Herbs that Lower Cholesterol
Cholesterol can be both good and bad, so it is important to understand what it does, how it can affect your health, and how to maintain a healthy blood cholesterol level. Cholesterol is essential for the development and maintenance of strong cell membranes, hormones and the manufacture of vitamin D. Your body manufactures about 1,000 mgs of cholesterol daily. Too much cholesterol can cause a thick, fatty build-up, which narrows the arteries. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. This accumulation of fat obstructs, or even completely blocks, the flow of blood to the heart and other organs.
'Good' and 'Bad' CholesterolThere are two kinds of cholesterol- low-density lipoproteins (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol; - this type is the one which increases risk of heart attack. Then there are also high-density lipoproteins (HDL), also known as good cholesterol, - this is the one that actually reduces that risk.
How High is High Cholesterol?Around 20 percent of Americans have high cholesterol levels and in the UK 7 out of 10 adults have unhealthy levels of cholesterol, yet few adults realize that elevated cholesterol levels are a direct cause of coronary heart disease. Cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, usually shortened to "mmol/litre" or "mmol/l". Measuring cholesterol involves a simple blood test. A blood sample may be taken either by using a needle and a syringe, or by using a finger prick. This may be done at a GP's surgery, at a hospital appointment, or as part of a health assessment examination.
Who Should Have a Test?
- Anyone at risk of cardiovascular disease such as coronary heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, or stroke.
- Anyone, even children, with a family history of familial hypercholesterolaemia.
- Anyone aged 35 or over with a family history of early heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or if they smoke.
Know Your FatsThe first step to preventing a heart attack is knowing which fats raise LDL cholesterol and which don't . Saturated fats and dietary cholesterol, raise blood cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats do not, in fact they may even help to lower LDL levels when they are included as part of a low saturated fat diet.
To Reduce Cholesterol :
- Increase fish meals to 3 times a week.
- Increase dietary intake of water-soluble fiber.
- Decrease saturated fats (animal fats, palm and coconut oil).
- When using fats, use monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
- Decrease high cholesterol foods (eggs, organ meats).
- Choose low fat milk, cheese and yogurt.
- Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Start an exercise program and lose weight if necessary.
- Stop smoking.
- Garlic, vitamin B3 (niacin) and soy protein are all foods that can help lower cholesterol as supplements to your diet.