Lower Your Cholesterol With These Natural Solutions.
September is National Cholesterol Education Month. While you may not be throwing a party for this celebration, it is important because more than 102 million Americans have high cholesterol which increases risk for heart disease and can put you on a path to a stroke or heart attack.
What is Cholesterol?
First, let’s start with the basics. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in your body. Now while it sounds harmful, your body actually needs cholesterol and it makes its own. “Cholesterol is found in your bloodstream and in every cell in your body, where it helps produce cell membranes, vitamin D, and bile acids, and enhances neurological function and the formation of your memories” (source).
We also get cholesterol from the foods we eat. Unfortunately our body makes what we need; so when we eat foods that are high in hydrogenated fats and refined carbohydrates, this disrupts the balance and leads to increased cholesterol levels.
Why High Cholesterol is Dangerous
When excess cholesterol builds up, it forms a fatty plaque on the walls of your arteries. This is dangerous because it slows down your blood flow and if it continues to build up, you’ll be at risk of having a heart attack or stroke. It’s important to remember that not all cholesterol is bad, HDL cholesterol works by removing harmful cholesterol from the arteries.
Here are the levels that are optimal for adults:
Total cholesterol: less than 70 mg/dL
Low LDL (“bad”) cholesterol: less than 110 mg/dL
High HDL (“good”) cholesterol: 35 mg/dL or higher
Triglycerides: less than 150 mg/dL
Typically, if you have high cholesterol, your doctor will prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication, known as a statin.
Statins are a lifelong commitment and have numerous undesirable side effects:
- Muscle and joint aches
- Increased blood sugar
- Muscle cell damage
- Liver damage
- Cognitive problems
Natural Remedies for High Cholesterol
Here are the ways I recommend to try to lower your cholesterol naturally before resorting to a pharmaceutical drug:
There are foods that are can help raise and lower cholesterol. Let’s start with the harmful foods that will negatively impact your cholesterol levels:
- Sugar and refined carbohydrates
- Trans fats
Consider incorporating these healthy options:
- Olive oil – use extra-virgin to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and prevent against cardiovascular disease (source).
- Nuts – rich in fiber and healthy fats to help lower cholesterol levels.
- Seeds – some seeds, like flaxseed has been shown to reduce total and LDL cholesterol (source).
- Vegetables – veggies are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals; all which support heart health.
- Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel) – like fish oil, fatty fish are beneficial for your health because they’re packed with omega-3s.
- Turmeric – contains a powerful compound, curcumin which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Garlic – shown to lower both cholesterol levels and blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Beans and legumes – lentils, beans, peas, etc are linked to lower cholesterol levels.
- Green tea – contains powerful antioxidants and catechins, which can decrease total and LDL cholesterol (source).
- Avocados – high in fiber, potassium and healthy fats, all which help keep cholesterol levels within healthy range.
While food should always be a first course of action for any health goal, daily supplements can also be powerful. Here are some recommendations:
- Fish oil – take 1,000-2,000mg daily to fight inflammation and reduce blood pressure. Studies show that fish oil supplements can help lower triglyceride levels.
- CoQ10 – researchers report that CoQ10 may reduce risk of heart attacks by lowering high blood pressure (source). Take 200-300mg/day.
- Niacin – when you take 1,500mg, you can increase your HDL (good) cholesterol and remove LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Red yeast rice – red yeast rice extract naturally contains lovastatin, which keeps the body from making cholesterol (source). Take 2,400mg daily.
- Garlic – 500mg/day has been shown to lower both cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight can make a big impact on your health. And when it comes to lowering your cholesterol levels, moderate exercise can help raise HLD levels. Here are the exercises I recommend:
- Bike riding
- Rebounding (check out this rebounder for your home)
Essential oils are plant-based compounds that have been used medicinally for thousands of years. They have hundreds of uses for health benefits. Here are a few that could support heart health.
- Lavender – not only is lavender known for its ability to decrease stress and cortisol levels, it also has qualities that support the heart and cardiovascular system (source).
- Rosemary – due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, rosemary oil is great for supporting your heart health (source).
- Clove – the eugenol in clove oil may be able to dilate major arteries in the body while also reducing systemic blood pressure. Eugenol also prevents platelets in the blood from clumping together. All this can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (source).
- Cypress – known to reduce stress and and boost heart health.
- Lemongrass – has powerful anti-inflammatory abilities that promote healthy blood circulation by keeping blood vessels dilated (source).
- Clary sage – “the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of clary sage oil are cardio-protective and help lower cholesterol naturally. Clary sage oil also decreases emotional stress and improves circulation” (source).
- Helichrysum – used to lower triglycerides, helichrysum is a great oil for blood circulation. Its anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties can help break cholesterol down. It’s also used to manage high blood pressure (source).
- Dill – one study found that dill seed essential oil decreased both triglycerides and total cholesterol levels in rats in just two weeks (source).
Simple Cholesterol Essential Oil Blend
Add the following to a 10 mL roller bottle:
- 5 drops lemongrass
- 3 drops rosemary
- 2 drops cypress
- 2 tbs fractionated coconut oil
Rub over stomach and bottoms of feet daily.
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