Although cholesterol has received a ‘Bad Rap’ throughout the years, the truth is- it is one of the most important molecules in your body. It’s indispensable for building Cells, restoring cell membranes, producing hormones and vitamin D.
Cholesterol is made by the liver and required by the body for the proper function of all cells, nerves, and hormones. Cholesterol is not inherently bad. If it were, your liver wouldn't produce it.
Normally, cholesterol is kept in balance by the body, however, due to the overwhelming amounts of hydrogenated fats and refined ‘junk’ carbohydrates in the standard American diet ultimately leads to an upset in this balance. The imbalance is manifested in elevated LDL (bad cholesterol) and a low HDL (good cholesterol) which increases our risk for heart attack or stroke. So your Total Cholesterol by itself is not the culprit but the inverse proportion of HDL to LDL or in simpler terms- Your HDL is too low while your LDL is too high. By the way, it’s imperative for you to recognize what optimum levels of each should be.
Most labs will list the reference range (normal range) of HDL as being greater than (>) 40 mg/dL and LDL being less than ( 60 and an LDL which is < 100. These are very healthy ranges and not borderline.
A couple weeks ago I covered the dangers of taking the cholesterol lowering drugs in the Statin family and I received awesome feedback from you. One of the most resounding questions we received repeatedly was, “If I don’t want to take a statin medication, what can I do naturally”. That’s a great question and we will answer that for you now. Before we do, remember, if you are currently on a Statin medication of any kind, never stop taking it abruptly. This can do more harm. If you would like to get off of your statin medication, speak to your physician and formulate a safe game plan with him/her. Your doctor will want to wean you off of your statin slowly and monitor your cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol Lowering Foods
There are many foods that you can eat to lower your bad cholesterol (LDL-an easy way to remember this is “L” stands for “Lousy”) while raising your good cholesterol (HDL- “H” stands for “Happy”)
Here are a list of foods you want to begin incorporating into your diet.
1) Foods rich in Omega 3 Fatty acids will increase HDL
- Wild Caught Salmon (not farm raised) and cold water fish (Atlantic Mackerel, sardines, herring)
- Sea vegetables (kelp, nori, wakame, arame, etc.)
- Organic, grass fed meat
- Flax Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Coconut oil and Olive Oil
- Eggs (especially the yolks)
2) Foods high in soluble fiber binds cholesterol in the gut allowing excess to be excreted out of the body.
- Oats and Barley (not instant oatmeal)
- Brussel Sprouts, broccoli, cabbage
- Sweet potatoes
- Apples, pears, figs, dates (fresh not dried), oranges
- Split peas and Lentils
- Beans (black beans, lima beans, peas
- Artichokes (or artichoke paste)
3) Herbs (herb-like vegetables) contain flavonoids, quercetin, sulfur containing compounds and antioxidants which can significantly lower LDL.
4) Best Supplements shown in research to lower cholesterol
a) Fish Oil (2000 mg – 4000 mg daily) – initially I recommend beginning with 4000 mg of fish oil for 30 days to quickly begin moving your cholesterol levels, then you can reduce to 2000 mg daily. Fish oil is also great for reducing inflammation in the body. If you are on a blood thinner (anticoagulant or antiplatelet) medication, I highly recommend checking the following labs every 30 days (PT, INR). If your blood becomes too thin, your doctor will want to decrease your medication- which is a bonus.
b) CoQ10 (200-400 mg, daily) – If you are currently taking or have taken a statin drug, it’s imperative for you to get on CoQ10. Statin meds completely deplete CoQ10 in the body. This substance is imperative to produce energy for cell growth and maintenance. It also functions as an antioxidant and is essential for heart and brain health.
c) Niacin (1500 mg daily) – Niacin helps your blood vessels dilate (open up) for better blood flow. It also decreases LDL by 25% and increases HDL by 35% as reported in clinical studies. Some people may be experience facial flushing (redness) and itchiness after taking niacin. This condition isn’t dangerous but can be uncomfortable. Because of this we always recommend purchasing a ‘No-Flush’ for of Niacin. If it doesn’t specifiy ‘No-flush’ it probably isn’t.
d) Garlic (allicin) (500 mg daily) – this supplement is great for raising HDL levels and lowering LDL levels
This blog has been provided by Dr. John Coppola, D.C. and Dr. Valerie Monteiro, D.C. Dr. Coppola and Dr. Monteiro are the founders of the San Antonio Neuropathy Center, and Precision Sport & Spine. They are the leading experts in the field of neuropathy and specifically drug free nerve repair. They are the authors of the critically acclaimed book "Defeat Neuropathy Now .... In Spite of Your Doctor. The doctors have over 25 years of clinical experience.
If you would like to reach the doctors regarding a specific health problem, you may email them at [email protected].
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