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5 Methods of Cholesterol Control
Our bodies contain cholesterol in a number of different forms in the blood. The best known forms are LDL cholesterol (low density lipoprotein), known as bad cholesterol and HDL cholesterol (high density lipoprotein), known as good cholesterol.
If you have high LDL or total cholesterol, traditionally, doctors have recommended lifestyle changes such as dietary improvement and a program of exercise, perhaps along with prescription medication. Here are 5 methods you can use to help control your cholesterol.
Most doctors agree that diet has a major role to play in the control of cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol can be increased by a poor diet, and in particular by foods which are rich in saturated fats such as junk foods and other convenience foods and snacks which are highly processed. Scientific studies have shown that a nutritional program that is low in carbohydrate content can significantly lower levels of blood cholesterol levels. Certain foods are also known to have cholesterol-lowering properties, including fresh vegetables, nuts (especially almonds), legumes, soy protein (e.g. tofu), seeds and foods rich in soluble fiber. A diet rich in these foods can help to significantly reduce cholesterol in as little as a month.
A program of regular exercise is also an effective way of lowering cholesterol whilst improving overall health. It is recommended that most people exercise for 30 to 45 minutes per day, 6 days per week. The form of exercise need not be arduous, and does not require a gym membership. For example, a 30 minute brisk walk can be an excellent work out, and is a very effective way to burn fat.
There are a number of natural substances on the market that can help in lowering cholesterol. A healthy diet is the cornerstone of a cholesterol lowering program, but supplementation can be used alongside good nutrition. Supplements may also benefit your overall cardiovascular health, and many have antioxidant properties. Examples are garlic, soy and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).
Hawthorn contains a number of medicinal properties, including flavonoids such as vitexin, quercetin and rutin. A number of research studies have shown that hawthorne is effective in lowering levels of blood cholesterol. Hawthorne may also help to reduce blood pressure and increase coronary blood flow. The medicinal components of hawthorne prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol which in itself can help to protect against thrombus formation (blood clots). Hawthorne is available in capsules and tablets from pharmacies and health food stores, although you should consult your doctor, particularly if you have been prescribed medication.
Niacin, is perhaps better known as vitamin B3, and is also known as nicotonic acid. It is a water soluble vitamin and naturally occurs in a number of different foods, for example, avocados, leaf vegetables and broccoli.
It is thought that niacin stops the breakdown of fats which has the effect of lowering fatty acid content in the blood. The consequence of this is that levels of cholesterol and VLDL produced by the liver are decreased. By reducing the amount of VLDL, niacin causes levels of HLDL cholesterol to rise. The effect of this is ultimately to reduce LDL cholesterol in the body.
Niacin supplements are often recommended when there are low levels of HDL, although a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables should provide sufficient amounts.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
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