If you suffer from high cholesterol levels, you probably think that it is caused by eating too high cholesterol fatty foods. You also probably think that cholesterol is the evil plug that will clog your coronary arteries and cause a heart attack. May be you're wondering how to lower LDL cholesterol naturally and without drugs.
May be also you have already started adopting a low fat diet or taking statin drugs to lower your cholesterol under the belief that if you lower your cholesterol all will be well.
For a long time cholesterol was wrongly convicted by doctors and medical researchers as the primary cause of heart disease. The truth is that the true predisposing factor to heart disease is inflammation. Inflammation is caused by free radicals, sugar and stress. Cholesterol is not the enemy, it is a friend.
Cholesterol is normally produced by the body and has so many crucial functions. When there is an inflammation that causes injury to the walls of the arteries, cholesterol is the fireman that comes to the rescue. Being a slippery substance it sticks to the plaque formed at the rough injured area to provide a smooth surface that protects the arteries from further build-up of plaque that clogs the arteries.
Statistics show that 80% of people who have had heart attacks did not have elevated levels of blood cholesterol prior to these attacks. Moreover, if your serum cholesterol levels are normal, you may still be a candidate for a heart attack or stroke. Recent medical references show that the evidence against cholesterol as a causative factor in heart disease is not as strong as thought before. In their book, “The Great Cholesterol Myth” Dr. Stephen Sinatra, MD and Dr. Jonny Bowden, ND, include hundreds of medical references from peer-reviewed journals that support this.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is found in every cell of our bodies. It is an important component of cell membranes and is used in the formation of various hormones such as sex hormones and cortisol as well as bile acids. It is also the basic molecule for vitamin D synthesis and is an important component for brain health.
The liver manufactures 80 % of cholesterol that the body needs. We also obtain cholesterol in our diet by eating animal foods such as eggs, meat and dairy products.
Cholesterol is carried in the blood via proteins called lipoproteins. High density lipoproteins (HDL) is known as good cholesterol because it picks up excess cholesterol in the blood and carries it to the liver. Low density lipoprotein (LDL) is called bad cholesterol because it can build up in the artery walls and cause arteriosclerosis. How to lower LDL cholesterol naturally is a question I’m often asked by clients.
What causes high cholesterol?
High serum cholesterol has little or nothing to do with dietary intake of cholesterol. It is more directly related to high sugar intake, low dietary fiber, stress, lack of exercise, cigarette smoking, insufficient dietary antioxidants and or a low functioning thyroid gland.
As an Oakville nutritionist, I see high “bad” cholesterol as the body’s response to inflammation, so rather than aiming at lowering cholesterol, I aim at eliminating the root cause of the inflammation, so your body can find its own balance of healthy cholesterol.
The Current Canadian targets for cholesterol management are:
- Total cholesterol: Less than 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) si aideal and more tha 6.2 mmol/L is considered high
- HDL cholesterol: More than 1.3mmol/L is desirable
- LDL cholesterol: Less than 2.6 mmol/L is ideal and more than 4.0 mmol/L is high and you need to plan how to lower your LDL cholesterol.
- Triglycerides: Below 1.7 mmol/L is desirable, 1.7-2.2 mmol/L is borderline high, 2.3-5.6 mmol/L is high and above 5.6 mmol/L is very high
It is worth mentioning that total cholesterol is an almost meaningless number. To get valuable information from cholesterol numbers you have to check your HDL, LDL (including particle size, so ask for the particle size test when you meet with your doctor), and triglycerides.
How to lower your LDL cholesterol naturally with holistic nutrition?
Statins are commonly used cholesterol lowering drugs that may be of marginal benefit and come with many side effects. Studies have shown that statin drugs increase risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and /or dying by suicide. They might also cause liver dysfunction or muscle problems.
The best way to lower your cholesterol is by reducing inflammation through adopting a diet rich in good fats, fiber and antioxidants, detoxification and making lifestyle changes.
Top 5 holistic nutrition tips to lower your LDL Cholesterol naturally by an Oakville nutritionist:
- Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates – Carbohydrate rich foods such as sugar, bread, pasta, rice, breakfast cereals and foods made of flour promote high insulin levels. Insulin signals your liver to manufacture more cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Eat more fiber – Soluble fiber found in oats, flaxseed, beans and fruits helps to lower cholesterol level. Fiber ensures that excess cholesterol in your intestines is excreted in bowel movements, rather than being reabsorbed into your body.
- Eat fish– Omega 3 fats in fatty fish can help to reduce inflammation and LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol. Good options are fatty fish such as sardines, salmon, mackerel and herrings.
- Avoid bad fats–Processed oils, vegetable fat, hydrogenated and trans-fats lower your HDL cholesterol and raise your LDL cholesterol. Check the labels for these harmful fats.
- Eat 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily–Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that reduce inflammation and protect the cholesterol in your body from becoming oxidized.
- Support your liver–the liver is the main fat burning organ in your body. If you have a fatty liver your liver is storing fat, not burning fat. Healthy U Turn 21 Day Super Cleanse Program with a Oakville-based holistic nutritionist Dr Nasr can help you cleanse your system and support your liver.
If you need help withyour health and nutrition CALL Healthy U Turn at 416 876 4634 to book an appointment OR Sign up for a FREE Clarity Session with Oakville nutritionist, Dr Maha Nasr to discuss your health concerns and learn more about how we can help
The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Sherry Torkos, BSc Phm
The Nutritional Bypass-Reverse atherosclerosis without surgery, David W. Rowland, PhD
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