For many the news that they have elevated cholesterol also comes with the suggestion of prescription drugs to fix the problem. While a cholesterol lowering medication may indeed be necessary, there are many ways to help lower cholesterol naturally, and these should be incorporated into an overall cholesterol-lowering plan. What are some of these other ways to help lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy total cholesterol level?
• Alfalfa Seeds – 120 grams of heat-treated seeds per day for eight weeks were found to lead to a modest reduction in total cholesterol. Alfalfa seeds in amounts over 120 grams could cause damage to the body’s red blood cells.
• Capsicum Fruit – Peppers belong to this family. Used in salsas and other spicy foods, capsicum increases circulation and has been shown to lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
• Garlic – Garlic is one of those wonder foods that does a lot of good for a body. It’s high organosulfur content helps keep blood cholesterol levels balanced.
• Psyllium – This fibrous substance significantly reduces serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
• Red Yeast Rice – Used by the Chinese as both food and medicine, red yeast rice offers great hope when it comes to lowering cholesterol. Studies have shown that taking red yeast rice significantly lowers serum cholesterol levels and increases HDL cholesterol. It also lowered elevated triglycerides.
• Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – Studies show that niacin lowers LDL and raises HDL cholesterol significantly. Niacin can have unpleasant side effects and should be used under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner.
• Soluble Fiber – Soluble fiber reduces LDL cholesterol by inhibiting cholesterol absorption in the intestines. Soluble fiber is found in psyllium and foods such as oats, barley, rye, legumes, apples, prunes and berries, and vegetables such as carrots, broccoli and brussel sprouts.
• Plant Sterols and Stanols – These are naturally occurring substances found in some plants. Although it is unknown exactly how they work, it is thought that they block cholesterol absorption in the intestine. Stanols are added to some foods as a supplement (margarine, orange juice and salad dressings)
• Other foods that help lower cholesterol effectively – Oatmeal and oat cereals, whole grain cereals, flaxseed, berries, almonds, pecans, walnuts, beans, peas and lentils, salmon, swordfish and tuna, olive and canola oils.
Exercise is one of the best ways to not only lower your total cholesterol, but also to gain better overall health. Exercise stimulates the enzymes in your body that move LDL cholesterol from the blood to the liver where it can be disposed of through your waste system. 30 minutes of exercise daily is needed to lower cholesterol. This could be walking, swimming, biking, gardening, etc. It has also been found that more vigorous exercise more often will help lower cholesterol even more. Exercise will help with weight loss, too. If you are overweight, you need to lose those extra pounds to help with your cholesterol situation. Exercise benefits your body in a couple different ways in this case.
If you have found that you need to lower your cholesterol, by all means work with your doctor and take his/her recommendations into serious consideration, but incorporate some of these easy, healthy and non-prescription drugs into your cholesterol-lowering regimen as well.