Natural Solutions for High Cholesterol.
Natural solutions for high cholesterol are not hard to find, but which ones actually work?
We see patients using all sorts of herbs and nutrients for high cholesterol, but not all natural solutions for cholesterol are equal. This blog will focus on those that have been shown repeatedly to be effective. We will discuss not only over the counter natural solutions but also dietary changes. This will not be a comprehensive list but a good place to start for high cholesterol solutions.
What we mean by high cholesterol.
Before we get too far into this topic, you should know that not all cholesterol is bad. In fact, our bodies need cholesterol for many different functions, like hormones and cell membranes. With regard to heart health, there are different kinds of cholesterol, LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). These
good and bad cholesterol can be further divided into subcategories as well. However, we will leave these subcategories of good and bad cholesterol for another blog article. For now, it is enough for you to know that when we are speaking of reducing cholesterol, we are referring to the LDL cholesterol.
Diets for high cholesterol.
There are many diets out there that will lower your LDL cholesterol for one reason or another. The most common focus is on reducing saturated fat. By doing this we reduce the amount of cholesterol we take in. For instance, the Mediterranean diet uses an abundance of fruits, vegetables, grains, and fish. Meats which are high in saturated fats are eaten in low quantities. American Heart Association diet focuses on low fat meats and animal products as well as fruits and vegetables.
One diet in particular focuses on using specific foods that are know to reduce LDL cholesterol. The diet combines all these foods into one. This diet is called the portfolio diet and has been shown to be very effective at doing just that. So what do you eat on this diet..... 5 things.
- Soy protein (about 80 grams daily)
- Viscous fiber (about 20 grams daily)
- Almonds (about 23)
- Plant sterols (about 2 grams)
Soy protein....... 80 grams may seem like a lot of soy proteint to eat but the idea is that you are replacing the meats you consume with soy products. Soy protein alone seems to have a cholesterol reducing effect. If you are also reducing your animal protein, you will get an added benefit. Instead of chicken stir fry have tofu stir fry, and change your dairy milk to soy milk.
Viscous Fiber...... your goal is 20 grams and you should be able to reach that by focusing on consuming lots of fruits and vegetables. If you are still short, you can add a fiber supplement. Pysllium husk is a great source as is ground flax seeds.
Almonds....... this one is pretty self explanatory.
Plant sterols........ look for margarine infused with plant sterols. Margarine? Yes not all margarine has hydrogenated oils. Some are made with olive oil and other good fats. Be sure to check the packaging for "partially hydrogenated...." to avoid hydrogenated oils. Benecol and Take Control are two brands available at most supermarkets but they are not the only ones.
Nutritional products for high cholesterol.
There are hundreds of documented herbs and nutritional products that have been shown to reduce cholesterol in some capacity. The ones we reference here have consistently held up in research trials consistently and specifically reduce LDL cholesterol. First pick is plant sterols. Some examples of plant sterols are Beta Sitosterol and campesterol. When consuming as little as 0.5 grams daily you can reduce your cholesterol. Up to 2 grams daily can have significant impact on LDL cholesterol.
My second pick is Red Yeast. Red yeast rice works very well for many of our patients, but it should be used with caution. The caution is because it has a similar active ingredients as Simvastatin. Some patients that take statin drugs develop muscle pain and fatigue and have had similar side effects with red yeast rice. I recommend you take it under that care of a doctor so you can get your liver enzymes checked.
Most important natural solution for high cholesterol.
The most important thing to understand about your heart health and cholesterol levels is your risk for potential damage to your heart. The target levels for cholesterol are in place to keep your risk as low as possible. LDL cholesterol is not the only risk for damage but it is an important component. Your target LDL number will be different depending on your family and personal history among other things.
To calculate an individuals risk for heart damage acuratly would require advanced testing and evaluation. If you know your target LDL levels, the above recommendations are great natural soultions for lowering high cholesterol. Remember to track your results and keep your health care provider involved in the progress.
To learn more about natural solutions for high cholesterol, click on the link below.