How to Lower Cholesterol – Foods That Lower Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, you may be wondering what your options are for getting it back down to a safe level. Not everyone is comfortable taking drugs, but sometimes cholesterol cannot be controlled through diet and exercise alone. Here is a look at how herbs may help you turn the tide on the war against cholesterol.
If your blood contains more cholesterol than is considered to be a “healthy” amount, then you are diagnosed with high cholesterol. This is not your only problem, however. High cholesterol can also increase your risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and even death.
How does this happen. LDL cholesterol, or the “bad cholesterol” builds up along the walls of your arteries when you have an excessive amount in your blood. Over time, this narrows the arteries and causes them to become hard. If left untreated, this narrowing can become worse to the point where the artery is completely blocked off. When this occurs, you have an extremely high risk of having a heart attack or stroke because the blood cannot get to where it needs to be. If your LDL levels are high, it becomes extremely important that you get them back down again as soon as possible.
For many people, diet, exercise, and medications are the most often prescribed ways to help lower LDL cholesterol. However, there are a variety of herbs and vitamins that you can try as well.
Niacin, or Vitamin B3, has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 20 percent. At the same time, it can raise the level of the good cholesterol, HDL cholesterol by as much as 30 percent. Supplementing with niacin can help you make sure that you are getting enough of this nutrient.
Artichoke leaf is one herb that can help you lower the level of your cholesterol. It keeps your body from creating more cholesterol so that the levels you have will go down. At the same time, cynarin, a chemical found in artichoke leaves is supposed to help the liver produce more bile, which allows cholesterol to be flushed from your system.
Plant stanols and sterols are substances that are found in many plants. You can take these as a supplement, though you can also find them in the ingredient list of some juices, spreads, and dressings. They help reduce the amount of cholesterol you have because they are chemically similar to cholesterol. This allows them to block your intestines from absorbing the cholesterol that you eat.
Garlic can be taken as both a supplement along with its numerous culinary uses. The antioxidant activity caused by garlic keeps LDL cholesterol from oxidizing.
Another herb is guggul, which has been used in India for thousands of years in ayurvedic medicine. It is the active ingredient in guggulsterone, which helps the liver to break down LDL cholesterol more quickly so that it can be excreted from the body.
Last on the list are soy products. Many people use soy in substitute for animal products, which will naturally reduce the amount of cholesterol found in your diet. Soy can also help the liver metabolize LDL cholesterol more effectively.