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Cholesterol – reduce it naturally

CholesterolBring your total cholesterol level down without drugs, using these natural food and supplement remedies.

Cholesterol has two sources. The first is your liver where it is an essential part of bile salts, steroidal hormones and cell membranes, and where it is needed to metabolise vitamin D. The second source is from food and the ‘bad’ or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol comes from saturated fat found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products.

Your total cholesterol level is determined by your levels of both LDL and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.  LDL cholesterol forms the plaque that can narrow and harden arteries, leading to heart disease and stroke, while HDL (‘good’) cholesterol is protective, removing LDL cholesterol circulating in the blood and excreting it.

CholesterolHigh cholesterol levels can be due to genetic predisposition, diet and a sedentary lifestyle. It often goes hand in hand with metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and hypertension.

Eat the right fats

Increase your omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish such as tuna, salmon or mackerel which lower LDLs. Nuts, especially walnuts, are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids; so is flaxseed. – Research ( 1 ) found eating 30g of flaxseed meal daily reduced LDL by 7%. A daily avocado which is high in monounsaturated fats has been shown to lower LDL by as much as 17 percent ( 2 ).

Lecithin provides another great addition to your breakfast and due to its plant sterols it has cholesterol lowering effects ( 3 ).

Eliminate as much dietary saturated fat as possible. Cut out processed meats altogether. Trans fatty acids, found in processed foods and margarine, should be avoided, as they have the same effect on cholesterol levels as saturated fat.

Fill up on fibre

Take up to 1 tablespoon of psyllium husks daily in a big glass of water. Psyllium is best taken last thing before you go to bed to avoid any interference with supplements or medication. Psyllium contains soluble fibre which binds with cholesterol in the intestine so that it is excreted by the body rather than being absorbed. Research shows this reduces LDL cholesterol ( 4 ).

PortionsFresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains such as oat, rice or barley bran contain lots of cholesterol-lowering soluble fibre. Vegetables or salads should be taking up 50% of your dinner plate.

Kick start your day

Drink the juice of half a lemon in hot water before breakfast. This helps the liver, which is responsible for cholesterol production.

Exercise

At least 30 minutes daily moderately intense exercise is essential for burning fats and improving circulation to remove excess cholesterol.

Stress management

Stress increases cholesterol levels, possibly because of an increased production of the hormone cortisol which is derived from cholesterol.

Supplement your efforts

There are several supplements that are very beneficial for improving your blood lipid levels such as fish oil, krill oil, garlic oil, globe artichoke or a liver tonic. To find out about your specific supplementary requirements contact Anita@missinglinkhealth.com.au

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