Heart disease is America’s number one killer and probably, the number one killer in the industrialized world. The myth being perpetuated that cholesterol is never high before the age 40 is exactly that – a myth. Don’t believe a word of it.

The facts necessitate a quick guide to lowering your cholesterol quickly – preferably opting for a natural and alternative treatment for high cholesterol.

But first … for some good news. Cholesterol … contrary to popular belief … is not the cause of heart disease. The inflammation of arteries does that. Heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol levels. That’s right. There’s a lot of misinformation being passed around that cholesterol is bad – that cholesterol is the cause of heart disease. That’s so far from the truth. In fact, your body needs cholesterol to stay healthy. Your body uses cholesterol to produce hormones, vitamin D and bile acids to digest fat. And the truth of the matter is – your body requires only a small amount of cholesterol in the blood to meet these needs.

So why should you worry about lowering your cholesterol levels and maintaining it preferably at less than 200mg./dl.? Because failure in doing so can lead to the inflammation of your arteries … and that is when cardiovascular events like heart attacks will occur. It’s only when you have too much cholesterol in your bloodstream (referred to as hypercholesterolemia) that problems start to arise. And this is where you need to pay attention. Because a high cholesterol level … let’s say … north of 250, can and will lead to problems such as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis clogs arteries including your coronary arteries (arteries that feed the heart) and if left unchecked overtime, will lead to heart disease like angina and heart attack.

This is why you need to lower your cholesterol level and why it’s so important to keep those levels in check. Statins such as Zocor and Lipitor may be powerful, cholesterol-lowering drugs and helps to some extent, but … whether you believe it or not … these can cause more damage (liver toxicity is a common side effect) than good to your body in the long run. You don’t need these ill-effects creeping into your life just as you’re about to kick back and enjoy your retirement.

Don’t get me wrong … I’m all for taking prescriptions drugs under doctor’s orders if no other alternatives are made available. I’m sure you’ll agree with that.

But I’m about to show you 5 tips you can go about lowering your unhealthy cholesterol levels without drugs right now – and fast!

Lower cholesterol level

Here’s how to lower your cholesterol the natural way:

Consume more “healthy” fats

You must have heard of monounsaturated fats. Usually found in some types of nuts like almonds and walnuts, olive oils, canola oils and avocados. These “healthy” fats lower “bad” cholesterol (LDLs – Low-Density Lipoproteins) but at the same time, help maintain the “good” cholesterol (HDLs – High-Density Lipoproteins).

Your doctor can vouch for the fact that consuming monounsaturated fat instead of saturated fat can lower your cholesterol levels quite drastically. You would have probably come across health advice about lowering cholesterol such as, “Replace whole milk with skim milk,” “Cut down on that refined sugar,” or “Dump butter for margarine.” Most of that information is true except for dumping butter for margarine. Margarine increases the bad cholesterol and even worse, lowers the good cholesterol – almost tripling the risk of a coronary heart disease.

Don’t believe the TV ads and stay away from margarine. Dr. Allan Spreen calls margarine, “plastic butter.” And he has a point. Why? Because being hydrogenated, margarine is in fact one molecule away from actually being plastic – no kidding! To put it mildly, you’re actually about one molecule away from eating Tupperware. You’re more than welcome to carry out a simple test to prove this. All you have to do is leave a container of butter and a container of margarine out for a while and watch. It will only be a matter of time when you see flies hovering your container of butter – avoiding the margarine altogether. If it’s not good enough for flies, you know you’re in trouble!

Lower your intake of “bad” fat

Lowering cholesterol without drugs begins with this very important step – simply limit your consumption of saturated fat. Saturated fat is said to stimulate your liver to produce LDLs – or bad cholesterol that would simply clog up your arteries. According to Dr William Castelli, co-author of Good Fat, Bad Fat, he recommended that a smart diet to help lower cholesterol would take into consideration the amount of “bad” fat consumed per day – ideally being 20 grams a day. And that’s just for those who are healthy.

A good idea would be to simply check your food labels when grocery shopping to get a sense of how much fat grams will be going into your body at any given day. Make this a habit because a simple precautionary measure like this can mean a lot to your long-term health.

Also, take note of trans-fatty acids. The name probably already gives it away – it is another bad fat. Trans-fatty acids are chemically processed and will not only raise your total cholesterol levels but can also lower your HDLs. These acids are usually found in deep-fried fast foods, biscuits, shortenings and packaged pastries. They’re not usually indicated on food labels so be extra prudent about your food choices.

Get a blood test

You will want to get a blood test if you find yourself gaining weight, losing hair, feeling depressed, feeling more tired than usual, more sensitive to cold than usual and sudden stiffening of your joints. These could be symptoms of an underactive thyroid – medically termed as hypothyroidism. Diagnosing this condition with a blood test could nip the problem in the bud and save you from a rising cholesterol level.

While you’re at it, ask your doctor to check your homocysteine level as well. Recent studies are pointing towards homocysteine as a better predictor of cardiovascular events. And there is a connection between hypothyroidism, homocysteine and heart disease. If you have an underactive thyroid, this prevents the absorption of B vitamins – causing homocysteine levels to shoot up. The result is a 300 percent risk of a heart attack.

A good homocysteine level is under 8. Anything above that and your doctor should be able to prescribe you some supplements. These supplements would usually center around vitamins B2, B6, B12 and folate.

no-eggs-low-cholesterol

Can I have my eggs back?

Yes, you definitely can. According to the British Nutrition Foundation’s Nutrition Bulletin, dietary cholesterol in eggs “has no clinically significant impact” on heart disease. In fact, eggs are such a rich source of nutrients that avoiding them could cause more damage than good to your health.

I mentioned homocysteine. Well, according to a study from Harvard Medical School, choline may be effective in managing homocysteine. And where is choline found? You guessed it. Eggs. In fact the best source of choline is egg yolks. But if you’re someone with diabetes or high sugar or elevated cholesterol or heart disease, you should check with your doctor about the number of eggs you can consume per week. Such cases are usually limited to a egg per week, that too if you insist on eating it – DO NOT use eggs dishes for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Egg replacements are good alternatives for you. Try substituting one banana or 1/4 cup applesauce for each egg called for in a recipe for sweet, baked desserts. These will add some flavor to the recipe, so make sure bananas or apples are compatible with the other flavors in the dessert.

Egg Replacement Tips

  • If a recipe calls for three or more eggs, it is important to choose a replacer that will perform the same function (i.e., binding or leavening).
  • Trying to replicate airy baked goods that call for a lot of eggs, such as angel food cake, can be very difficult. Instead, look for a recipe with a similar taste but fewer eggs, which will be easier to replicate.
  • When adding tofu to a recipe as an egg replacer, be sure to purée it first to avoid chunks in the finished product.
  • Be sure to use plain tofu, not seasoned or baked, as a replacer.
  • Powdered egg replacers cannot be used to create egg recipes such as scrambles or omelets. Tofu is the perfect substitute for eggs in these applications.
  • If you want a lighter texture and you’re using fruit purées as an egg substitute, add an extra 1/2 tsp. baking powder. Fruit purées tend to make the final product denser than the original recipe.
  • If you’re looking for an egg replacer that binds, try adding 2 to 3 Tbsp. of any of the following for each egg: tomato paste, potato starch, arrowroot powder, whole wheat flour, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, instant potato flakes, or 1/4 cup tofu puréed with 1 Tbsp. flour.

Stop smoking and get moving!

Those are two obvious actions to take to keep your body in good working order. If you’re overweight, you can be sure that your HDL readings will be low. Shed the weight and watch your HDLs rise. It’s quite difficult to raise HDLs by dieting alone. You will need the combination of regular exercising and watching what you eat. Exercising helps in lowering your triglycerides (a blood fat linked to heart disease) as well. If you are serious about lowering your cholesterol levels, pay attention to triglycerides. Because apart from clogging up your coronary arteries, high triglycerides can lead to kidney disease and pancreatitis.

stop-smoking

There is not much to be said about smoking that has not been said already. It’s just bad. Smoking depresses HDLs considerably. It is a cause of heart and blood-vessel disease and basically causes irreversible damage to your overall health. There are no two ways about it. Smoking kills.

Here is a rough checklist to monitor your cholesterol levels and as always, consult with your doctor.

LDLs

Keep it less than 130mg./dl. Anything above 160mg./dl. is high.

HDLS

The higher the better. 35mg./dl. or less increases the risk of heart-disease.

Triglycerides

Keep it less than 150mg./dl. Anything above 200mg./dl. is high.

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Comments

  1. Good information. Want to share one additional tip. The only one that really lowers cholesterol is red yeast rice at 1,200 mg twice a day. The problem with red yeast rice is that it contains the same chemical compound as lovastatin, which means you need to have your liver function monitored. There have been several Food and Drug Administration warning letters about red yeast rice due to its liver toxicity. Talk to your doctor before starting it. Also: Garlic, grape seed and vitamins C, E, D do not lower cholesterol.

  2. Article should have covered a lot about fibers. I have found that fibers help a lot. Ideally, you should be getting 25 to 35 g of fiber a day. Fiber binds to cholesterol and eliminates it from your body. You can increase your fiber by getting more whole grains, legumes (such as beans and lentils), vegetables and fruits. There are two types of fiber: Soluble fibers are more beneficial for cholesterol, while insoluble fibers are better for your gut health. You should get good mix of both.

  3. Sam Panders says:

    It is always safe to follow the natural ways to lower your cholestrol rather than using the drugs Fitting in the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables (2 of one group and 3 of the other) helps take the place of some of the more processed snacks. Fruits and vegetables are mostly fat free. Maintain a diet that is made of 2/3 of vegetables and fruits and 1/3 of other foods. Latest research suggest that cholesterol lowering foods such as avocados, almonds, olive oil, soy beans, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, chili peppers, oat bran, beans (kidney, pintos, black, navy, etc.), onions, fatty fish, and flax seed play a crucial role in lowering LDL and sometimes raising HDL levels. Ingredients in cigarette smoke are extremely oxidizing. High cholesterol is particularly dangerous when it is oxidized. Smokers have much higher need for antioxidants. The B Complex vitamins, including 2 forms of vitamin B3 (nicotinic acid and nicotinamide), can reduce nicotine cravings. Everyone knows that the keys to good cardiovascular health are exercise and maintaining your ideal weight. Just a few minutes per day can increase your level of high-density lipoproteins (HDL or “good” cholesterol). Just 10 minutes of exercise first thing in the morning can increase your metabolic rate for the rest of the day. Consumption of water so that you are fully hydrated can increase your metabolic rate 24 hours per day.

  4. The ideal values of cholesterol depend on whether you have heart disease or other risk factors. Your health care provider can tell you what your ideal results should be. The desired values in most adults are:– LDL cholesterol: lower than 130 mg/dL (lower numbers are desired) HDL cholesterol: greater than 40 – 60 mg/dL (higher numbers are desired) Total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dL (lower numbers are desired) Triglycerides: 10 – 150 (lower numbers are desired) VLDL: 2 – 38 Cholesterol can be lowered by diet, exercise and statin drugs. Triglyceride levels are also reduced by exercise and by consuming omega-3 fatty acids from fish, flax seed oil, and other sources. Adopt DASH diet (Mediterranean diet). Eat a low-cholesterol, low-fat diet, which includes cottage cheese, fat-free milk, fish, vegetables, poultry, and egg whites. Use monounsaturated oils such as olive, peanut, and canola oils or polyunsaturated oils such as corn, safflower, soy, sunflower, cottonseed, and soybean oils. Avoid foods with excess fat in them such as meat (especially liver and fatty meat), egg yolks, whole milk, cream, butter, shortening, pastries, cakes, cookies, gravy, peanut butter, chocolate, olives, potato chips, coconut, cheese (other than cottage cheese), coconut oil, palm oil, and fried foods.

  5. musicistabest says:

    When buying things/food with LOW CHOLESTEROL I’ve noticed that sometimes, even though there is ZERO or Low cholesterol the SODIUM level is really high…
    how important is it to keep Sodium levels LOW for someone with HIGH CHOLESTEROL ??
    when told to keep a low cholesterol diet, what other things should i watch for in food labels?

    THANK YOU 🙂

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