The cholesterol myth has been busted, though people still argue that eating cholesterol-laden foods will cause heart disease. Either way, many argue that there are numerous other more important factors, with high-LDL foods accounting for only a portion of heart disease.
Still, for those people still trying to reduce cholesterol to prevent heart disease, it’s important to know that there are two types of cholesterol – the ‘good’ one which is HDL, and the ‘bad’ one which is LDL. Determining ways to reduce your LDL and increase your HDL could be important to the longevity of your cardiovascular system.
LDL cholesterol is the type that collects in the arteries and causes them to become clogged, causing heart attacks, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. This thick sludge-like substance makes the blood thick too, making it more difficult for it to pass through the arteries to be recycled and reoxygenated through the heart.
Cholesterol isn’t all bad though. It is a necessary, vital fat which our body utilizes for numerous functions. Some comes from what we eat and some is made by our own body via the liver. High HDL levels actually protect your heart against disease.
The following 5 substances will help to boost your HDL levels and keep your heart healthy:
- 1. Fish – Omega 3s have been shown to greatly increase HDL levels. In some studies, it was shown that eating fish may not lower LDL, but definitely raises HDL levels in order to boost cardiovascular health.
- 2. Wild Yams – This natural food has been shown to significantly raise HDL levels. Dioscorea villosa and other Dioscorea species, or wild yams, contain saponin, which are beneficial to lipid metabolism. This translates to better heart health. They also lower LDL.
- 3. Guggul – Made from the sap (gum resin) of the Commiphora mukul tree, Guggul has been used since 600 BC as a medicinal herb to help promote heart health, while containing a host of other beneficial constituents to aid in numerous bodily functions. Early clinical trials have shown that Guggul helps reduce LDL, boost levels of HDL with a substance called guggulipids.
- 4. Policosanol – These are made up of fatty alcohols, much like those just underneath the surface of the leaves of a tree (a waxy-like film) or beneath the skin of a piece of citrus fruit. The safest way to get policosanol supplements is from supplements made form bee’s wax, or non-GMO sugar cane wax. In numerous studies with thousands of participants, taking this supplement was found to boost HDL and lower LDL. There is recent ‘negative’ evidence, but much of it is supported by pharmaceutical companies who would like to boost their cholesterol-lowering drugs.
- 5. The Amino Acid, Carnitine – Taking carnitine supplements has been shown to keep the blood cleaner, and allow it to flow more easily through the vessels. Taking just 1 gram a day over 10-15 weeks significantly changed overall cholesterol levels of participants in a peer-reviewed study.
There you have it – 5 easy ways to alter cholesterol properly without taking prescription drugs.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.