5 Natural Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol
By Dr. Dongfeng Zhou, AP, DAOM
Cholesterol is a fatlike substance that exists in all living cells. It interacts with vitamin D and hormones to facilitate digestion. Also, it has two primary sources, the liver and animal sources. The liver produces much of the cholesterol your body consumes. On the other hand, its animal sources include egg, kidney, giblets, butter, breast milk, meat, and cheese. These are generally classified as meat, poultry and dairy. Keep in mind that these same foods contain saturated and trans-fats. With trans-fats, your liver is likely to make more of it than it needs. Cholesterol is a yellowish crystalline solid when it is isolated and does not dissolve in water; certain particles like lipoproteins help to transport it to the right places.
Roles of Cholesterol in the body
By and large, its functions are summarized below:
- Cell membrane synthesis: It helps keep the fluidity of the membrane, irrespective of the temperature change. With the aid of the waxy substance, your body can always prevent the passage of positive hydrogen ions across the brain’s plasma.
- Cell transportation and molecule signaling: Another key function of the waxy substance is that it helps to transport and signal molecules. The outcome of the processes is the formation of lipid rafts in the plasma membrane.
- Optimal functioning of the myelin sheaths: Also, the cholesterol-rich myelin is an insulating layer that enables the fast transmission of electrical impulses along the nerve cells. The sheath also insulates and allows for seamless conduction of nerve impulses.
- Synthesis of Vitamin D and hormones: It supports the synthesis of vitamin D. Aside from Vitamin D, the waxy substance also synthesizes steroid hormones (like corticosteroids) and sex steroids (such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone).
Effects and Symptoms of Excess Cholesterol
In one day, the human body can synthesize about 1g of the fatlike substance and the total body content is 35g. Many people in the United States consume about 0.3g every day. To compensate for this deficit, the liver generates the balance. The makeup process takes place through reduction of the synthesis, excretion and reutilization. Its excess accumulation is known as plaque. When plaque forms, it leads to a health problem. The reason is that the large plaque in the artery culminates in a rupture. In some cases, the excess can lead to blood clot on the surface of the plaque.
As it continues, the outcome is the blockage of the coronary artery. There are instances where plaque accumulates around the artery, leading to serious disorders like peripheral arterial and carotid artery diseases. Well, obnoxious high-level cholesterol has no specific symptoms. However, it only results in emergency situations. More often than not, the outcomes are heart attacks and stroke. Again, this only happens when the fatlike substance has been excessively built up around your artery.
Natural Ways of Lowering Cholesterol
Now that you know how harmful cholesterol buildup along your artery is, you need to embrace certain lifestyle changes to moderate it. In this section, you will learn those fundamental lifestyle changes.
- Eat healthy meals: One of the measures you should take to achieve that is to always eat healthy meals. You need to consume less saturated fats as found in red meat and full-fat dairy products. Also, you don’t need plenty of trans-fat in your meals. The sources of trans-fat include margarine, cookies, crackers, and cakes. Instead, go for meals rich in omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber (in oatmeal, kidney beans, apples, etc.) and whey proteins.
- Exercise regularly: Also, you need to exercise most days of the week and increase your physical activities. If you undergo moderate physical activity, it increases your HDL (high-density lipoprotein); this is good for you. You just need to ensure that you exercise for at least 30 minutes for about five times in a week. Alternatively, you can settle for aerobic activity of 20 minutes for three times per week.
- Quit smoking: Many people smoke cigarettes to feel good and relieve stress. Do you smoke? If so, you need to quit smoking so you can keep the level of cholesterol on a moderate level. Again, quitting smoking raises your HDL. Here’s the thing: the moment you quit smoking, your blood pressure and heart rate recover from triggered spikes, your circulation and lung function improve, and your risk of developing a heart disease is halved.
- Watch your weight: Studies have shown that overweight people are more likely to have high cholesterol than those who are not. To achieve that, you need to pay closer attention to the things you eat. For instance, if you always drink sugary beverages, you should consider switching to tap water. If you are in love with air-popped popcorn or pretzels, you should not take plenty of them anymore. Sure, you should keep close tabs on your calories. Take strolls whenever you are on break to keep yourself active.
- Drink alcohol moderately: If it is possible to totally eliminate alcohol, go ahead and ditch it. However, the truth is that most people cannot completely get rid of alcohol. So, if you cannot entirely eliminate alcohol, do well to drink moderately because health experts have linked moderate alcohol consumption to higher levels of good cholesterol. This means that two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. As regards the specifics, you should keep this standard in mind:
- Beer: 12 fluid ounces (5% alcohol content)
- Wine: 5 fluid ounces (12% alcohol content)
- Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces (40% alcohol content)
- Malt liquor: 8 ounces (7% alcohol content)
In summary, you have learned about cholesterol, its sources, effects, symptoms, and how to keep it moderate. According to studies, many people have high cholesterol because they tend to eat plenty of fatty food. In addition to eating fatty foods, you are likely to see it spike if you don’t keep to the tips you have learned in this guide. Having come thus far, you now have all it takes to lead a richer life. What’s stopping you? Just try those 5 natural ways to lower your cholesterol discussed in this piece and you will notice the positive changes in no time! Remember, procrastination is not only the thief of time, but it can also be the thief of life if you let it! So, start now!!!
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