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97 Recommendations to Lower Your Cholesterol

If you like this article:

1. Know your numbers. If you get a high blood cholesterol level test get another test. Make it hypodermically drawn and analyzed at a laboratory certified by the federal Centers for Disease Control for testing blood lipids. If the second measurement- which should be done one to eight weeks after the first- is within 30 points of the original reading, then take the average of the two tests as your cholesterol level. If the discrepancy is more than 30 points, have a third test done in another one to eight weeks. The average of the three tests is your cholesterol level.

If your level is 240 or more get a lipoprotein analysis, which will reveal your levels of LDL and HDL as well as your levels of triglycerides. For this test you should fast 10 to 12 hours before having it done.

2. Eat whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat fish.

3. Eat cholesterol lowering foods. These include: whole grains such as brown rice, barley, and oats; legumes; fruit; vegetables, especially leafy greens, broccoli, and roots; omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in salmon, sardines, and other deep, cold water fish; onions, one to two ounces per day; scallions; garlic; shiitake and reishi mushrooms.

4. Good herbs for cholesterol include: garlic, 5-20 grams/day; hawthorn, leaves 80 mg 2 times a day; capsaicin, before meals; ginkgo biloba, 40 mg 3 times a day.

5. Taking 600-900 mg of garlic powder capsules every day for 3-4 months lowered cholesterol levels by 14 to 21 percent and triglycerides by 18-24 percent.

6. Garlic has been shown to decrease the rate of cholesterol synthesis. Both raw and processed garlic contain several compounds (ajoene, 2-vinyl-4H-1, 3-dithiin, and diallythiosulfinate allicin) that inhibit an enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase) which is necessary for the synthesis of cholesterol. Supplementation of peripheral arterial occlusive disease patients ( a form of atherosclerosis so severe that there is trouble even walking) with encapsulated garlic powder (800 mg/day) improved walking distance, reduced blood pressure, reduced spontaneous platelet aggregation , and decreased total and LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.

7. Helpful supplements include: Vitamin C, 100-500 mg/day; Vitamin E, dry form, 60-100 I.U. / day; beta-carotene, 20 mg/day; water soluble fiber from oats, brown rice, legumes, and fruit.

8. Chronic stress raises cholesterol levels. Follow a meditation, imaging or relaxation technique.

9. Bile is the major route for excretion of cholesterol. Ensure proper bile functioning.

10. Dandelion leaves are regarded as one of the finest liver remedies, both as food and medicine. Studies have shown that dandelion enhances the flow of bile. It causes an increase in bile production and flow to the gallbladder (choleretic effect) and stimulates the gallbladder to contract and release the stored bile (cholagogue effect) into the intestine. Dandelion also increases the elimination of toxins from the liver. Eat dandelion greens liberally. Take Liver bitter herbs.

11. Artichoke leaf (cynara scolymus) extracts increase the excretion of bile from the liver. This effect is so potent that artichoke extracts are now used as cholesterol lowering agents. In one study 500 mg/day of cynarin lowered blood cholesterol by 20 % and triglycerides by 15 %. Eat artichokes liberally.

12. The common spice turmeric contains the yellow pigment curcumin which increases the flow of bile from the liver and decreases blood cholesterol levels. It is especially effective in lowering cholesterol levels. In experiments with rats fed large amounts of cholesterol it decreased blood levels 50%. Use turmeric liberally as a spice, 300 mg curcumin three times a day.

13. Increased blood levels of cholesterol, free fatty acids, triglycerides, and bile acids inhibit various immune functions, including the ability of lymphocytes to proliferate and produce antibodies and the ability of neutrophils to migrate to areas of infections and engulf and destroy infectious organisms.

14. Relying on conventional medical cholesterol lowering drugs only may not be the best strategy. A worldwide research project found that although clofibrate decreased cholesterol levels, it actually increased the mortality rate 36%. While it may decrease mortality from heart disease, the drug’s side effects increase other causes far more.

15. Trans-fatty acids in margarine, shortening and many processed foods and elevated levels of blood sugar interfere with normal cholesterol metabolism. Avoid them.

16. Coffee poses a problem for those with elevated cholesterol levels. Some coffee bean oils (Arabica) contain a high proportion of a compound called kahweol, which raises triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Some types of coffee (Robusta) have no kahweol and do not elevate cholesterol. Coffee brewed with paper filters has lower levels of kahweol (the filter paper absorbs the kahweol) and percolated coffee has the highest.

17. The vitamin niacin was found to be a lipid lowering agent to prevent heart disease and to increase longevity. Those who took the niacin reduced their mortality 11%. The problem with niacin is that it causes uncomfortable flushing 20 -30 minutes after ingestion. To avoid the unpleasant flushing, timed-release formulation have been produced. However, these formulation cause liver damage in 52% of those using the them over a long period of time. A better form of niacin is inositol hexaniacinate. This has been show to lower cholesterol levels and improve peripheral blood flow in intermittent claudication (blockage of the blood supply to the periphery).It has fewer unpleasant side effects and is slightly more effective than niacin alone. Food sources of niacin include: lean meats, poultry and fish, peanuts, milk and milk products, rice bran.

18. In patients with severe atherosclerosis who have had plaques surgically removed from their arteries, adding 15 mg of guar gum daily decreased their total cholesterol by 17% and their LDL cholesterol by 26%.

19. High levels of oxidized cholesterol are found in cholesterol containing foods cooked at high temperature in the presence of air: scrambled eggs, fried bacon, grilled beef, etc.

20. LDL cholesterol can be protected from oxidization by taking antioxidants. One of the best antioxidants is vitamin E. The minimum dose of mixed tocopherol needed to significantly decrease the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidation is 400 I.U. /Day

21. Vitamin E supplements from 600 to 800 I.U. may be taken daily. It is best not to take more than 1,200 I.U. daily in long term use. The recommendation for those with diabetes, hypertension, or a rheumatic heart condition, those taking digitalis or anti-coagulants, and those with vision disturbances is 100 I.U. a day. Some sources recommend that those with the above conditions not take more than 30 I.U. without first consulting a physician. For others begin taking Vitamin E starting with 100 I.U. and gradually increasing the dosage over a few weeks or months.

22. Vitamin E is a fat soluble nutrient and is better absorbed from the intestinal tract in the presence of fat. To ensure absorption, take vitamin E with a meal with fat.

23. Vitamins E should be complemented with the mineral selenium. These two nutrients operate synergistically and work better together than alone. Take 15 -50 mg.

24. You can aid vitamin E’s digestibility and utilization by taking it with lecithin, a fat that has been reported to reduce the incidence of hot flashes. Take 6-12 capsules divided into 1-3 doses.

25. Eat food rich in vitamin E including: sunflower seeds, almonds, crab, sweet potatoes, fish, wheat germ. And whole wheat bread.

26. Vitamin E Supplementation is far more effective when used in conjunction with a cholesterol lowering diet.

27. Those with elevated serum lipids should also eat a diet rich in carotenoids, which provides additional protection, especially for smokers.

28. Other antioxidants that have shown beneficial results in clinical trials include: Vitamin C, selenium, acetyl-cysteine, coenzyme Q10, carotenes, and catechins.

29. Garlic has also been shown to be an effective antioxidant protecting the heart and arteries from oxidized lipids.

30. Another excellent antioxidant is Super Sprouts and Algae from Cell-Tech. It is a unique product combining the nutritional benefits of three super-foods: a super concentration of custom-grown organic wheat sprouts, micro-algae, and super red beta algae from the sea. Two studies in Mexico with wheat sprouts have been shown to increase the supply of antioxidant enzymes from 40% to 80% - an effect that lasted weeks after supplementation stopped. Super red beta algae contains more whole beta carotene that any other known plant or algae.

31. One of the best ways to increase HDL cholesterol is to exercise regularly. Research has shown a direct correlation between the amount of exercise and the amount of HDL elevation. Regular exercise has also been shown to lower LDL levels. Excellent exercises include, swimming, biking, cross country skiing, and walking.

32. Moderate alcohol consumption (one drink a day) appears to decrease the risk of heart disease, probably because alcohol increases HDL cholesterol and plasminogen activator (which helps decrease clots in the blood vessels). Higher levels of alcohol consumption have the opposite effect, increasing the risk of heart attack. The protective effects of alcohol seem to be most pronounce in men with the lewi’s phonotype LE(a-b).

33. In animal research the consumption of red wine and dark grape juice, but not white wine, is associated with reduced incidence of experimental atherosclerosis. These contain a wide variety of naturally occurring compounds especially several flavanoids such as anthocyanidins, flavanols, and flavones which are potent antioxidants. They have demonstrated significant platelet inhibition (which reduces blood clots).

34. Ginkgo biloba helps inhibit the development of and even reverse atherosclerosis. In animal studies ginkgo decreases lipid disturbances, inhibited plaque formation and increased HDL cholesterol. After 4 weeks of taking ginkgo extract human subjects were found to have a 38% improvement in blood supply. Ginkgo also helps by decreasing platelet and red blood cell clotting and improving oxygen and glucose uptake by the peripheral tissues.

35. Several population studies have shown an inverse relationship between fish consumption and heart disease, with one study showing an effect with as little as one serving of salmon a week. These results appear to be due to the omega-3 fatty acids in fish.

36. Omega-3 from plant foods, such as walnuts and flax seeds appear to be just as effective. Other good sources of omega-3 oils are purslane and olive oil. The Mediterranean diet which is high in these fatty acids has been shown to decrease mortality by 60%. Supplementation with omega-3 oils in the form of flaxseed oil or EPA and DHA rich fish oils appear to be effective.

37. Promoting better functioning of heart tissue is an important component of overall treatment of many types of cardiovascular disease. Degenerative lesions of the heart muscle impair pump function and can be found in most types of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and cardiac failure. These lesions may be the result of repeated insults, such as ischemic events (periods of inadequate blood supply to the heart that are not bad enough to cause a heart attack, but are bad enough to damage the heart muscle), inflammation, severe stress (the flight or fight syndrome releases catecholamines from the adrenals that can damage the heart), and nutritional deficiencies.

38. One of the best nutrients for strengthening and regenerating the heart muscle is coenzyme Q10. Supplementation with oral CoQ 10 for two to eight months increases myocardial CoQ 10 levels by 20 to 85% and substantially improves heart function. In one trail daily supplementation of 100 mg of CoQ 10 for those with severe cardiomyopathy for 12 weeks significantly increased the volume of blood pumped by the heart, reduced shortness of breath, and increased muscle strength. Cardiac function deteriorated when CoQ 10 was discontinued. Dose is 25 mg/day

39. CoQ 10 also appears to be of great value in treating hypertension. Providing patients with 60 mg of CoQ 10 a day for eight weeks resulted in a highly significant decrease in blood pressure, with 54% of patients experience a mean blood pressure fall of greater than 10%. The beneficial effect on blood pressure was not seen until after at least 4-12 weeks.

40. One of the best herbs for helping to strengthen the heart is hawthorn plant. All parts of the plants are being shown to have beneficial effects. The procyanidines and other flavanoids ( a group of plant pigments that offer significant protection against free radical damage) in the hawthorn plants have been shown to improve the blood supply to all parts of the heart and the peripheral vascular system, modestly increase the strength of contraction of heart muscle, increase the tolerance of the heart muscle to low levels of oxygen, and improve exercise tolerance. Patients with advanced heart failure were treated with 900 mg of hawthorn extract and after 8 weeks they had a 50% decrease in symptoms and improved ability to cycle. Dose is 120 mg 3 times a day.

41. Foods for a healthy heart include: apricots, beans, carrots, cherries, fish, garlic, grapefruit, greens, kiwi, mangoes, nuts, olive and canola oil, okra, onions, oranges, pineapple, prunes, pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, yogurt, cultured foods, wheat germ, hot peppers, salmon, flax, shiitake mushrooms, sardines, green tea.

42. Cinnamon has blood thinning properties that can help lower cholesterol levels. Mix 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of ginger into a cup of hot water, then stir and steep for five minutes. Drink this once in the morning and once in the evening.

43. Lower your cholesterol by eating more grapes. There’s a compound in grape skins and seeds that helps lower cholesterol. Grape-seed oil has been shown in several studies to help lower cholesterol better than other oils.

44. Grapefruit, carrots, and apples are rich in pectin, which reduces cholesterol levels by bonding with dietary fat and cholesterol and removing them from the body through the intestine before they are absorbed through the bloodstream.

45. A recommended visualization for lowering cholesterol levels is given by Barbara Dossey : Imagine following a beam of light into one of your blood vessels. As you approach the wall of the vessel, notice the dome-shaped accumulation of sticky cholesterol that has collected. Now picture yourself gently peeling off layers of fatty material and handing them to special cells that pass by. Like little garbage trucks, these cells haul the cholesterol to the intestine, where it begins its journey out of your body. You can do this exercise 2 times a day for 15-20 minutes each.

46. To help rid the body of cholesterol more effectively work the thyroid gland and liver reflexes on your hands and feet.

47. Studies suggest that meditation can help reduce blood cholesterol levels.

48. Cholesterol can rise with your stress level. A complete breath exercise can be done whenever you’re feeling stress.

49. Lowering saturated fats in the diet is a key to lowering cholesterol. The average American gets 40 percent of calories from fat, with 13 percent of the total coming from saturated fat. Saturated fat (found primarily in animal products but also in coconut, palm, and cottonseed oils) encourages the liver to produce more LDLs and interferes with its ability to remove cholesterol from the blood. Eliminate from the diet all hydrogenated fats and hardened fats and oils such as margarine, lard.

50. Avoid cream substitutes (nondairy coffee creamers) as they are poor alternative to cholesterol heavy dairy products. Many contain coconut oil, which is a highly saturated fat. Soy milk or almond milk is preferable.

51. You do need some fats. Good fats supply essential fatty acids, which are important for our health. Fats supply energy, and they stay in the digestive tract for longer periods than proteins or carbohydrates. They act as an intestinal lubricant, generate body heat, and carry the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. The protective myelin sheaths that protect nerve fibers are composed of fats. All cell membranes are composed of fats.

52. Monounsaturated fats (canola, olive and peanut oils; avocados; nuts; olives) maintain or elevate the levels of protective HDLs while decreasing the amount of cholesterol carried by the LDLs.

54. Lowering sugar intake is the key to lowering triglycerides.

55. Magnesium lowers total cholesterol and LDL and raises HDL.

56. Vitamin C in doses as low as 500 mg/day raises HDL and lowers total cholesterol.

57. Eggs? Up to seven per week have been found to have no significant effect on total cholesterol and can be safely eaten by healthy people.

58. Vitamin B6 lowers LDL.

59. Copper raises HDL and lowers LDL.

60. Fish oils raise HDL.

61. L-carnitine lowers total cholesterol and LDL and raises HDL.

62. Eat high amounts of fiber, particularly soluble fiber from sources like oat bran and beans. Soluble fiber binds to excess cholesterol and carries it out of the body. Soluble fiber may transform in the colon into substances that interfere with the body’s production of cholesterol. Soluble fiber lowers LDL and total cholesterol without reducing the levels of HDL. In one study men who ate heaping amount of fruits, vegetables, salads, berries, and bran were able to lower their total cholesterol by 5 percent in 4 weeks. Good fiber foods include: oat bran; psyllium; rice bran; legumes, kidney, chickpeas, lima beans, lentils, navy beans, pinto beans, apples, bananas, berries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, corn, citrus fruits, dates, eggplant, figs, prunes, raisins, sweet potatoes, turnips, zucchini.

63. Oat bran has components called beta-glucans that lower cholesterol levels. Barley contains up to 3 times more beta-glucans than oat bran and beans are significant sources also.

64. To help lower resistant blood cholesterol levels add 1 tablespoon of psyllium daily to your diet. Give yourself time to adapt to its laxative effect and be sure and drink plenty of water as psyllium absorbs large amounts of fluid. Don’t take more that 2 tablespoons a day.

65. A vegetarian diet is associated with low levels of LDLs, total cholesterol, and triglycerides.

66. Large meals stimulate the production of an enzyme that increases the liver’s output of cholesterol. Dividing the day’s calories into frequently eaten small meals rather than two or three a day can help lower cholesterol levels.

67. At least 8 glasses of water are needed daily to keep cholesterol absorbing fiber moving through the body.

68. Drink herbal teas of cayenne, chicory root, dandelion, fenugreek, hawthorn, mint, red clover, rose hips, skullcap, turmeric, ginger.

69. An onion a day increases HDL by 30 percent while lowering LDL and triglycerides.

70. A half an onion or 2-3 tablespoons of onion oil a day helps lower cholesterol 7-33 percent.

71. B vitamins assist with fat metabolism in the body.

72. 30 milligrams of B15 three times a day for 20 days reduced cholesterol levels for 90 percent of the people tested.

73. Lecithin, which contains high concentrations of choline and inositol is believed to emulsify fats and cholesterol so they can be utilized by the body or flushed out of the body. One to six capsules a day or two or more 1,200 mg capsules at each meal is the suggested dosage.

74. Calcium may lower overall cholesterol levels.

75. Chromium reduces total cholesterol and raises HDL levels.

76. Activated charcoal can bind with cholesterol and carry it out of the system. 1/4 ounce of charcoal taken three times a day has lowered LDL levels 41 percent and elevated HDL 8 percent. However charcoal also absorbs good nutrients along with the cholesterol. Activated charcoal should not be consumed daily and it should not be taken along with other supplements or medications.

77. Shiitake mushrooms contain an amino acid called eritadenine that accelerates cholesterol’s processing in the liver. In addition, shiitake’s high dietary fiber helps the body process cholesterol. In one study elderly people and young women ate 9 g of dried shiitake or the equivalent amount of fresh shiitake (90 g) daily. After seven days, total cholesterol level had decreased 7 -15 percent in the elderly and 6 -12 percent in the young women.

78. Don’t smoke and don’t inhale secondhand smoke.

79. Don’t drink water that tastes of chlorine. As a powerful oxidizing agent, chlorine is another common toxin that promotes arteriosclerosis.

80. Reduce consumption of white sugar and sweets in general. Diets high in sugar are most likely to be deficient in protective factors.

81. Reduce consumption of packaged and highly processed foods which are also likely to be deficient in protective factors.

82. Do not take iron supplements unless you have iron deficiency anemia. Iron supplements are a risk factor for arteriosclerosis because it is an oxidizing agent that can increase oxidation of cholesterol into more harmful forms. Eat iron rich foods.

83. Postmenopausal women may find that even though they eat low-fat foods their cholesterol levels become elevated. This is because they often have an increase in unopposed conjugated synthetic estrogen and their LDL cholesterol will rise consistently. This is the result of estrogen dominance. The cholesterol can be neutralized by taking natural progesterone and an herbal program which balances out the unopposed estrogen in their bodies.

84. Soy foods may be especially effective cholesterol cutters. One study has shown the after 4 weeks of including generous amount of soy in the diet the average cholesterol levels decreased by 27 percent.

85. Studies show that over a period of three weeks, a daily snack of two carrots lowered cholesterol by 10 -20 percent. Carrots are high in the fiber pectin. Other good sources of pectin include, apples, and the white inner layer of citrus rends. Juicing these foods eliminates most of the fiber and only about 10 percent of the cholesterol lowering pectin remains. Eat them fresh or whole or whirl them in a blender.

86. Three tablespoons of grapefruit pectin daily can lower cholesterol by about 8 percent. However this type of supplementation of fiber interferes with the uptake of beta-carotene, boron, calcium, copper, iron, and zinc. This is less of a problem when you consume the whole plant itself because the plant provides extra nutrients. Grapefruit should be eaten in moderate amounts as it can increase and interfere with the absorption of some medications.

87. Avocado is one of the highest fat fruits so people often avoid it. But avocado can help lower cholesterol levels. After 6 weeks on the addition of avocado and olive oil to their diet a group showed a 8.2 percent reduction in cholesterol.

88. Beans are high in fiber and low in fat and they contain lecithin, a nutrient that helps cut cholesterol. One study showed that a cup and a half of dried lentils or kidney beans a day can lower total cholesterol levels by 9 percent.

89. Celery significantly lowered total cholesterol and LDL levels in animals.

90. Many studies show that ginger helps lower cholesterol. Ginger has been shown to reduce significantly serum and hepatic cholesterol levels by impairing cholesterol absorption as well as by stimulating the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids. In addition, ginger has been shown to increase bile excretion. Use ginger spice, ginger tincture or fresh ginger tea or infusion.

91. Fenugreek is rich in a soothing fiber called mucilage which has been demonstrated to be cholesterol lowering.

92. High nut consumption is associated with the least likely chance to be obese and a lower incidence of fatal and nonfatal heart attacks. Some sources recommend eating only raw nuts and not nuts that have been roasted or exposed to air.

93. Phytosterols are components contained in all plants. Phytosterols can be absorbed into the bloodstream and nudge out some of the cholesterol. The food that shows up the highest in phytosterols is sesame seeds. Other foods that contain high amounts of phytosterol include: lettuce; sunflower seeds; hazelnuts; cucumbers; asparagus; okra; cauliflower; spinach; figs; onions; strawberries; pumpkin or squash; radishes; apricots; tomatoes; celery and ginger. From this group you can design recipes for tasty cholesterol lowering salads, soups and snacks.

94. Use only unrefined cold or expeller-pressed oils. Cold pressed oils are those that have never been heated above 101 F during processing. Use vegetable oils that are liquid at room temperature such olive, soybean, flaxseed, primrose, black current seed oil.

95. Kombuch tea may help lower cholesterol.

96. Some fast food restaurants use beef tallow -fat- to make hamburgers, fish, chicken, and French fries. These fried foods contain high amounts of cholesterol and this fat is exposed to high temperatures in the deep frying process, resulting in oxidation and the formation of free radical. Heating fat, especially frying foods in fat produces toxic trans-fatty acids which behave like saturated fats in raising cholesterol.

97. Certain drugs can elevate cholesterol levels. These include: steroids, oral contraceptives, furosemide (Lasix) and other diuretics, and levodopa (L-dopa, sold under the brand names of Dopar, Larodopa, and Sinemet), which is often used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Beta-blockers can cause unfavorable changes in the ratio of LDL to HDL.

Related Information:

Summer Heart Wellness Longevity Program

Cardiovascular Profile

Steps to Prevention: Atherosclerosis

Seasonal Herbal Products for Summer

Herbs for a Healthy Heart


© Copyright 1997 - 2008 by Mary Ann Copson and Evenstar. All rights reserved.

About the Author:
Mary Ann Copson is the founder of the Evenstar Mood & Energy Wellness Center for Women. With Master's Degrees in Human Development and Psychology and Counseling, Mary Ann is a Certified Licensed Nutritionist; Certified Holistic Health Practitioner; Brain Chemistry Profile Clinician; and a Health, Wellness and Lifestyle Coach. Reconnect to your physical, emotional, mental, psychological and spiritual natural rhythms at

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