Alternative therapies for cholesterol are treatments for lowering cholesterol naturally. However, talk to your doctor before you add any supplement or alternative therapies to your diet. This is because some supplements may interact with other medications you’re taking. They may also result in dangerous side effects.
The alternative therapies for cholesterol are grouped into two. First, Herbal Supplements. Second, Nutritional supplements. Both therapies may lower cholesterol as explained below:
According to some studies, garlic may decrease blood levels of total cholesterol by a few percentage points. Other studies, however, suggest that it may not be as beneficial as once thought. It may also have significant side effects and/or interactions with certain medications. For instance, garlic may prolong bleeding and blood clotting time. Therefore, garlic and garlic supplements should not be taken before surgery and with blood-thinning drugs such as Coumadin (warfarin).
Guggulipid is the gum resin of the Mukul myrrh tree. In clinical studies, guggulipid drastically reduced blood levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. However, more studies are still needed to confirm the safety and efficacy of this herb.
Other herbal products
The results of many studies propose yarrow, holy basil, fenugreek seeds/leaves, and artichoke leaf extract may help lower cholesterol. In addition to these are other popularly used herbs and spices like rosemary, turmeric, and ginger. These herbs and spice are being examined for their potential beneficial effects on coronary disease prevention.
Alternative therapies for cholesterol include more consumption of nutritional fiber, soy foods, and plant compounds. These foods can significantly reduce LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol as explained further below:
Plant foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, and unrefined grains contain dietary fiber. The soluble fiber found in foods is essentially effective in lowering cholesterol. Therefore, it is beneficial to eat foods such as oat bran, barley, psyllium seeds, flaxseed meal, apples, citrus fruits, lentils, and beans.
Phytosterols are compounds found in little amounts in foods such as whole and in many vegetables, fruits, and vegetable oils. Phytosterols decrease LDL cholesterol by interfering with the intestinal absorption of cholesterol. Phytosterols can be found in cholesterol-lowering margarine like Benecol, Smart Balance, Pro-activ, salad dressings, and nutritional supplements.
Soybeans have been shown to prevent coronary heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. In order to get more soy protein in your diet, eat food products made from soybean. For example, tofu, tempeh, soy milk, soy yogurt, edamame, and soy nuts.
Benefits Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 essential fatty acids have a favorable effect on cholesterol. This is achieved by slowing down the rate the liver produces LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Also important is the omega-3 anti-inflammatory effect in the body. As well as its ability to decrease the growth of plaque in the arteries and help in thinning the blood.
Therefore, in order to increase your portion of omega-3, aim for two servings of fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines per week. You may also want to try other dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids like flaxseed and walnuts.
Avoid Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
Try to avoid partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated vegetable oils which are known to increase LDL cholesterol. They lower heart-protecting HDL (good) cholesterol and increase the inflammatory response in the body. Hence, it is crucial to reduce your consumption of trans fatty acid-containing food.
Finally, when a plant-based low-fat diet is not effective at reducing cholesterol levels. Such a diet should be combined with cholesterol-lowering medications.
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