Watch out for cholesterol!
How many times have you heard this phrase in reproach?
But what is the role of cholesterol in the body?
How can it contribute to plaque formation on artery walls?
How do doctors assess its level and what to do when you have high cholesterol?
This is what we will see together to try to tame this potentially dangerous disorder.
- 1 What is cholesterol?
- 2 Why is this fat substance dangerous?
- 3 How to assess your cholesterol levels?
- 4 What are the normal cholesterol levels?
- 5 What are cholesterol medications?
- 6 Low cholesterol diet
- 7 Cholesterol effective natural treatment
- 8 Essential oils against cholesterol
- 9 How to lower cholesterol fast?
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is mainly produced by the liver and circulates in the blood.
But it is also found in food and especially in meat, poultry, and whole dairy products.
Cholesterol plays an important role in the body:
– it is a major component of cells which themselves are made up of phospholipids, proteins, and cholesterol.
It maintains the cells and thus exempts them from having to have walls, which allows them to change shapes.
– it plays a vital role in vitamin D production and absorption.
Vitamin D is produced when ultraviolet rays from the sun act on a form of cholesterol.
– it is also used to make bile.
Bile breaks down fats into droplets for digestive enzymes to do their job.
– it is a hormonal precursor for the production of testosterone in men and estrogen in women.
Why is this fat substance dangerous?
Since, as we have just seen, cholesterol plays a crucial role in the body, why is it considered so dangerous for health?
The answer lies in what are called lipoproteins.
In fact, lipoproteins are transporters.
They transport fats – cholesterol and triglycerides – from one point to another via the bloodstream.
There are two kinds of lipoproteins:
– low-intensity lipoproteins also called LDL (low-density lipoprotein)
– high-intensity lipoproteins or HDL (high-density lipoprotein)
A normal level of these two types of lipoproteins is very important.
But to answer the question of its danger, you have to explain cholesterol!
How to assess your cholesterol levels?
The first method is also the most common, the second is based on recent research.
LDL cholesterol is also called “bad cholesterol” because it contributes to the formation of plaques, a thin fatty deposit that can clog arteries.
These LDL lipoproteins can lodge in tiny cracks in arteries and release cholesterol into their walls.
Gradually, the plaque forms, and by accumulation effect becomes substantial.
We then speak of atherosclerosis.
If clot forms and blocks a narrowed artery, a heart attack or stroke may occur.
High-density lipoproteins or HDL are what is called the “good cholesterol” because they contribute cleanse LDL cholesterol from the arteries.
Researchers believe that HDL cholesterol is the scavenger of LDL, which it removes from the arteries and brings back to the liver where it is recycled and excreted from the body.
Thus, it has been proven that excessive LDL levels inevitably lead to heart disease.
The higher the HDL level, the lower the risk of disease.
This is why too much cholesterol is dangerous, as we hear it so frequently.
For this reason, health agencies recommend checking its levels starting at age 20 and every 4-6 years.
Blood tests reveal LDL and HDL levels as well as triglyceride levels.
The rate is calculated as follows:
HDL + LDL + 20% triglyceride level = cholesterol level
To determine the heart risks inherent in your level, the doctor associates other risk factors such as:
– high blood pressure
The difference with the previous method is that this technique focuses on the size of LDL lipoproteins based on two categories: small and large density of particles.
Studies have shown that people with small particles are three times more likely to develop a heart condition.
Small LDL particles can more easily infiltrate and lodge in artery walls, forming arterial plaque.
Let’s imagine that a person is tested to assess his cholesterol level.
His LDL level is estimated at 95, which according to the traditional method is within the norm.
By following method 1, the doctor judges that cholesterol is normal and does not involve any risk.
But according to method 2, what if all the particles are small?
Unknowingly, the person is at risk of developing heart disease because no one has looked at the size of the cholesterol particles.
I advise you to ask your physician about the chosen evaluation method and the consideration of particle size.
That being said, the two methods of analysis should lead to three crucial questions:
*How to lower cholesterol?
* How to increase LDL?
*How to increase LDL particle size?
There is no definite answer to these questions, but researchers insist that for most affected people, diet and physical exercise have an obvious effect that should not be overlooked.
What are the normal cholesterol levels?
A normal cholesterol level without any risk factors is estimated at 1.60 g/liter.
To protect the heart, the level of bad LDL cholesterol should be below 1.30 g/liter.
If you have diabetes, it is best to be below 1.00 g/liter.
What are cholesterol medications?
Medicine favors in the first place the adaptation of an appropriate diet, the practice of regular physical activity, and the cessation of tobacco to achieve a normal cholesterol level.
There are situations where the prescription of anti-cholesterol drugs becomes essential, particularly following a cardiovascular incident (heart attack, coronary syndrome, stroke, arteriopathy of the lower limbs).
There are two categories of lipid-lowering drugs:
– fibrates which are the oldest drugs but have a modest effect on cholesterol
– statins are more effective but also provide notable side effects like muscle cramps.
Low cholesterol diet
As a general rule, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats (fish, chicken, turkey) are preferred for good heart health.
It is also important to introduce healthier fats such as olive, canola, and nut oil, as well as sources of Omega 3 essential fatty acids like salmon, avocado, olives, etc.
Fiber is also important because it helps lower cholesterol levels.
Add beans, oats, barley, fruit, and psyllium.
Foods to avoid when cholesterol is high
Most foods to avoid contain excess saturated fats which raise cholesterol.
They can be found everywhere and especially in dairy products.
So you need to choose low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese.
These saturated fats are also present in beef and pork as well as in chicken skin.
Prefer lean meats such as turkey, chicken (skinless), and fish.
You should also limit your consumption of fried foods and prepared foods.
Trans fatty acids are also harmful fats.
It’s basically an artificial fat found in donuts, frozen pizza, margarine, etc.
It is recommended to limit the consumption of added sugars by slowing down cakes, cookies, ice cream, sugary drinks.
Cholesterol effective natural treatment
It is highly recommended to take coenzyme Q10 when you are already on cholesterol-lowering treatment.
In fact, when you take statins, these drugs literally suck out coenzyme Q10, which is an essential antioxidant that is very much involved in heart and cardiovascular health.
You are therefore advised to take 200mg per day if you have taken statins before or are currently on treatment.
You can also opt for ubiquinol (#ad) which is the most active form of Coenzyme Q10 at the same dosage.
In any case, be sure to choose capsules containing oil and not a dry form in capsules for better absorption.
Red yeast rice
Red yeast rice is a fermented extract that contains monacolin K, a molecule that belongs to the statin family.
Its operation is therefore the same as that of statins, blocking the secretion of hydroxymethylglutaryl (HMG) CoA-reductase, the enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of cholesterol.
Red yeast rice (#ad) is excellent for fighting it but should be preferred in case of very excessive levels over a short period since its long-term use has not been studied.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Studies show that Omega 3 essential fatty acids help lower triglycerides and have a variable impact on other cholesterol-related parameters.
So they can lower LDL and thus protect against heart disease.
It is recommended to take 1000mg once or twice daily from an Omega 3 fish oil supplement (#ad), dosage to be doubled if the levels are very high.
Berberine is found in the roots and bark of many plants.
According to study findings, taking 900-1500mg per day improves overall cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides.
It is therefore recommended to take 1000mg per day of a berberine supplement (#ad).
Garlic is known to significantly lower blood lipid levels, which has the effect of lowering LDL cholesterol.
You can add fresh garlic to your dishes, but if you don’t like its taste or smell, you can also opt for an odorless garlic supplement like this (#ad).
The recommended dosage is 1-2mg per day depending on your levels.
Psyllium is a natural fiber commonly found in medications such as bulk-forming laxatives and cholesterol-lowering medications.
A study published in 2018 on 1924 adults followed for eight weeks concluded that the consumption of 10 grams per day of Psyllium manages to significantly reduce LDL cholesterol.
You can find psyllium in capsules or packaged in powder (#ad).
In any case, be sure to drink enough when taking it, 2 hours away from your usual medical treatment.
Essential oils against cholesterol
Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
Cinnamon contains 60-80% cinnamaldehydes which are actually the same enzymes found in statins.
They, therefore, lower cholesterol levels in a completely natural way.
So you can ingest one to two drops of cinnamon bark essential oil on half sugar once a day.
Prefer a cinnamon essential oil CO2 extract (#ad) which is its most efficient distillation.
Clary Sage Essential Oil
Sage is very interesting for reducing inflammation and balancing hormonal levels.
It is particularly effective for women with high cholesterol.
Here, it is not advisable to ingest it but to integrate it into a lukewarm bath by adding 5 drops each day.
Note that the clary sage essential oil (#ad) is not recommended during pregnancy.
Cilantro essential oil
Cilantro is very helpful in supporting the liver and blood sugar.
Its essential oil is therefore very interesting for stabilizing cholesterol levels.
Take a drop of cilantro essential oil (#ad) on half a sugar once a day.
Extracted from the roots of a flowering plant, nard oil has very interesting anti-inflammatory properties.
Apply 3-5 drops to the neck and take one drop on half a sugar daily.
Note that just like clary sage, spikenard oil (#ad) is not recommended during pregnancy.
Lavender essential oil
Studies have shown that topical use of the lavender essential oil (#ad) helps balance blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
Simply apply 3 drops to any part of the body two to three times a day to enjoy its benefits.
How to lower cholesterol fast?
Get into the habit of selecting foods such as fruits and vegetables, eliminating products that are prepared or contain too much-added sugar.
This will help you lower bad LDL cholesterol while increasing the size of its particles.
Incorporating healthier fats like olive oil and high antioxidant foods will help too.
Note that spending more time in physical activity or playing sports regularly increases good HDL cholesterol.
Many supplements can help reduce inflammation in the body and thus lower your cholesterol levels.
And even adding certain essential oils to your daily life can help you fight bad cholesterol actively.
Statins are not the only solution.
You can successfully stabilize your cholesterol levels the natural way.
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