WHAT IS CHOLESTEROL?
Your body needs some cholesterol to function well. But if you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can stick to the walls of your arteries, narrowing or even blocking them. This puts you at risk of coronary artery disease and other heart diseases. Cholesterol travels through the blood in proteins called lipoproteins. One type, low-density cholesterol, or LDL for its acronym in English, is sometimes called “bad” cholesterol. A high level of LDL leads to an accumulation of plaque in the arteries. The high – density cholesterol, or HDL in English, sometimes called “good” cholesterol. It transports cholesterol from other parts of the body back to the liver, where it is eliminated.
There are some steps you can take to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL). By keeping your cholesterol levels within normal values, you can reduce your risk of heart disease.
It comes in two forms:
Low density lipoprotein (LDL) – this deposits cholesterol to the walls within the blood vessels, which can clog arteries and known as “bad” cholesterol
High density lipoprotein (HDL) – helps carry cholesterol from the blood stream and stops the clogging of arteries. The higher our cholesterol is the higher the risk of heart disease and stroke. Having high cholesterol has been linked with diseases and cancers so it is vital we keep our cholesterol low. Below are 6 ways to reduce your cholesterol naturally
Eat more plants
Cholesterol is only found in animal products, and our body makes all the cholesterol we need. So if we replace some our animal products with more wholefoods plants like fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and legumes we increase our fibre intake which helps us reduce cholesterol. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, reduce cholesterol levels, especially when the diet is very high in fat, since they favor a greater elimination of cholesterol in the stool.
On the other hand, these vegetables contain a high percentage of stanols and sterols which also causes a lower intestinal absorption of cholesterol. Other vegetables, such as broccoli, have a very beneficial effect on hypercholesterolemic agents, among other things due to their high levels of fiber.
Organic spirulina powder is an ancient blue/green algae that is packed with antioxidants, nutrients and minerals. In fact it’s of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. So much so that it was given as a food supplement to astronauts by NASA. Studies have shown that by just adding 1.5 teaspoons to your diet can reduce your cholesterol levels naturally and increase the good cholesterol in the body. It also helps with lowering blood pressure and prevents inflammation in the body. Be careful about which company you choose to buy from, as the Best organic spirulina powder should be free from toxins.
When we workout we not only regulate our weight, but it also helps reduce cholesterol, as it stimulates the enzymes in our body which play a key role in moving the “bad” cholesterol away from our blood stream and into our livers where they can be excreted. Walking, jogging, lifting weights, swimming or anything that gets us moving will help.
Now when we say fats we mean the good fats, the monounsaturated type found in avocados, nuts and seeds. These fats help us reduce the “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase the “good” HDL cholesterol, which means less clogged arteries. But be sure to avoid trans fats found in processed foods, red meat, pork and dairy products. These fats actually increase our LDL cholesterol.
Smoking is not only toxic for our lungs it also oxidizes our “bad” LDL cholesterol making it much more powerful and reduces our HDL cholesterol.
You should try to limit the amount of sodium (salt) you consume to no more than 2,300 milligrams (approximately one teaspoon of salt) per day. That includes all the salt you consume, whether it has been added in the kitchen or at the table, or already present in food products. Limiting salt will not reduce cholesterol, but it can lower the risk of heart disease by helping to reduce blood pressure . You can reduce salt by choosing foods with low salt content and “no added salt”, in addition to prefer condiments on the table or when cooking instead of salt.
Cholesterol is vital for our body, but when we have too much it can cause heart disease. If you find you have high cholesterol, your first line of defence should be lifestyle and diet changes, so you should reduce dietary cholesterol and eat more whole food plant based meals and regularly stay active.