Hence one’s control over his/her eating impulse is critical for ensuring complete success.
Tail Piece – some dieticians tout this cholesterol lowering diet program to be more effective than the traditional tuna and egg diet.
Newspapers have reported on the drawbacks of having a diet high in fat. High-fat diet has been linked to high cholesterol and ultimately to heart attacks. Hence, people have started avoiding beef and eggs. But cholesterol is not bad. Our body needs it to protect nerves and build new cells and hormones. It is only when we include foods like pizzas, burgers, ice creams, steaks or any food containing animal product that the problem starts. Excess cholesterol settles along the walls of the arteries and can clog them thus, restricting blood flow. This gives rise to angina, heart attack or stroke. It has also been shown that high cholesterol leads to gallstones. There are two types of cholesterol called good cholesterol or HDL and bad cholesterol or LDL. LDL is the cholesterol that clogs the arteries and should be lower while HDL scours the artery walls and removes the harmful LDL and should be higher.
Doctors recommend reducing and avoiding high-fat diets containing meat, eggs and dairy products. But you can use the following home remedies for treatment:
• Increase the intake of Vitamin E: It is advised to increase your intake of Vitamin E to 400 international units to prevent the oxidation of bad cholesterol where the cholesterol hardens into the arterial plaque thus giving rise to heart attack. It also raises the level of HDL. You can include Vitamin E as dietary sources or include vegetable oils, nuts or grains in your diet.
• Eat your breakfast: People who skip the breakfast have higher cholesterol levels than those who have breakfast everyday. This is because they tend to eat unhealthy foods which are high in fats.
• Eat small meals frequently: Large meals have been shown to release a large amount of insulin, which in turn stimulates the production of the enzymes that increases cholesterol production by the liver. But eating small frequent meals without increasing the total calories will limit the insulin production and thus controls the cholesterol and in turn heart diseases.
• Add Vitamin C to your diet: Though other vitamins and minerals play an important role in the cholesterol production, Vitamin C is the most crucial vitamin for cholesterol control. It increases HDL levels and is very beneficial if you get it from fruits and vegetables, since they have a special fibre called pectin. It surrounds the cholesterol and flushes it out of the digestive system before it gets into the blood. Include fruits like citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, apples and spinach which are rich in vitamin C and pectin.
• Increase garlic intake: Taking seven cloves of garlic a day will reduce cholesterol levels significantly. If you cannot stand the normal garlic, then you can opt for odorless garlic pills, which are available in local health stores.
• Skip decaf: Avoid decaffeinated coffee since it has been shown to raise LDL levels. This is because the beans used for decaf are far stronger than the normal beans.
• Munch grapes: Grapes and their products have a compound which lowers cholesterol significantly. So you can increase your intake of grapes, grape juice and wine to decrease your cholesterol level.
• Have grapefruit: Grapefruit contains pectin which reduces cholesterol significantly. Hence, people who consume grapefruits show a marked decline of cholesterol over 7 percent after two months of consumption.
• Eat beans: Lima beans, kidney beans, navy beans, soybeans and other legumes have been shown to lower cholesterol as they have a high amount of pectin. Research has shown that people who consume about 11/2 cup of cooked beans a day have decreased their cholesterol levels by 20 percent within three weeks.
• Splurge on carrots: Carrots have plenty of pectin, the most useful type of fibre for lowering cholesterol. Having about 2 to 3 carrots a day will reduce cholesterol levels by 10 to 20 percent.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the liver. This substance has many important roles inside the body and in small amounts it is very important in helping the activity of the organism. In the presence of cholesterol, the body is able to synthesize vitamin D and hormones (testosterone and estrogen). The liver also uses cholesterol in producing bile, a substance used for the digestion of fat. Cholesterol covers the exterior membrane of blood cells and protects them from damage.
Although in normal amounts cholesterol is benefic for the organism, excessive amounts of this substance inside the body can lead to serious illnesses. High blood cholesterol levels are the main factor of risk in cardio-vascular diseases and can even cause heart failure. The surplus of cholesterol inside the body enters the bloodstream and deposits in different places of the body: arteries, soft tissues, organs. When cholesterol adheres to the inner walls of arteries, it obstructs the normal blood flow and prevents the oxygenation of the body organs.
Age, gender and internal dysfunctions are all considered to be factors that enable the accumulation of cholesterol inside the body. However, inappropriate diet also has a great contribution to blood cholesterol build up. A low cholesterol diet can help the body eliminate excess cholesterol and can prevent the accumulation of the substance in the bloodstream. A low cholesterol diet can also help you lose extra weight and improve your overall physical condition.
There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated fat. Saturated fat facilitates the accumulation of cholesterol inside the body, while unsaturated fat reduces blood cholesterol levels and therefore minimizes the chances of developing cardio-vascular diseases. A low cholesterol diet should exclude foods that are rich in saturated fat and include more foods that contain unsaturated fat. Simple carbohydrates contained by sweets should also be excluded from your low cholesterol diet. In order to improve your digestion, you should increase natural fiber and complex carbohydrate intake.
A low cholesterol diet should minimize the intake of animal products. Fatty meats (pork, lamb), organ meats (liver, heart, kidneys) and some dairy products (fat-rich milk, cheese, butter) should be excluded from your low-cholesterol diet. Animal products not only contain a lot of cholesterol, they are also very rich in saturated fat! Eggs, bacon, salami, sausages are rich in saturated fat and they should also be excluded from your diet too. Replace fatty meats wish fish, as it is low in cholesterol and saturated fat. Your low cholesterol diet can include some dairy products, if they contain small amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat: skim-milk, light yogurts.
Your low cholesterol diet should contain plenty of vegetables and fruits, as they are cholesterol free and a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Consume plenty of green vegetables, soy, carrots, cabbage, beans, dried peas and potatoes and fresh fruits like apples, pears, oranges, nectarines, lemons.
The best thing to do is cook your own meals. A low cholesterol diet should include plenty of home-cooked meals like vegetable soups, mashed potatoes and salads. Avoid fried meals and consider grilling or boiling your food. Also, make sure that you drink enough water, as it helps in the elimination of body cholesterol.
Heart disease and stroke are often triggered by high cholesterol in the blood. Lowering your cholesterol for some is just a matter of changing your diet. Others may need to diet and the help of medications prescribed by their doctor. Either way, lowering your cholesterol can save your life.
Changing your diet to lose weight is not the same as changing your diet to control your cholesterol level. While losing weight will certainly improve your health, you also need to monitor your diet to exclude foods that are causing your high cholesterol levels.
Monitoring your diet does not mean giving up all the foods you love. Many foods are healthy and good for you. For instance, a good variety of fruits and vegetables (with five or more servings per day), grain products like bread, cereal, rice, and pasta (choose six or more servings per day). In addition, lean meats and poultry ( without skin and up to 6 ounces per day), fat-free and low fat milk , beans and peas , nuts and seeds in limited amounts, and fatty fish ( which can be baked or broiled , but limited to 2-3 servings per week ). You should use vegetable oils like olive oil or corn oil when preparing your foods. There is also a large assortment of spices to give your food that extra pizzazz.
There are a number of foods you should omit from your diet if you want to lower your cholesterol. Whole milk and ice cream should be avoided. Additionally, butter, egg yolks, and cheese and foods that include them should be removed from your diet. Finally, organ meats like liver, high-fat processed meats (like sausage and hot dogs), and limit your intake of fried foods.
Eating healthier involves knowing how to prepare your foods and changing your diet. If you are not able to lower your cholesterol by diet and exercise alone, your doctor may have to prescribe medication.
Dieting and eating healthier to lower your cholesterol will improve your quality of life and significantly reduce your risk of other health problems. High cholesterol is a serious health problem, and you can take action to avoid further health complications.