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Cholesterol is a gauge used to measure potential heart disease. If your cholesterol is above five your doctor will probably bring it to your attention and may look at medication.
The dictionary definition of cholesterol is: a substance found in the “body cells” which carries fats through the blood stream.
The main influences of Cholesterol.
The first main influence is your genetic makeup. Some people are predisposed to having high cholesterol just because it runs in the family and there is not a lot we can do about this one.
Other factors include, DIET (you are what you eat) being over weight, not getting enough exercise and being a smoker.
The potential risks of high cholesterol.
They are Atherosclerosis. Artherio is the Greek word for Arteries. Sclerosis comes from the Greek word for hardening.
Cardiovascular disease. Covers a whole range of problems like Heart attack, Angina, Stroke & Heart failure all come under the heading of cardiovascular disease.
Circulatory disorders and hypertension are other potential problems.
Top of the list is high fibre (good quality fibre)…..
Like jumbo porridge oats, the more they’re pounded the less the goodness them
Linseeds. Golden lineeds are best – soluble fibre, needs water to work, TIP for constipation
Oat bran – brilliant for lowering cholesterol
Fresh fruit Grapefruit, Apples, pears & oranges all contain high sources of pectin which help lower cholesterol.
Fresh vegetables like garlic, onions, tomatoes, carrots & green veg. Garlic and cayenne pepper cannot be over- emphasised.
All the seeds – linseeds, pumpkin, sunflower & sesame seeds all great sources of essential fats, vitamins & minerals especially B vitamins & fibre.
Oils – There are two food sources of EFA’s. So called because they must be got from the foods we eat. Fresh oily fish, the fresher and oilyer the better. This gives you high levels of Omega 3. A good quality organic olive oil or flax or Udo’s oil to use cold on foods ready to eat.
These seed oils will give a broader base of Omega 3, 6, &9. But the Omega 3 levels are not as high a fish.
Salads – lettuce, seaweeds, sprouts, pine nuts & goats cheese make a tasty and nutritious salad. Our Mediterranean friends eat salads after almost every meal. Adding some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper makes a plain salad very tasty.
Foods to avoid/reduce – remember the phrase “a little of what you fancy does you good” N.B.
If your cholesterol is high at the moment these are foods to avoid at the moment and you can re-introduce them at a later date.
Refined carbohydrates e.g. - WHITE breads, WHITE pastas & WHITE rice. These foods have no nutritional value at all, and very little fibre content.
Processed foods – long life foods and fast foods. They are full of trans fatty acids and saturated fats.
Animal protein – Red meat is the biggest dietary source of cholesterol. Now red meat has lots of other benefits high in iron, b-vitamins so you can weigh up the pros & cons yourself
Dairy foods – Especially high fat cheeses
Caffeine – that is tea and coffee. Try herbal tea or coffee replacements or WATER. Water is very important for energy, concentration and of course constipation.
Cholesterol is a key component in every cell of the body and plays many vital functions. Most cells make their own but the liver also makes it from our food. If dietary cholesterol intake is high, the body naturally compensates by producing less but some people’s bodies don’t limit production and their levels of cholesterol become unbalanced.
There are ‘bad’ cholesterol, low-density-lipoproteins (LDL’s) and ‘good’ cholesterol, high density lipoproteins (HDL’s) and it’s the ratio that matters most, not the individual numbers
So far we’ve looked at our genetic make up & our dietary do’s & don’ts. There are a couple of other factors to look at.
Regular exercise like yoga, Pilates, meditation which you can do here OR even things like walking swimming & deep breathing are all great forms of exercise which will help reduce stress levels & lower cholesterol. You need increase your heart rate for half an hour x 3 times a week.
Some vitamins that will help reduce cholesterol levels would be:
B-complex – contains all the B vitamins. B3 is esp. good for cholesterol. The B-vits as a group help reduce stress and tiredness and help absorb all the other vitamins from your foods you eat.
Vitamin C – Helps lower cholesterol is a great anti oxidant and also fantastic for fighting colds and flu’s.
Co-enzyme Q10 – Essential for energy production in the body. Great for circulation. Great for the heart. Very important if you’re on statins. ASK YOUR DOCTORS.
EFA’s – Omega 3, 6, 9. Cannot be produced by the body and very common for people to be deficient in. Supplement forms come in fish oil or seed oil, liquid or caps.
Lecithin granules – Breaks down fat, increases brain function & protects against heart disease.
Hawthorn – This is a great heart tonic, lowers blood pressure & cholesterol levels & decreases fat deposit levels in the body.
Guggul plus – An Indian herb complex which helps reduce fats. We’ve had great success with this remedy in the shop.
So to summarise…..
Cholesterol is fatty deposits in the bloodstream.
INCREASE your good fibres fresh fruit & vegetables, oils & salads.
DECREASE your refined carbohydrates, animal meats, dairy & processed foods
Take exercise for half an hour 3 times a week.
This should help reduce your cholesterol levels naturally. You can also buy vitamins for cholesterol too. A selection of vitamins for reducing cholesterol can be found below.