If your cholesterol levels are too high, it can easily become a health risk. However, not all cholesterol is bad for you and it’s important to know the difference. There are two types of cholesterol present in the body, like LDL or low density lipoprotein, and HDL or high density lipoprotein. LDL is known as the “bad” cholesterol, while HDL is referred to as the “good” cholesterol.
Where Does Cholesterol Come From?
Most cholesterol in your body comes from fat sources, carbohydrates and proteins that are processed by your liver; some cholesterol also comes from animal proteins. Your food gets broken down in your digestive system, where fats are absorbed in your intestines. Cholesterol is then taken up by your lymphatic system, which transports it into your blood stream. From here, they are carried to your liver and absorbed into forms that your body can use, like HDL or LDL.
If you consume too much LDL or “bad” cholesterol, it can easily lead to a number of health disorders, including heart disease and a stroke. This is why it is so important to know what your cholesterol levels are. Although there are various medications available that can help lower your cholesterol levels, some people prefer to improve their health naturally, or by using various herbal products.
Herbal Treatments for Cholesterol
There are many different alternatives available to you if you want to lower your cholesterol. In general, herbal treatments are relatively safe and will help you to significantly lower your cholesterol in a healthy, natural way. Here are a few of the most popular herbal treatments for cholesterol:
- Garlic. Studies have indicated that garlic can help to decrease blood levels of total cholesterol. You can add garlic to your food, or even take garlic supplements as they are freely available. Garlic is also a natural antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory.
- Policosanol. This herb is produced from sugar cane and can reduce LDL levels in the body. Policosanol can also be found in beeswax, although studies have yet to confirm its effectiveness compared to the herb found in sugar cane.
- Artichoke Leaf. This extract can significantly reduce cholesterol levels and mainly works by limiting the synthesis of cholesterol in the body. Artichoke leaves also contain cynarin, which can speed up the flow of bile from the gallbladder, thereby reducing cholesterol levels.
- Green Tea. Green tea is a powerful antioxidant and can help to prevent the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract. Research has also shown that people who regularly drink green tea will have lower levels of cholesterol in their bodies.
Making Healthy Food Choices
There are many different healthy eating habits that you can follow to reduce the levels of cholesterol in your body; one option is to consume more plant sterols. Plant sterols refer to certain parts of a plant membrane that resemble the chemical structure of cholesterol in humans and they are naturally present in small quantities in fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. They can help to reduce the level of LDL cholesterol in your body and help you improve your overall health.
It’s a good idea to have your cholesterol levels checked a few times a year, especially if you haven’t been following a healthy diet in recent years. Luckily, cholesterol is something that you can change by making healthier lifestyle choices and using some of the herbal treatments described above.