Cholesterol and triglycerides are central to human life. Cholesterol has a number of important functions.
It is the precursor to vitamin D, of sexual hormones, corticosteroid hormones and bile salts. It also forms part of the structure of the cell membranes in animals. It helps the interchange that occurs through the cellular membrane.
The maximum recommended level of blood cholesterol is 200mg/dl (milligrams per decilitre). Anything over that amount may promote cardio-vascular disease.
Cholesterol is exogenous if it is derived from food or endogenous if it is made by the body itself. If our cholesterol intake from food is high, the body produces less cholesterol and vice versa.
Natural remedies to reduce cholesterol
There are several natural remedies that can help us to regulate our cholesterol levels. Some of these are as follows:
Garlic has many antioxidant components such as organosulfur compounds, flavonoids and selenium. Their antioxidant capacity prevents the formation of atheromas.
The consumption of garlic will help us to decrease the level of triglycerides and LDL or “bad” cholesterol and at the same time increase the level of HDL or “good” cholesterol.
Artichoke (Cynara scolymus)
Artichokes have antioxidant and purifying properties. The active ingredients that can be found in the artichoke leaves can prevent cholesterol levels from rising.
Artichokes inhibit the production of cholesterol in the liver, and stimulate the degradation of bile salts.
The artichoke leaf contains flavonoids. Flavonoids are antioxidants that delay the oxidisation of LDL and the consequent atheroma formation.
Phytosterols are sterols that are derived from plants and have a similar structure to animal cholesterol.
Phytosterols block the absorption of cholesterol which is consumed as part of a diet through the intestine. The best known phytosterol is beta-sitosterol.
Policosanols help to reduce the assimilation of cholesterol in the liver. Policosanols are extracted from the sugar cane.
The best known example of a policosanol is octacosanol. Policosanols have a similar effect to statins, without the side effects.
Policosanols inhibit LDL oxidisation, reducing atheroma formation. They also decrease the amount of LDL in the blood and increase the amount of HDL.
Red yeast rice
Red yeast rice contains monacolins. Monacolins are compounds that inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol, thus reducing LDL and total cholesterol levels. It works best in conjunction with co-enzyme Q10
Fish oils that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA have cardio-protective effects. Omega 3 fatty acids reduce triglycerides and raise HDL or “good” cholesterol.
Foto: w.r.wagner, pixelio.de