Cholesterol is an important component of our body. It is found in every single cell membrane in the body. It also surrounds every nerve and is used to make vital hormones.
A very high percentage of people that are seeing me for the first time have elevated cholesterol. Cholesterol levels get a main-stage focus of the medical community due to the large number of Americans who die of heart disease every year. The foods we eat, the activity we partake in and the pace at which we go through life all play a part in this balance of healthy cholesterol levels.
One of my favorite food based ways of helping lower cholesterol is utilizing 2 ground teaspoons of organic flax seed in your foods daily. This is done easily in smoothies, on salads, with hot cereal or even just with a bit of applesauce or rice milk if you are in a hurry. I have yet to see anyone who was faithful with this regimen for at least 3 months not drop their LDL (bad) cholesterol. Flax is also high in omega-3 oils which help raise HDL (good) cholesterol.
Flax will work even better if you are sure to get ample water (1/2 your body weight in ounces) every day. The fiber of the flax mixed with the water helps the GI tract make healthier stools and eliminate some dietary cholesterol and fats by binding to it on the way out.
Fish oils are also a great source of omega-3 and have been shown to raise HDL (good) cholesterol as well as lower triglycerides. Even better add more fish to your diet on at least a weekly basis (especially wild caught salmon!).
Moving the body continuously for 30 minutes 4x/week will help keep cholesterol from rising. If you can increase this to a minimum of 45 minutes 4x/week, over time weight loss will slowly ensue and cholesterol levels will drop even more (and more permanently).
There are supplements to help lower cholesterol and sometimes these are neccessary. Not all supplements work the same and you should be aware that a few of these can rarely have similar side effects as some more conventional drugs. However, water, flax, fish, and exercise daily are going to be your best bet to lowering cholesterol healthily and keeping it there!
Azure Karli, ND
Bend Naturopathic Clinic