There is a lot of talk about “high cholesterol” and how to prevent or treat it and for good reason. High cholesterol is connected with heart disease, stroke, fatal and non-fatal heart attack, and atherosclerosis. Even so, it’s important to recognize that cholesterol is necessary for healthy function of various systems within the body. In fact, our bodies use cholesterol to coat our nerve cells, maintain strong cell walls, and to produce bile, hormones, and vitamin D. So what is a healthy cholesterol level and how do you get there naturally? What are cholesterol lowering natural remedies that work?
Signs of High Cholesterol
In order to accurately determine your cholesterol levels you must have a blood test. The result of which is broken down into two, sometimes three categories: low density lipoproteins (LDL “bad cholesterol”), high density lipoproteins (HDL “good cholesterol), and sometimes very low density lipoproteins (VLDL).
Scientists and physicians alike are beginning to understand the relationship between these cholesterols. As a result, focus is increasingly shifting toward the overall ratio of our cholesterol rather than the level of each specific type of cholesterol. For example, many believe that a ratio of HDL to LDL of 5:1 is ideal.
One of the most worrisome risks of associated with unhealthy levels of cholesterol is heart disease, which is the number one killer among both men and women. Other conditions related to cholesterol include high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, stroke, and heart attack. Keep in mind that it is not just the cholesterol, but also the level of inflammation in your body, stress and other factors which cause some of these diseases. So, this review is just covering the cholesterol lowering natural remedies side of the picture.
High Cholesterol Risk Factors
Often family history is a determining factor in those who have high cholesterol. Like many diseases and health-related ailments genetics play a role in your cholesterol levels. In addition, age and gender impact your risk. For example, men are at greater risk of having elevated levels of cholesterol as are post-menopausal women.
There are other risk factors which you do have some control over. These include:
• Physical Activity: There is a strong connection between regular physical activity and high cholesterol. Engaging in some form of moderate exercise 3 to 4 times a week helps keep cholesterol very naturally at healthy levels and increase your HDL, the good cholesterol.
• Healthy Weight: Maintaining a healthy weight allows you to also maintain healthy natural levels of cholesterol. Doing what is necessary to reduce excess weight should be considered a matter worth urgent consideration in those who have high cholesterol.
• Nutrition: Consuming prepackaged, processed, and fast foods increases your intake of hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. These are man-man fats which expose your body to the transfats which lead to elevated levels of LDL.
Cholesterol Lowering Natural Remedies
In addition to increasing fitness and improving nutrition, there are three major remedies you can use to reduce your cholesterol levels naturally.
• Herbs: Studies have shown that certain herbs are effective at reducing and maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol. These include yarrow, holy basil, and fenugreek. Other herbs commonly used to reduce cholesterol are still being researched for effectiveness. These include rosemary, turmeric, and ginger.
• Fiber: Increasing consumption of soluble fiber is another great way to maintain healthy cholesterol. Eating raw fruits and vegetables is a great way to increase fiber in your diet. Or, you can supplement with apple fiber, oat bran or pysllium hulls.
• Omega 3s: These fatty acids are beneficial in promoting health and reducing elevated levels of cholesterol. Avocados, fish, raw nuts, and grape seed oil. The best source for cardiac protection is the ocean. Often the best quoted source is cold water fish, but the lower you go on the food chain in the ocean the better. Consider New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels or Krill, which is a small shrimp-like organism. These sources are also lower in toxin levels, such as Mercury. if you don’t like fish, then get some supplements from these sources. Studies have shown that “fish oil” can reduce cholesterol by almost 40% in some individuals, within a week.
There are many natural ways to fight high cholesterol including improved nutrition, regular physical activity, and herbal remedies. Keeping cholesterol at healthy levels protects against risk of heart disease, stroke, and atherosclerosis. Visit our Cureology Cholesterol Information Center for more cholesterol lowering natural remedies.