February is heart month and a great time to learn the many natural ways for lowering cholesterol.
Did you know that cholesterol is actually a good thing? Cholesterol is vital for brain function as it acts as an antioxidant, and serves as the raw material from which we are able to make things like progesterone, estrogen, cortisol and even vitamin D.
Millions of people are on cholesterol lowering medications. Many are unaware that there are ways for lowering cholesterol naturally.
We often take our heart for granted. It beats without us even thinking of it, yet in a flash our bodies can suffer a heart attack that seems to have given us no warning signs. This life changing event can leave us recovering for months or loved ones left to plan our funeral.
Why not take this opportunity to look at the many ways you can help your heart.
Eating a healthy whole diet, exercising regularly, practicing stress reduction techniques and taking proper supplements can go a long way in keeping our heart healthy and young.
Heart disease is on the rise and I think I know why.
I see many people in my nutrition practice who suffer with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and are overweight. They choose to eat the Standard American Diet and think if they exercise once a week and order a salad once a week they will continue to live a healthy life.
Unfortunately, doctors are not trained in nutrition and often don’t give patients options for lowering cholesterol naturally. Often statins are prescribed and these drugs can have serious side effects; muscle pain, poor memory, liver dysfunction and lowering co enzyme Q10 levels in the body.
We also now know that the health of our gut flora or microbiome can alter our bodies ability to rid itself of toxins and can cause excess inflammation in our body.
Years ago my husband had a kidney transplant. Since then he has a daily regime of taking anti-rejection drugs. Thankfully these drugs keep him alive, but they offer their own side effects, one of them being raising his cholesterol levels.
When I first met him he was on cholesterol lowering drugs. Over the years we have changed our diet for the better and incorporated more vegetables and fibre into our menu planning. One day he finally decided to get serious about eating a healthier diet and exercising to see if he could get off statins.
To his doctors shock and amazement a year ago his blood work revealed that his cholesterol had dropped to a limit where he no longer needed to take cholesterol lowering drugs.
Hopefully if you are reading this article your doctor has informed you that by exercising regularly, changing your diet to a more vegetable oriented diet and taking nutritional supplements can help in reversing the need to take statins.
Top cardiologist, Dr. Stephen Sinatra suggests that adopting the Pan-Asian Mediterranean diet along with a regular exercise can go a long way in helping to lower cholesterol levels. Adding in some nutritional supplements can help even further.
Here are 7 ways to help your heart to stay young and lower cholesterol.
- Eat fresh turmeric and ginger- Both contain anti-inflammatory properties. Try adding them to soups, stews, juices, even your morning eggs or tofu.
- Eat more fibre- Add foods like chia seed, pumpkin seeds, flax seed, and lots of vegetables into your diet. Try to have 75% of your plate be veggies.
- Omega -3 fatty acids- Buy a good quality fish oil and take 1-2 grams a day.
- Eat magnesium rich foods and take a magnesium supplement- Wild fish, leafy green vegetables, brown rice, bananas, pumpkin seeds and tofu area all great magnesium rich foods. Supplement with 400mg of magnesium daily
- Coenzyme Q10- CoQ10 fuels energy production in every cell in your body, including your heart. As we age our CoQ10 gets depleted and if you take statin drugs know they also deplete CoQ10, so its imperative you supplement with CoQ10. Dosage depends on whether you are taking statin drugs or not. I personally take 100mg a day. For more information check out this article written by Dr. Sinatra.
- Add coconut and olive oil, plus avocados into your menu planning- These are heart healthy foods and go a long way in protecting your heart.
- Eat fermented foods- kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha are great foods to increase healthy gut bacteria.
Here’s to keeping your heart healthy.
If you or a family member needs help improving their diet, feel free to email me and book a nutrition consult. It’s a simple way to make the transition to healthier recipes and menu plans that will help you to eat and live a healthier way of life.