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Home / Articles / Columnists / Healthy Living /  Natural ways to Lower Cholesterol
. . . . . . .
Tuesday, October 6,2015

Natural ways to Lower Cholesterol

By Bernard Block  

Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in the blood. It is synthesized in the liver and is also derived from foods of animal origin. Cholesterol is essential for building healthy cell membranes. High concentration of cholesterol in the blood is one of the risk factors for heart disease. It is the build-up of cholesterol in the blood which blocks arteries and reduces blood supply to the heart. When the heart is starved of adequate blood supply this can potentially cause a heart attack.

 

All cholesterols are not the same. There are two types of cholesterol classified according to the density i.e. high density lipid (HDL) and low density lipid (LDL). It is the LDL which is capable of causing the damaging effects on our cardiovascular system and brain.

Normal cholesterol levels are below 200mg/dl which is equivalent to 5.2mmol/L. LDL should ideally be below 100 mg/dl (1.8mmol/L. LDL has deleterious (dangerous) effects on health should the concentration be too high.

It is possible to have no symptoms at all when the blood cholesterol is high. Unfortunately high cholesterol can be an incidental finding when a routine fasting blood is analyzed. Symptoms of chest pains, high blood pressure, diabetes and other related illnesses are often indicative that the cholesterol level is too high. This is treated urgently to prevent catastrophic health outcomes which could be life threatening. Immediate interventions are then pursued to lower the level of cholesterol. Tips to naturally lower Cholesterol Lifestyle changes and practices can help to lower cholesterol: Heart Healthy diet Consuming a heart healthy diet will lower blood cholesterol. Choose foods low in saturated fats and eliminate foods which contain trans-fats. Lean meats such as

o Chicken

o Turkey Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids

o Mackerel

o Sardine

o Tuna

o Trout

o Salmon Skim and low fat dairy products Whole grains

o Flaxseed

o Oatmeal Eat foods which have unsaturated fats.

 

 

o Nuts such as pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts

o Olive oil

o Canola oil

o Sunflower seeds Supplements (such as garlic, niacin, zinc) Eat more fiber daily Fruits and vegetables Reduce alcohol consumption Quit smoking Lose weight if you are overweight

 

Exercise Exercise has been demonstrated to moderately reduce high LDL cholesterol and boost HDL cholesterol. Exercise daily for 30 minutes Jogging, walking, swimming, yoga, aerobics are a few of the exercises to consider.

Stop smoking Smoking compromises both the lungs and the heart. It has also been shown to raise cholesterol levels. Seek help to quit and restore overall health. Medication Persons with very high cholesterol will be prescribed medication to urgently lower the levels. Medications called statins are most frequently prescribed and have been shown to be effective. The healthy lifestyle routine fasting blood is analyzed. Symptoms of chest pains, high blood pressure, diabetes and other related illnesses are often indicative that the cholesterol level is too high. This is treated urgently to prevent catastrophic health outcomes which could be life threatening. Immediate interventions are then pursued to lower the level of cholesterol. Tips to naturally lower Cholesterol Lifestyle changes and practices can help to lower cholesterol: Heart Healthy diet Consuming a heart healthy diet will lower blood cholesterol. Choose foods low in saturated fats and eliminate foods which contain trans-fats.

Lean meats such as

o Chicken

o Turkey Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids

o Mackerel

o Sardine

o Tuna

o Trout

o Salmon Skim and low fat dairy products Whole grains

o Flaxseed

o Oatmeal Eat foods which have unsaturated fats.

o Nuts such as pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts

o Olive oil

o Canola oil

o Sunflower seeds Supplements (such as garlic, niacin, zinc) Eat more fiber daily Fruits and vegetables Reduce alcohol consumption Quit smoking Lose weight if you are overweight

Exercise Exercise has been demonstrated to moderately reduce high LDL cholesterol and boost HDL cholesterol. Exercise daily for 30 minutes Jogging, walking, swimming, yoga, aerobics are a few of the exercises to consider.

Stop smoking Smoking compromises both the lungs and the heart. It has also been shown to raise cholesterol levels. Seek help to quit and restore overall health. Medication Persons with very high cholesterol will be prescribed medication to urgently lower the levels. Medications called statins are most frequently prescribed and have been shown to be effective. The healthy lifestyle tips should also become an integral part of the plan to lower the blood cholesterol.

In summary, knowing your numbers for blood cholesterol is important. The risk of heart disease is lower once we have successfully lowered blood cholesterol. It is important for all adults to have a lipid screen done annually as part of the general health check. Those who have the risk factors (including family history) should be closely monitored for elevated cholesterol and take corrective measures if it is above the recommended level. Lifestyle changes adopted to lower cholesterol will benefit overall health.

 

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