By Tracy Shields - Like it or not, high cholesterol leads to heart disease. In fact, high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and the higher your cholesterol, the greater the chance of developing atherosclerosis, fatty deposits formed from cholesterol that collect in the arteries and restrict blood flow. According to the American Heart Association, “As blood cholesterol rises, so does risk of coronary heart disease.” 1
However, you have the power to prevent high cholesterol. It’s not too late. Many people think that once arteries are blocked, they’ll stay that way. Not true! It is possible to reverse blocked arteries, and to do it naturally. Here are some powerful remedies to start you on your path to lower cholesterol:
- Remove high-cholesterol-causing foods: First and foremost, we suggest staying away from foods high in saturated fat (meats and some oils) and trans-fat (like store-bought processed cookies, cakes and crackers), which actually raise your LDL cholesterol.
- Niacin (vitamin B3): Niacin processes fat in the body, helps to maintain healthy blood-sugar levels and helps to lower cholesterol. A deficiency of this miracle molecule can lead to all sorts of nasty things: “diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia, inflammation of the mouth, amnesia, delirium and, if left untreated, death.”2 It occurs naturally in fish, certain meats, peanuts, brown rice and other foods, and has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels and raise good HDL cholesterol.
- Phytosterol esters: Plant sterols is a fancy name for the combination of vitamins, minerals and fiber that comes from eating plant-based foods. Adding approximately ½ gram per day of plant sterol esters to the diet of those with high cholesterol can reduce total cholesterol by 10% within 12 weeks. Plant sterols promote cholesterol health by inhibiting its absorption.3 All veggies contain anywhere from five to 40 milligrams of plant sterols. But if you’re on a fast-food diet, or again, don’t like to eat anything green, you need to supplement.
- Fiber: Fiber is critical for everyone. Whether you’re concerned about high cholesterol or not, you need fiber! Trouble is, with all the processed foods on the market, much natural fiber has been stripped from foods. Aside from doing a great job keeping you regular, fiber—and psyllium seed husk in particular—has been reported to lower LDL cholesterol.4 Psyllium is a soluble fiber that the FDA has recognized for its amazing ability to lower LDL cholesterol.
- Red yeast rice: Red yeast rice is “a substance that’s extracted from rice that’s been fermented with a type of yeast called Monascus purpureus. It’s been used in China and other Asian countries for centuries as a traditional medicine.”5 Research discovered that not only did red yeast rice serve general medicinal purposes, it also naturally lowered cholesterol. Red yeast rice only comes in supplement form though, and buying a brand that works can be tricky. Be sure to do your research. Try a few brands. A really potent red yeast rice has the power to lower cholesterol within about 30 days.
1 Risk Factors and Coronary Heart Disease, AHA Scientific Position. Printed online Jan 11, ,2006 .
3 Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2003;12(3):282-91
4 Original Source: Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Dec 1998 17(6):601:8