TOP 3 HERBS FOR CHOLESTEROL MANAGEMENT

 It is no surprising if you have high cholesterol levels in the blood. It could happen even with the people with good health. However, in case of the high cholesterol levels, it is good to take come corrective steps to thwart the problem. You need to take some important herbs for the management of cholesterol.

To manage your cholesterol with the help of some herbs or medications with zero side effects is called the cholesterol management. It is good to follow the cholesterol management pattern in an appropriate manner. This will give you freedom from various heart ailments. It is therefore advised to eat the low fat diets irrespective of them containing the saturated fat or the total fat.

The cholesterol management can be done with the help of the herb called the garlic bulb. The garlic has the tremendous healing properties and is used to treat a host of diseases. The garlic has a high content of the organosulphur substances which are also found in the cauliflower, onion and broccoli. The sulfur concentration in garlic is four times higher than other vegetables. This sulfur lowers the serum cholesterol levels or the LDL and increases the HDL or the good cholesterol.

The sulfur has the property to reduce the effect of clots in the vascular system thus reducing the formation of plaques in blood vessels and the arteries. This leads to the prevention of cardiac arrests or strokes. The other prime advantage of the garlic is that it provides an effective and healthy blood circulation. Among other herbs one needs to eat to reduce the levels of cholesterol, is the alpha herb.

According to the research, the Saponons in the alfalfa seeds reduce the plaque formation. These seeds attack the LDL cholesterol levels and remove it from the blood and mingle them with the HDL. This is a good development for the human body as far as the cholesterol levels are concerned.

 

The third one is the capsicum fruit which is very beneficial to reduce the LDL levels.  

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FOODS TO REDUCE LDL CHOLESTEROL

 According to the National Cholesterol Education Program, about 25 percent of the U.S. population has mild hypercholestrolemia, or elevated LDL levels. LDL cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein, is also known as the bad cholesterol in our bodies. LDL cholesterol promotes the formation of atherosclerotic plaque within artery walls, giving rise to cardiovascular disease. Thirty percent of cholesterol comes from what we eat; the body manufactures the other 70 percent. Dietary factors that help to reduce LDL cholesterol include foods low in cholesterol and low in saturated and trans fats, and foods high in soluble fiber, soy protein, omega-3 fatty acids and plant sterols.

Ground Flax

Flax is a source of many nutrients, including fiber and omega-3 fats. Alpha-linolenic acid, the omega-3 fat in flax, and the soluble fiber content both help to lower cholesterol levels. Flaxseeds come in brown and golden varieties, and are equally nutritious. Occasionally, brown flaxseeds contain a slightly higher omega-3 content. When you eat whole flaxseeds, you obtain only the insoluble fiber benefit from the seed. Therefore, you should consume ground flaxseeds, so that you can benefit from both the soluble fiber and the fatty acid content and hence the cholesterol-lowering capabilities.

Heart-Healthy Oils

Nonhydrogenated margarine, i.e. soft margarine, is the best spread for lowering LDL levels. Margarine made from olive, canola, soybean or flaxseed are the best choices due to the higher content of omega-3 fat. Margarines fortified with plant sterols are even a notch better. According to Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, plant sterols can help reduce LDL cholesterol by as much as 10 percent when consumed in small amounts daily as part of a nutritious diet. Try 2 tsp. of plant sterol margarines such as Becel Pro.activ to help reduce cholesterol by 40 percent. To add even more omega-3 to your diet, eat nuts and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, char and trout more often.

 Legumes

Legumes include beans, peas, nuts and lentils and are full of soluble fiber. Dietitians of Canada state that intakes of 7 to 10 g of soluble fiber daily can lower LDL cholesterol by about 7 percent. Pinto beans and green peas each contain 2 g of soluble fiber in a half cup cooked serving.

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FOODS THAT HELP LOWER CHOLESTEROL

There are several foods that help lower high cholesterol. A diet consisting of these food items help a person lower blood cholesterol naturally without any side effects. Apart from eating these foods that help to lower cholesterol, it is also necessary to make lifestyle changes and exercise.

Following are some of the foods that should be included in a diet. These foods are not just tasty, but also healthy and have been the subject of intensive research during recent times.

  • Oatmeal and oat bran: Oatmeal contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. Besides oatmeal, brussels sprouts,  kidney beans, fruit and flaxseed are just a few examples of foods that contain fiber. Soluble and insoluble fiber helps to reduce the rate at which carbohydrates are converted into glucose and improve the functioning of the intestinal tract.

    * Plant stanols and sterols: Recent studies have shown that intake of food items such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, grains and nuts assist in reducing the absorption of dietary cholesterol and lowering of LDL cholesterol.

    * Fish: A recent study has proved that fatty fish such as mackerel, herring and salmon are high in  omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Omega 3 fatty acids are effective in reducing triglycerides and build up of arterial plaque.  The American Heart Association also recommends eating fatty fish at least two times a week in order to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease CVD.
     
    * Soy protein: Soy protein foods such as soybeans, tofu and soy milk are also very effective in reducing your total cholesterol and bad cholesterol (LDL). You can use these types of foods to replace foods that are rich in saturated fats.

    These foods not only help to reduce cholesterol, they are tasty as well as nutritious. It is  not always necessary that something that is good for you, need not taste well. 

 FOODS THAT BOOST HDL – THE GOOD CHOLESTEROL

 You might not have fully thought about it all this while but eating the right type of food can also increase the level of HDL, the good cholesterol, in your blood. All you need to do is to eliminate a few things while munching the rest in a usual manner. But most of all, do eat the following:

Nuts: Quite surprisingly this, and other food groups, would be made up of a lot of fats. However, this fat would be either monosaturated fat or polyunsaturated fat. Both of them are good for health. Nuts are an example of the two. They are full of monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats. This type of fat is quite healthy in nature and can help increase the level of HDL-Cholesterol in the blood.

Fish: Fishes are an abundant source of omega-3 fatty acids, another type of healthy fat which helps increase the level of HDL-Cholesterol in the body. Most fishes can be consumed to increase HDL levels in the blood. However, stay away from the real fatty ones.

Olives: Olives are excellent source of monosaturated fats, fats which are easier to breakdown and which, like others, increase the level of HDL Cholesterol in the blood. Olives can be consumed either in the fruit form or in the form of olive oil.

Monosaturated Oils: Oils such as Canola oil are good source of monosaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Hence, they are good for improvement of HDL-Cholesterol levels in the blood.

Foods rich in Vitamin B: Vitamin B has been considered to be highly effective in increasing the level of HDL-Cholesterol in the blood. Though it is easily available in drugstores (without prescription) it is best to have it in the natural form, extracted by our body from Vitamin B rich foods. This would also lay to rest any possibilities of an overdose of Vitamin B, which usually is the case when it is taken in the pill form.

Alcohol: In a way, alcohol can be treated as a food as well, albeit a modified type of food. A 12 ounce serving of beer or 5 ounce of wine, when taken on a regular basis, can help improve the level of HDL-Cholesterol in the blood. However, do not exceed this limit or take it as a way to legitimize alcohol consumption. Drink but do not binge.

Lean Meat: Lean meat can also help you improve the level of HDL Cholesterol in your blood.

SOME FOODS YOU HAVE TO AVOIDE TO

Red Meat: Red meat is considered a harbinger of bad cholesterol. Hence, avoid it at all costs.

Eggs: If you love an omelette or fried eggs, then know that you are inviting trouble. Egg yolk contains a lot of cholesterol, which means trouble in the long run.

Cheese: Cheese is something which you should stay away from as it contains a lot of cholesterol. A higher amount of cholesterol in the blood would result in lowering down of HDL-Cholesterol. Hence, avoid it.

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Will Eating Coconut Oil Raise My Cholesterol?

 This is the most often asked question I receive regarding coconut oil. This is a legitimate concern because we have been conditioned to believe that all saturated fats raise cholesterol. Since coconut oil contains a high amount of saturated fat, it would stand to reason that it, too, would raise cholesterol.

The truth is, eating coconut oil will improve your cholesterol values and reduce your risk of heart disease. Many people, however, have expressed concern after having their blood cholesterol checked and finding that their total cholesterol has increased since they began using coconut oil. If coconut oil reduces risk of heart disease, why did their cholesterol levels rise?

I have found that people’s response varies when they start using coconut oil. In some people total cholesterol decreases, while in others it increases. But in either case, their HDL (good) cholesterol always increases. The rise in total cholesterol that some people experience is due mostly to an increase in good cholesterol. Their cholesterol ratio (total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol) improves, thus reducing their risk of heart disease.

It is an established fact that the cholesterol ratio is a far more accurate indicator of heart disease risk than total cholesterol. Total cholesterol, in fact, is misleading and is a poor risk indicator because it lumps together both LDL (bad) cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol. Total cholesterol gives you no indication of how much is good and how much is bad. You can have high total cholesterol, but if a large percentage of it is made up of HDL, then your risk is low.

The lower the cholesterol ratio the better. A cholesterol ratio of 5.0 mg/dl is considered average risk. Above this value is high risk and below is less than average risk. A ratio of 3.2 mg/dl or less is considered optimal or the lowest risk.

If you have a total cholesterol value of 240 mg/dl, this would be considered high. You would be told that you are at high risk for heart disease. Your doctor would tell you to reduce your saturated fat intake and have you take cholesterol-lowering drugs. However, if your HDL value was 75 mg/dl, your cholesterol ratio would be 3.2 mg/dl. This value is in the optimal range and you would have the lowest risk. Since the cholesterol ratio is a far more accurate indicator of heart disease risk, even though your total cholesterol may be high, your actual risk is very low.

Just the opposite can also happen. If a person has a total cholesterol reading of 178 mg/dl, that would be considered ideal and believed to indicate low risk. If, however, his HDL was only 35 mg/dl, his cholesterol ratio would be 5.1 mg/dl, which is in the high risk category! This explains why so many people who die of heart disease have normal or below normal total cholesterol levels and why many people with high total cholesterol levels, live long lives without experiencing heart problems.

When people ask me about their cholesterol values, I tell them to ignore total cholesterol and look at their cholesterol ratio. In every case, the cholesterol ratio improves when they start using coconut oil and their risk of heart disease drops.

Here is an actual case. A woman had a family history of high cholesterol. Family members had total cholesterol readings in excess of 400 mg/dl. After adding coconut oil into her diet, her total cholesterol rose from 336 to 376 mg/dl. Ordinarily this is considered very high. However, her HDL (good) cholesterol nearly doubled from 65 to 120 mg/dl. Her cholesterol ratio dropped from a high risk value of 5.2 mg/dl to a low risk value of 3.1 mg/dl, which is in the optimal range. Although she had a very high total cholesterol reading, her true risk was very low. Her blood pressure was optimal at 110/60.

Studies have consistently shown that coconut oil increases HDL and improves the cholesterol ratio. While coconut oil does not reduce total cholesterol as effectively as polyunsaturated oils do, it has a greater effect on HDL. When HDL and cholesterol ratio values are evaluated, coconut oil reduces risk of heart disease more than soybean, canola, safflower, or any other vegetable oil typically recommended as “heart healthy.” Interestingly, most vegetable oils increase the cholesterol ratio, thus increasing the risk of heart disease. Coconut oil is definitely the best oil you can use to protect yourself from heart disease.

Healthy Ways Newsletter Email edition Volume 2 Number 1

Dr. Bruce Fife Published by Piccadilly Books, Ltd., www.piccadillybooks.com

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