Nat­u­ral Reme­dies

...for high choles­terol are aplenty. Choose well and smart.

Health & Nutrition - - DIET WISE -

If you Google ‘nat­u­ral reme­dies for high choles­terol’, you will get mil­lions of hits. As you scroll through them, you’ll see that what ‘nat­u­ral’ means is in the eye of the be­holder. For many peo­ple, nat­u­ral means di­etary sup­ple­ments or ‘su­per­foods’ thought to have spe­cial choles­terol-fight­ing prop­er­ties. But in the end, based on science, the ‘nat­u­ral’ rem­edy for high choles­terol is sus­tained life­style change. Weight loss, if you’re over­weight and chang­ing your diet, can ac­tu­ally de­crease your LDL sig­nif­i­cantly, but it does re­quire ded­i­ca­tion and mo­ti­va­tion. The bot­tom line is that it’s the to­tal pack­age of foods and nu­tri­ents that help to main­tain a healthy choles­terol pro­file and pre­vent heart disease, as op­posed to eat­ing spe­cific foods, vi­ta­mins, min­er­als or herbs to tweak your choles­terol. And, of course, a healthy life­style also has

ad­di­tional ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing lower blood pres­sure, main­tain­ing a healthy weight and re­duced stress.

Healthy Fats

Shift­ing to a health­ier pro­file of fats in your diet can have a po­tent ef­fect on LDL and to­tal choles­terol and lower your over­all risk for heart at­tack, stroke and other forms of car­dio­vas­cu­lar disease. Eat­ing more un­sat­u­rated fats from foods like nuts, plant oils and fish low­ers blood lev­els of the ‘bad’ choles­terol and in­creases the ‘good’ HDL choles­terol. These foods also have other ben­e­fi­cial nu­tri­ents that likely lower car­dio­vas­cu­lar disease, mak­ing it a win-win for health. But the so­lu­tion is not to com­pletely ban red meat, but­ter and other sources of sat­u­rated fat, or starches that raise VLDL choles­terol (an­other type of choles­terol that in­creases heart at­tacks). The idea is to shift the bal­ance to­ward un­sat­u­rated fats from plant oils like soy­bean, corn and olive, as well as from nuts and fish. And re­mem­ber that when sub­sti­tut­ing car­bo­hy­drates for sat­u­rated fat, make sure they are not re­fined grains and added sug­ars. For car­bo­hy­drates, the best choices are whole grains, which should make up at least half of your to­tal grains, as well as fruits and beans.

Fish Oil

Fish oil sup­ple­ments are pop­u­lar but have lit­tle ef­fect on LDL, although in suf­fi­cient doses fish oil sup­ple­men­ta­tion can lower triglyc­erides (a marker of VLDL) if your lev­els are el­e­vated. There is a lack of ev­i­dence that fish oil sup­ple­ments pre­vent heart disease in oth­er­wise healthy peo­ple. How­ever, fish meals, es­pe­cially those high in Omega 3, as part of an over­all healthy diet are as­so­ci­ated with lower risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar disease across the board.

Eat­ing more un­sat­u­rated fats from foods like nuts, plant oils and fish low­ers blood lev­els of the ‘bad’ choles­terol.

Some of the ben­e­fits may come from what you don’t eat when choos­ing fish. Fish may re­place op­tions such as fatty meats, starchy foods or fried foods that are high in sat­u­rated fat. Again, it’s all about the healthy eat­ing pat­tern, not li­on­iz­ing (or de­mo­niz­ing) in­di­vid­ual nu­tri­ents.


Whole grains con­tain fi­bre, which does have a moder­ate ef­fect on blood (serum) choles­terol. Sev­eral foods high in sol­u­ble fi­bre - that is, fi­bre that dis­solves in wa­ter - such as oats, psyl­lium and bar­ley, carry a health claim for choles­terol ben­e­fits. But have re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions if you switch to whole oats for break­fast. The ef­fect of sol­u­ble fi­bre on choles­terol is not dra­matic. Daily in­take of 3 grams sol­u­ble fi­bre from ei­ther 3 ap­ples or 3 bowls (28-gram serv­ings) of oat­meal can de­crease to­tal choles­terol by 5 mil­ligrams per deciliter.

Eggs are an in­ex­pen­sive source of high-qual­ity pro­tein, un­sat­u­rated fatty acids, vi­ta­mins and min­er­als.

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