Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally ~ 10 Ways To Do So
As you may be aware, heart disease is the #1 killer in North America, responsible for one death every 35 seconds.
No matter how old you are, it’s never too early or too late to protect your heart.
And there’s no better time to start than today!
We're going to highlight cholesterol lowering foods that will satisfy your stomach and keep your ticker healthy.
Plus: What’s your heart attack risk?
Lower-Cholesterol and Heart Disease
The scientific evidence is indisputable that lower-cholesterol reduces your risk of contracting heart disease and of dying from a heart attack.
Cholesterol is found in our bodies in particles called lipo-proteins.
Low-density lipo-proteins (LDL) are deemed “bad” cholesterol because high levels of them can lead to a buildup of plaque in your arteries.
This thick mass narrows your arteries, restricting the flow of blood, very much much like trying to sip juice through a clogged straw.
Eventually the plaque ruptures and a blood clot forms, cutting off the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
Hello, heart attack and stroke!
High-density lipo-proteins (HDL), on the other hand, are dubbed “good” cholesterol for their ability to pick up the LDL clogging your arteries and take it to the liver, where it’s processed and eventually excreted.
So Chow Down
Our lower-cholesterol eating plan is as tasty as it is effective.
This diet is about what you can eat, not what you can’t.
What’s on our list?
For starters, try these eight Super Foods:
(Aim to eat all eight daily, and heed the two bonus tips as well. If you follow only half the steps, you’ll only get half the benefits.)
#1. Lower-Cholesterol & Oatmeal
Oats are rich in beta-glucan, a special type of soluble fiber that acts like a sponge to soak up cholesterol.
Chow Down: Add cinnamon or dried cranberries (or any berries for that matter)to your morning oatmeal for a flavor and antioxidant boost.
Oat-bran is a highly concentrated source of beta-glucan, and it’s easy to mix into homemade bread, muffin and pancake batter.
Daily Fix: 3 grams of beta-glucan, found in a 1/2 c. of dry oatmeal or oat bran.
#2. Lower-Cholesterol & Almonds
Almonds contain two powerful antioxidants, vitamin-E and flavonoids, both of which prevent the oxidation of LDL, a precursor to plaque buildup.
Chow Down: Opt for almonds still in their skins, which pack a hefty dose of flavonoids.
Stir a handful into your yogurt or spread 2 Tbs. of almond butter on whole wheat or sourdough bread.
Daily Fix: One ounce of dry-roasted, unsalted almonds.
#3. Lower-Cholesterol & Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds contain lignan and soluble fiber, which block the production of LDL and increase your body’s ability to get rid of cholesterol.
Chow Down: Eat ground flaxseeds rather than whole ones; your body can better absorb the nutrients inside.
They're great to sprinkle into a morning bowl of oatmeal.
Daily Fix: 2 Tbs. of ground flaxseeds.
Flaxseed ~ A Powerful, lil' Fellow
#4. Lower-Cholesterol & Garlic
Garlic impedes the liver’s ability to make cholesterol.
Chow Down: Chop garlic into small pieces and let rest for several minutes to release its flavor and health benefits.
Sauté it with steamed spinach, add it to sauces and soups or purée roasted garlic with cooked potatoes and olive oil for a heart-healthy version of everybody’s favorite: mashed potatoes.
Daily Fix: One Clove Per Day.
#5. Lower-Cholesterol & Phytosterol Containing Foods
Phytosterols are a type of fat found in plant foods like fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.
They interfere with cholesterol absorption by blocking cholesterol from entering your intestinal cells.
Chow Down: Even a vegetarian diet filled with plant foods provides no more than 300 to 400 mg. of plant sterols a day, well below the 2 to 3 g. recommendation.
Supplement this with some of the many foods containing added phytosterols (chocolate bars, margarine, cheese, granola bars and cookies to name just a few), but keep an eye on saturated fat and trans fat content.
#6. Lower-Cholesterol & Apples
Apples, particularly the skin and outer flesh, are rich in polyphenols, powerful antioxidants which help prevent plaque buildup.
Chow Down: Chop 'em, slice 'em or dice ’em, but leave the peel on for maximum health benefits.
Daily Fix: One apple a day (to keep the doctor away, right?).
#7. Lower-Cholesterol & Beans
Beans contain a special type of soluble fiber that gets fermented in the colon.
Healthy bacteria eat the fiber and bean sugars to form short chain fatty acids, which travel to the liver and hinder LDL cholesterol production.
Chow Down: You might try Adzuki beans, which are used in Japan to make sweet red bean paste.
We'd also recommend cannelloni beans and navy beans, perfect in a southwestern style chili.
Daily Fix: 1/2 c. of legumes (beans, peas or lentils).
#8. Lower-Cholesterol & Soy Protein
Soy protein contains phytoestrogens, compounds that increase the number and effectiveness of LDL cholesterol receptors, improving the liver’s ability to get rid of cholesterol in your bloodstream.
Chow Down: Order a soy latte at your favorite coffeehouse, throw tofu into a fruit smoothie (see our smoothie recipes), use soy flour when baking, or mix a handful of roasted soy nuts with dried fruit for an energy-boosting trail mix.
Diet isn’t your only defense against cholesterol.
“Each and every step works to lower cholesterol in a specific way.”
By combining them all together, you get an extremely powerful LDL-lowering multi-pronged approach.
Here are two recommended non-food-related tips:
#9. Take Metamucil (Psyllium Husk)
Metamucil contains psyllium husk, a fiber that blocks cholesterol from entering your intestinal cells.
Or you can buy psyllium husk in bulk at your local health food store, it's also a lot cheaper.
It’s “the most powerful LDL-lowering viscous soluble fiber in existence.”
This fiber soaks up cholesterol so you excrete it rather than absorb cholesterol into your intestinal cells.
Chow Down: The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends adults consume 10 to 25 g. of soluble fiber a day, but most of us get only 3 to 4 g.
We'd recommend getting half your fiber from a supplement and the rest from food.
Take half your daily dose of psyllium husk before breakfast and half after dinner to avoid overloading your body on fiber, which can cause gas, constipation or even diarrhea.
Daily Fix: Work up to 6 g. of psyllium husk.
Or use the powdered version, which you can mix into water or as I prefer, fruit juice.
It varies by product, but most Metamucil powders contain 3.4 g. of psyllium husk per serving.
#10. Work up a Sweat
Brisk exercise speeds up the blood flow in your arteries, reducing your chances of inflammation and clogging (two precursors to hardening of your arteries).
Get moving: You don’t have to hit the gym to get some exercise.
Clip on a pedometer while you run errands and aim to take 10,000 steps a day.
Daily Fix: 30 minutes of exercise.
Each of the Super Foods and tips above play a crucial role not only in lower-cholesterol, but in keeping your body healthy.
Are You on the Road to a Heart Attack?
Every 20 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a heart attack.
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in North America and contributes to the 1.5 million heart attacks that strike each year.Tweet
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