There are few natural products that have had enough research to prove they can lower cholesterol clinically.
However, many people have experienced some success with alternative treatments, and some cholesterol-lowering supplements and natural remedies may be helpful.
Before trying alternative treatments, check with a healthcare provider to determine if they are safe for you. The ingredients in some alternative therapies may interfere with certain medications or have harmful side effects.
Astragalus is an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine to support the immune system. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is considered an ‘adaptogen’. This means that it is believed to protect the body from various types of stress.
Limited studies suggest that astragalus may have some benefits for your heart. But according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), human clinical trials are of high quality
Hawthorn is a shrub related to the rose. The berries, leaves and flowers have been used for heart problems since the Roman Empire.
Some studies have shown that the plant is an effective treatment for milder forms of heart failure. However,
Hawthorn may also have negative interactions with many prescription medications and other herbs.
Flaxseed comes from the flax plant. Both flaxseed and flaxseed oil contain high levels of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This is an omega-3 fatty acid that may help lower the risk of heart disease.
Research on the benefits of flaxseed for heart health has led
Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in fish and fish oil. Salmon, tuna, lake trout, herring, sardines and other fatty fish are particularly rich sources.
Experts have long believed that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish help reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Other nutrients in fish, or a combination of those nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids, may help protect your heart. Eating one or two servings of oily fish per week can lower your chances of having a heart attack.
If you have heart disease, you may also benefit from taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements or eating other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. For example, walnuts, canola oil, and soybeans are good sources. There is stronger evidence for the benefits of eating fish with omega-3 fatty acids than taking supplements or eating other foods.
Red yeast rice is a traditional Chinese medicine and cooking ingredient. It is made by cultivating red rice with yeast.
Some red yeast rice products contain significant amounts of monacolin K. This substance is chemically identical to the active ingredient in the cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin. Red yeast rice products containing this substance
Other red yeast rice products contain little to no monacolin K. Some also contain a contaminant called citrinin. This contamination can cause kidney failure.
In many cases you do not know which products contain monacolin K or citrinine. Therefore, it is difficult to say which products will be effective or safe.
Plant sterols and stanols are substances found in many fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and other plants. Some processed foods are also fortified with plant sterols or stanols, such as fortified margarine, orange juice, or yogurt products.
Plant sterols and stanols may help lower the risk of heart disease. They help prevent your small intestine from absorbing cholesterol. This can lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol level in your blood.
Garlic is an edible bulb that has been used as a cooking ingredient and medicine for thousands of years. It can be eaten raw or cooked. It is also available in supplement form, as a capsule or tablet.
Some research suggests that garlic may help lower your blood pressure, lower your blood cholesterol levels and slow the progression of atherosclerosis, NCCIH reports.
However, as with many alternative therapies, studies have yielded results
However, an NCCIH-funded study of the safety and effectiveness of three garlic preparations found no long-term effect on blood cholesterol levels.
You can also adopt healthy lifestyle habits to control your blood cholesterol levels. For example:
- If you smoke, consider quitting.
- Maintain a healthy weight for your body type.
- Try to exercise most days of the week.
- Include more heart-healthy foods and foods rich in soluble fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Limit your consumption of foods high in saturated fats. For example, replace olive oil with butter.
- Consider eliminating trans fats from your diet.
- If you drink, make sure it’s in moderation.
- Take steps to reduce stress.
There are also several medications available to lower high cholesterol. For example, your doctor may prescribe:
Cholesterol is a type of fat in your blood. Although your body makes all the cholesterol it needs, you also get cholesterol from the foods you eat. Your genetics, age, diet, activity level, and other factors influence your risk of developing high cholesterol.
High cholesterol is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease. It increases your chance of developing heart disease and having a heart attack. It can also increase your risk of stroke. In particular, high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol increase the risk of these conditions. LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol.
If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may prescribe medications or lifestyle changes. For example, maintaining a healthy weight for your body size, exercising more, eating nutrient-dense foods, and quitting smoking can help lower your cholesterol levels.
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