One of the most commonly occurring problems for humankind is cholesterol. However, cholesterol is also an essential component of the human body, which is best when controlled and managed in a healthy way for a healthy lifestyle. Cholesterol is a yellowish fatty substance, a steroid that is naturally produced in the liver or in the intestines.
Types of Cholesterol
Cholesterol performs the vital function of producing hormones as well as cell membranes, while ensuring cell membrane permeability as well as fluidity. Cholesterol not only ensures proper functioning of the cell membrane, but also operates at an intracellular level, responsible for transportation of nutrients within the cellular structure and also for inter-cellular communication as well as signalling of the nervous system. The major proportion of body cholesterol is produced in the body, while the small proportion, about a quarter, comes from external food sources. And the cholesterol in the body is generally classified as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol, which are HDL and LDL respectively.
HDL, or High Density Lipoprotein, is responsible for keeping the bad cholesterol, or Low Density Lipoprotein, under control. You could have problems if you have low levels of HDL or high levels of LDL. LDL cholesterol has the tendency to build up along the walls of the arteries, leading to narrowing of the arteries. The role of HDL is to take the depositing LDL along and secure it back to the liver.
It has to be noted that dietary cholesterol does not add to blood cholesterol levels. For instance, having increased consumption of foodstuff that has high levels of cholesterol, such as eggs, seafood, or kidneys, does not lead to increase in blood cholesterol levels. However, increased consumption of foods that have high levels of saturated fats, such as hard cheese, cakes and biscuits, red meat, sausages and pies, could reflect in increased levels of blood cholesterol. Further, another important cause of increased blood cholesterol is a sedentary lifestyle without much physical activity. People who are used to sedentary lifestyles and do not embark on high levels of deliberate and planned physical activity, are more likely to experience increased levels of LDL. Apart from these common causes of cholesterol, some of the other reasons for cholesterol include smoking and drinking, as both tobacco and alcohol consumption are known to result in higher LDL levels. Further, medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney and liver problems as well as hypothyroidism are associated with high blood cholesterol levels.
Home Remedies for Cholesterol
Garlic for Cholesterol
Garlic, whose scientific name is Allium sativum, is known for its distinctive odor and for a variety of useful medicinal purposes. Apart from its use as a flavouring agent in food in many cuisines, the chemical called Allicin present in it is known to kill bacteria and fungi, and alleviate certain digestive disorders.
And most of all, garlic has been known to lower cholesterol levels in patients with high levels of LDL. It would help to include garlic in your diet on a daily basis, given the host of medical benefits that garlic provides, along with its projected benefit of lowering cholesterol, though you may not want to rely completely on garlic alone as a home remedy for cholesterol.
Ginger for Cholesterol
Ginger can safely be used as an effective home remedy for cholesterol as well as for a host of other health issues. For one, ginger reduces significantly serum and hepatic cholesterol levels in two ways – one is by impairing cholesterol absorption into the body and the other is by stimulating the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids. In the process, ginger is known to increase the secretion of bile, which in turn has had positive effects on digestive problems.
Ginger as a home remedy for cholesterol could be used in multiple forms, such as ginger powdered and added to tea, which is not only a healthy option, but is also a tasty one. Ginger could well be added to soups, as ginger slices could be left to soak in the fluid and could be boiled for the essence to seep into soups, which would add spice to your diet.
Artichoke for Cholesterol
The globe artichoke, which is known as Cynara cardunculus, is a perennial which has had its origins around the Mediterranean regions and in the southern parts of Europe. Artichoke flowers and their buds have edible parts, with many inedible parts as well in some of the grown up and mature flowers. Artichoke leaf is known to be an effective home remedy for cholesterol, which works by limiting the synthesis of cholesterol in the body, thus lowering LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
Artichoke leaves are also known to speed up the production of bile and promote bile flow in the gall bladder. This effectively results in an increased rate of cholesterol excretion from the system, thus effectively controlling the level of cholesterol in the body. Artichoke leaves could be cooked after the stem is cut and thorns, if any, are removed. Stems are edible as well, but may pose a bitter taste that some may find repulsive. Artichoke leaves could then be boiled along with garlic and lemon and could be peeled off and eaten, as a simple and effective home remedy for cholesterol. Artichoke leaves could be consumed along with butter or with balsamic vinegar for a tasty recipe and as one of the effective home remedies for cholesterol.
Green Tea for Cholesterol
A reliable and safe remedy for cholesterol is green tea. Green tea, which is known for a number of health benefits, is also known to work pretty well in the case of cholesterol, through its mechanism of increasing the secretion of lipids.
Further, green tea is also found to inhibit the production of an enzyme that is thought to cause or promote the constriction of blood vessels, hence having a direct effect on blood pressure. Green tea is also a powerful anti-oxidant, which reigns in the harmful free radicals, and in the process, prevents any damage caused by the free radicals to arteries. Regular consumption of green tea is an effective home remedy for cholesterol.
Cayenne Pepper for Cholesterol
Cayenne pepper, which is also known by the other names such as cow-horn pepper or bird pepper, is long known for its flavour as well as for its medicinal properties. Cayenne pepper is generally used in the making of spicy dishes, and is well known as a herbal supplement which acts as a herbal remedy for cholesterol. Cayenne pepper is long known for its abilities in correcting anomalies associated with the circulation system, as it regulates blood pressure and is effective as a cure for cholesterol.
The way the cayenne pepper works is by promoting a fast and quick processing of body fat without its staying in the system for long, thus reducing fat consumption by the body. Given its ability to excrete fat out of the body, cayenne pepper is acknowledged as an effective home remedy for cholesterol.
Guggul for Cholesterol
Guggul is the traditional Ayurvedic name for Indian Bedellium, the gum produced from the stem of the tree, Commiphora mukul. Guggul has been traditionally used in the treatment of a variety of health conditions, ranging from arthritis to obesity and skin problems, and it has been found to be effective in as an effective home remedy for cholesterol as well.
Guggul has been found to lower triglycerides as well as LDL, though some studies indicate that the herbal product is more effective on the Indian population than those who are used to Western diet, also citing genetic differences among the populations. Guggul is available in the form of capsules that could be taken twice a day as effective remedies against cholesterol, and could be taken under the supervision of a practitioner.
Chicory, Ginger and Fenugreek Seeds for Cholesterol
Fenugreek has long been associated with the lowering of cholesterol, among other health benefits. You could get the right kind of home remedies for cholesterol by adding half a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds to a teaspoon of lime flowers and half a teaspoon of ginger, mixing them all up in water to be boiled. You could let the solution cool down after it has reached a boil, strain the solution and drink at the rate of two cups a day for effective relief from cholesterol levels.
Oats for Cholesterol
One of the first home remedies for cholesterol that should catch your eye would have to be oats. Oatmeal is good for health and makes for a perfect low fat diet, capable of reducing your blood cholesterol levels substantially as you stick on with it. You would also do well to combine your oatmeal diet with other low fat recipes as you stay away from some of the prominent sources of cholesterol and fat.
Nuts for Cholesterol
An easy and delicious home remedy for cholesterol would be to consume nuts on a daily basis. Nuts are good, nutritious, tasty and effective in reducing blood cholesterol levels. You could choose among the many kinds of nuts such as peanuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts, all of which are found to have similar kinds of effects on the levels of blood cholesterol.
Apart from their role in reducing cholesterol, nuts are also involved in reduction of triglycerides, and ultimately, having a positive impact on people with coronary heart disease. And the ideal quantity of nuts to be consumed on a daily basis has been estimated to be at around 3 ounces per day, considering the high calorific value of nuts.
Honey for Cholesterol
One simple home remedy for cholesterol that wouldn’t cost you much and that would also lift your spirits involves honey. You may add one teaspoon of honey in a cup of hot water to form a delicious hot drink that is capable of working wonders for your high cholesterol levels. Honey is nature’s best medicine for a whole range of ailments and one solution that wouldn’t let you down.
Rice Bran Oil for Cholesterol
One lifestyle and diet change that you would want to bring about when trying out home remedies for cholesterol would be to focus on rice bran oil as the preferred medium of cooking. Rice bran oil is found to be a good source of dietary fibre along with a range of fatty acids, such as Oleic, Linoleic and Lenolenic acids. Tests have confirmed rice bran oil’s ability to significantly lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with cholesterol complaints.
Rice Bran Oil and Safflower Oil for Cholesterol
Another home remedy for cholesterol would be to blend Rice Bran Oil with safflower oil and substituting the blended oil for the regular cooking oils such as vegetable oil or corn oil. The recommended proportion for blending the two oils is seven times Rice Bran Oil to three times safflower oil.
The efficacy of this method of blending the two oils and its effectiveness in lowering serum cholesterol levels have been attributed to the high levels of linoleic acid in safflower oil that is blended with the micronutrients present in rice bran oil, according to a study, with more research on the reasons behind the effectiveness of this blended oil being in process.
Apple and Vinegar for Cholesterol
There may not be many substitutes for the ubiquitous apple that comes in handy during a whole range of ailments, including playing an active role as home remedies for cholesterol. Half a glass of apple juice with half the quantity of vinegar added to it is said to be a useful home remedy for cholesterol.
Coriander for Cholesterol
The humble coriander seeds can play big roles when they are used as home remedies for cholesterol. Around two tablespoons of cholesterol could be brought to boil in a glass of water, cooled and strained for consumption twice or thrice a day. This simple solution of coriander is effective in bringing down cholesterol levels even as it promotes the functioning of the kidney.
Water for Cholesterol
There have been many advocates of this simple and perfectly natural solution for many ailments that afflict the human race. Water is essential for sustenance of optimal organ performance and drinking 2 to 3 litres of water a day would go a long way as home remedies for cholesterol.
Diet and Lifestyle for Cholesterol
While the home remedies for cholesterol may work in reducing cholesterol levels in the short term, you need to make a difference to blood cholesterol in the long run through diet and lifestyle changes, letting vitamins and minerals take charge of your parameters.
Niacin for Cholesterol
Niacin is also known by its other names such as nicotinic acid, or more commonly, Vitamin B3. Niacin has been found to be effective in increasing the HDL levels in the body, which happens to be the good cholesterol that the body needs. Niacin has also found to be helpful in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases as well as negating the risk of stroke.
It is thought that Niacin in the form of Inositol Hexaniacinate is even better in controlling LDL and in lowering the blood cholesterol levels than standard niacin. And niacin has also found not to have any side effect on the body or on the liver with long term consumption. To have a sufficient intake of Niacin, it is advised to have considerable quantities of crimini mushroom, or button mushroom or the common mushroom, which is a commonly cultivated mushroom variety. Further, there are other sources of Niacin, such as tuna, salmon, chicken breast and asparagus.
Among the vegetables, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale are good sources of Niacin and regular consumption of these foods is an effective home remedy for cholesterol. Consumption of sufficient amounts of milk and buttermilk is also thought to be an effective natural remedy for cholesterol, along with a good deal of grains, seeds and nuts. In general, consumption of lentils and legumes and a lot of green as well as leafy vegetables is an easy, tasty and nutritious home remedy for cholesterol.
Healthy Fat for Cholesterol
Not all fat is bad, and having a cholesterol problem warrants a change in the dietary habits with regard to fats. You could use monounsaturated fat as effective home remedies for cholesterol, as you could find in olive oil, peanut and canola oils, which you could substitute for the regular vegetable oils used for cooking.
Avoid Trans Fats
When you take up home remedies for cholesterol, it is important to support your system with the right kind of diet, including what is good and eliminating what is bad. When it comes to Trans Fats, there are no exceptions – you would do a good job to avoid sources of Trans Fats, which you could find in margarine, cookies, crackers and other baked products and snacks.
The problem with Trans Fats is two-fold – for one, you would have higher levels of LDL, which you should ideally reduce as part of your home remedies for cholesterol, while they also reduce HDL levels in the body.
Chromium for Cholesterol
Among the essential minerals that play an important role in many facets of our health is chromium. Chromium is critically important to ensure that sugar levels in the body are maintained and is also found to lower blood sugar levels as well as cholesterol levels, thus decreasing the risks associated with diabetic complications as well as those of heart diseases. The prominent sources of chromium include whole grain breads, cereals, lean meat and milk products such as cheese. You might want to include some of the products that are known sources of chromium along with your home remedies for cholesterol.
Vitamin C for Cholesterol
Vitamin C plays a much larger role than what it may conventionally be associated with and used for. Vitamin C has been found to lower the level of cholesterol in the body, thus highly regarded for its role in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. You could take up vitamin C supplements as well as other sources of Vitamin C along with home remedies for cholesterol for natural cholesterol lowering.
Lose Weight for Cholesterol
If you have taken up home remedies for cholesterol with some seriousness, you would do yourself a world of good by taking that extra step and walking that extra mile towards reducing your body weight so that you could have cholesterol levels well in control. You may have to take up a weight loss programme that is comprehensive, suitable to your unique circumstances and needs, to achieve lower cholesterol levels the natural way.
Go for Soybean
One more way in which you could add taste and flavour to your cuisine even as you enjoy lower levels of cholesterol would be by including soybeans in your diet. Soybeans are high protein foods that are also rich in fibre, along with lecithin content, which is known to be a fat emulsifier. With high levels of Vitamin B, Vitamin E and Vitamin K, along with a host of minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, iron and magnesium, you could make numerous recipes out of soybean, even as you add soy flour and soy granules to a range of delicacies to add taste and flavour.
Exercises for Cholesterol
Even as you go ahead with home remedies for cholesterol with diet and nutrition and make lifestyle changes to accommodate ingredients that would bring your cholesterol levels down, it is important that you take exercises with as much seriousness, ensuring that you manage to burn the extra calories along with cholesterol. With exercises, you would also find that the different body organs are put into action, thereby lowering LDL and raising HDL levels in the process.