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Tips To Lower Cholesterol Naturally

By Charles Hopkins Published 01/2/2008 | Health
Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels can greatly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. What makes cholesterol so important? It gives your body the ability to repair cell membranes, creates vitamin D and helps to produce necessary hormones. When cholesterol levels become too high they interfere with these critical body functions and put you at risk for heart complications.

What do the numbers mean? Total cholesterol is the sum of three main factors. Theses are LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol (bad kind), HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol (good kind) and blood triglycerides. Healthy total cholesterol is under 200mg/dL with 180 mg/dL being optimal. LDL cholesterol should be under 100 mg/dL, HDL should be over 40 mg/dL and blood triglyceride levels under 150 mg/dL. When is cholesterol considered too high? When total cholesterol is over 240mg/dL with LDL levels over 160 mg/dL, HDL levels under 40 mg/dL and blood triglycerides 200 mg/dL you are at risk.

There are plenty of ways to help reduce cholesterol levels naturally. Medications are widely available but have been known to cause muscle pains and inflict damage on the liver. Lowering levels naturally is a much safer alternative. Natural remedies can also save you money on your prescriptions.

It is important to note that roughly 20% of cholesterol comes from your diet while nearly 80% comes from your liver. So changes in your diet may need to be taken further by adding nutritional supplements to your daily regimen. Cholesterol levels should be checked at least once every five years for people aged 20 or older. Use the following tips to help maintain healthy levels.

- Cut back on consuming sugar, white flower, rich desserts and fried foods.
- Switch to using healthy oils such as olive or walnut oil.
- Eat baked or poached fish a few nights a week.
- Consume more soluble fiber such as apples, barley, oats, psyllium, kidney beans and pears.
- Eat more nuts such as pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachios and walnuts.
- Load up on leafy and green vegetables during mealtimes. These include lettuce, broccoli, spinach and green beans.
- Switch to eating whole grain foods instead of starchy white bread and pastas.
- Eat more fruits and berries. These are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients.
- Soy can lower bad cholesterol by three percent.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes on most or all days of the week.

When an altered diet is not enough to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, you may want to consider taking some nutritional supplements. Always follow directions specified on labels and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. Below are some natural supplements that can help you achieve your goals.

- Octacosanol is derived from wheat germ oil. It is proven to reduce total cholesterol levels.

- Omega 3 Fatty Acids come from fish oil and flax seed oil. These not only help lower cholesterol but also reduce inflammation, a common risk factor associated with cardiovascular disease.

- Garlic can lower total levels.

- Niacin is a B vitamin that can help decrease cholesterol when used in larger doses. It lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol.

- Chromium (GTF) which aids in metabolizing sugars can help lower overall cholesterol.

- Guggul which is made from herbs is a medicine to help rid the body of bad cholesterol.

Always follow your doctors advice before starting any natural supplement regimen.