For many people, cholesterol is taboo. It connotes a negative meaning. But it is needed by the body and it performs an important role in metabolism. Cholesterol is found in the body and stored in the adrenals, testes, and ovaries. It has a vital function in the body and is converted into various hormones. Cholesterol found in the liver is a precursor of the bile acids to aid in digestion especially digestion of fats. Studies provide evidence that high cholesterol levels can lead to development of many cardiovascular diseases. The reason for this is diet that are rich in saturated facts, cholesterol and calories which leads to high blood cholesterol that develops into plaque. Plaque is symptomatic of atherosclerosis. Reasons for high cholesterol are bad diet, genetics, aging and predisposed health condition.
Statins seem to be the most popular prescribed medication to control cholesterol level. However, individuals who are on Statins are vulnerable to the following side effects: Diarrhea, Constipation, Headache, Difficulty Sleeping, Flushing of the skin, Rash, Abdominal cramping or pain, Dizziness, Drowsiness, Bloating or gas, Headache, and Muscle aches, tenderness, weakness.
It doesn't come as a surprise when individuals prefer natural remedies because they do not want to feel any of these side effects. It is important though to talk with a provider before switching to natural medicine if there is an existing heart condition.
Diet seems to be the best way to lower cholesterol. Fish, plant, and nut oils are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. The Mediterranean diet maintains a healthier balance between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. It is important to consume these two fats in the proper ratio. Cold water fish (salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, tuna, herring) are also a good source of omega 3. Flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, walnuts, walnut oil, and avocados are source of plant based omegas.
Cayenne pepper and plants containing phenolic compound capsaicin help lower blood cholesterol levels. Fenugreek and Caraway are spices have cholesterol lowering properties.
Garlic and onion have been used as remedies for lowering blood pressure and general health for the cardiovascular system. Garlic help in inhibiting the synthesis of enzymes involved in plaque formation. Garlic is also has antimicrobial properties. However, its effects are lost in cooking. Onion oil is found to contain a blood pressure lowering prostaglandin.