While cholesterol is seen by many to be a harmful substance, our bodies need a certain level to perform healthily. Made by the liver, cholesterol allows the body to manufacture vitamin D, certain hormones, and bile.
The problem comes when there is too much bad cholesterol or low-density lipoproteins (LDL) in the blood, and frighteningly, the symptoms are often silent. Lipoproteins actually transport cholesterol around the body, and whereas high-density lipoproteins (HDL) return fatty deposits to the liver for reprocessing, LDL transports cholesterol to where it’s needed. A high level of LDL with a low level of HDL increase the risk of clogged arteries as plaque forms, a substance made up of cholesterol, fat, and a few other substances. This can lead to reduced blood supply which can cause jaw and neck pain, angina, a heart attack, a stroke, and in chronic cases, heart disease.
In order to combat this, you need to consider the causes and implement lifestyle changes which will lower the risks of high cholesterol.
Eat a diet low in saturated fats
Foods that are high in saturated fats are the ones that are usually considered most delicious and often most ‘manly’. Animal fats are extremely high on the list, especially foods like fatty beef and poultry cooked with the skin. Equally, butter, cheese, and cream are not a good step forward and should be reduced in the diet, same with hydrogenated oils, such as palm oil. However, looking to a Mediterranean diet is a good way forward for anyone looking to lower their cholesterol. The focus should be on fish with high levels of omega-3, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and carbohydrates from wholegrains. Swapping vegetable oil and butter for olive oil is one of the first and most simple ways to take that first leap.
Quitting smoking is a battle that has already been won. Aside from the build-up of tar in the lungs, increased risk of cancer, and physical damage done to the teeth and mouth, smoking lowers the concentration of HDL in the body while also destructively breaking down cholesterol, which makes it easier for plaque to form. In other words, smoking deteriorates the body’s defense system against cholesterol build-up, instead creating an environment of weakness.
Moderate-intensity cardio exercise at least 150 minutes a week will help to get the heart beating faster and stronger, pumping blood through the body. Exercise helps to increase the concentration of HDL in the body which moves the fatty deposits to the liver to be broken down. It also stimulates enzymes to move the LDL around the body. Why not try a brisk morning walk or riding your bike to work.
Take cholesterol lowering supplements
Using herbal supplements can help you to lower your cholesterol naturally and more effectively. Similarly to eating a healthy diet, when looking for a supplement, consider the ingredients for effectiveness. For example, hawthorn has been proven to lower cholesterol by lowering LDL concentration, while niacin increases HDL levels and cayenne pepper increase blood flow and prevents the oxygenation of LDL and breaks down plaque. All these ingredients can be found in Cholesterol Reducer 1000, a highly reviewed cholesterol supplement.
If you are worried about high cholesterol, remember the phrase ‘you are what you eat’. If you’re eating a lot of trans-fats and drinking a lot of alcohol, without exercise, you need to consider rethinking what goes in your body if you want to get the most out of your body!