Should You Lower Your Cholesterol?
Understanding how to lower your cholesterol is a topic of interest for many people, as there’s a popular belief that elevated cholesterol levels are an indicator of heart risk disease.
Dr. Jordan Rubin, of Dr.Axe.com, believes differently.
‘HDL – high-density lipoprotein – has been deemed as good cholesterol. It is very beneficial to the body, and you want to achieve a good ratio between HDL and LDL,’ he states.
In his own case, Dr. Rubin had a decent cholesterol level but decided as an experiment to go on a diet loaded with saturated fat in order to increase his cholesterol levels. He was ingesting full sticks of butter a day in an effort to increase his cholesterol levels and monitor the effect on his body.
However, his total cholesterol level actually went down, even as his high-density lipoprotein levels went up to around 40%, through eating 12 eggs a day alongside the butter sticks.
Dr. Rubin believes many people are on statin drugs who do not truly need to be, and that these drugs cause side effects on musculature systems, as well as energy levels, sexual function, and the production of testosterone in men.
Cholesterol is the building block of hormones, containing ingredients our body needs to function. Elevated cholesterol levels are also often hereditary and can be received through genetics.
Dr. Rubin believes that high HDL levels can be one of the best things possible for your system. He believes that dietary cholesterol does not raise cholesterol, which has been proven after the egg-white craze of the 90s and 2000s when many people steered clear of ingesting egg yolks because they believed their cholesterol levels would spike. In fact, egg yolks are good for you!
Modern versions of the cavemen diet – often taking the form of a paleo diet, a low-carb diet, or a ketogenic diet – are proving this time and again as well.
In order to raise your HDL levels and decrease your LDL levels, there are 12 cholesterol-lowering foods which will be able to naturally assist in reaching healthy levels within your body.
With tens of millions of people on unnecessary cholesterol medications and many at risk of heart disease as a result of these medications, looking to natural foods as an alternative could result in dramatic increases in quality of life for many people facing these crucial health decisions.
The Top 12 Natural Foods For Improving Cholesterol Levels
Many members of the vegetable family are full of fiber. Fiber works to soak up certain fats in the diet which can affect cholesterol levels in a debilitating way. The antioxidants in colored vegetables are amazingly effective. By looking for color in the vegetables you eat, you can add natural antioxidants into your everyday diet – just check out the color of tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers to see the evidence of their antioxidant ingredients.
Green vegetables as well are a powerful source of health benefits.
Sprouts and fermented vegetables are also a good source of help for your body, as the probiotics they include work to lower cholesterol, bringing your levels into balance.
The first step in eating to reduce your cholesterol levels: eat more vegetables!
The second top cholesterol-lowering food is nuts. Traditional thinking may find it strange to suggest a source of fat (nuts are high in fat) will assist with lowering cholesterol, but recent studies have discovered that monounsaturated fats are effective in reducing high cholesterol levels.
Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts and academia nuts are all high in monounsaturated fats and fiber. Almonds, as well, contain antioxidants if they are not blanched and the skin is not removed. Nuts are also a great source of energy as they keep you full throughout the day, so keep a handful nearby as you go about your day and enjoy the energy boost and satiety they provide!
3. Chia and Flax
The third most effective food type for reducing your cholesterol levels are chia seeds and flax seeds.
Dr. Rubin will go so far as to guarantee that if you can consume three tablespoons a day of either whole chia, ground chia, or ground flaxseed, within six weeks, you will see your cholesterol profile improve.
This is because chia and flax seeds contain good fats, ALA (a form of omega-3) and antioxidants.
Chia is also a great source of anthocyanin, which is the same antioxidant you find in blueberries and in fiber.
Chia seeds and flax seeds are loaded with fiber, at a total of 20% of their weight. By ingesting three tablespoons a day, you’ll be receiving three to four grams of fiber.
There are many ways to add these seeds to your daily meals. Both work well in smoothies, and chia pudding (made out of a combination of chia seeds and coconut milk) is also a delicious and healthy breakfast alternative.
4. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a great source of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. To gain the most benefits from olive oil, look for the most unrefined extra virgin olive oil you can purchase.
The water-soluble and fat-soluble olive polyphenols antioxidants are a powerful source of goodness for your body.
Olive oil also contains omega-9 and polyphonic antioxidants. It’s the star of the Mediterranean diet, which has proven its ability to keep many people young and healthy for decades in comparison to a staple Western diet. Consuming olive oil is a key element to accessing these health benefits.
Avocados fight high cholesterol levels through their fiber, monounsaturated fats and high levels of Vitamin E (which is an antioxidant).
A single avocado contains the three magic elements to look for in any food: good fat, fiber, and antioxidants.
Avocados are also very versatile when it comes to including them in your daily diet. Spread them on toast, eat them in salads, as guacamole, or even add them to smoothies.
Salmon does not contain fiber but is does contain a powerful antioxidant known as astaxanthin. This is what makes wild salmon red, pink or orange.
It also includes omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, and EPA, which work to reduce inflammation within our bodies.
Cholesterol becomes an issue for hearts because certain forms of cholesterol can become oxidized or rancid within your system, causing your capillaries to have issues. However, Dr. Rubin believes cholesterol is not the culprit. However, blaming cholesterol for a heart attack or heart disease, or even blockages within arteries, is like blaming the fireman for the fire – cholesterol is there to plug the holes which occur because of diet and environment, which has led to fragility and dryness within the arteries.
Therefore, salmon helps because it’s such a great source of fats, antioxidants, Vitamin D and protein.
7. Gluten-free Whole Grains
If you do choose to include grains in your diet, it’s best to eat heirloom grains such as quinoa, amaranth, millet and buckwheat. Dark rice, such as purple rice or black rice, is also loaded with antioxidants.
Dark red quinoa is a great example of a gluten-free whole grain which supplies antioxidants, fiber, and a source of healthy fat.
Gluten-free whole grains are able to lower cholesterol due to their soluble fiber.
Oatmeal made from gluten-free whole oats is a great way to get some of these benefits into your system. By making it with coconut oil or butter, you’re also able to slow the absorption of those carbohydrates into your system. The combination of fiber and fat together makes for a healthy breakfast option.
8. Green Tea
Green tea provides huge benefits to those looking to lower cholesterol levels. Strong green tea such as jasmine, matcha, shincha (sencha) and many more are a great source of polyphenols.
These polyphenols not only lower cholesterol but also help to protect your arteries and the cholesterol you have from oxidation.
Japanese and Chinese culture sees people consuming an average of 10 cups of strong green tea a day, and the difference in their average cholesterol levels compared to those on a heavy Western diet are noticeable.
9. Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are a wonderful source of fiber. Some beans, however, are a better source than others. The darker color beans are the most useful when it comes to providing dietary tools for lowering cholesterol levels through natural foods.
Lentils and mung beans make for a great choice. Lentils are easy to digest, and mung beans are anti-inflammatory and very high in fiber.
The fiber in beans helps to lower cholesterol, but too many beans in a daily diet can also hinder absorption. Therefore, stick with the darker colors to gain the most benefits for your body.
Cashews are actually a legume, and these can be eaten in moderation. Organic peas, another legume, are also a useful source of fiber.
When looking at these natural food choices, keep in mind: it’s oxidized cholesterol that’s the issue within your body.
Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant due to the curcumin it possesses. It works to protect the heart and cells within your body.
Turmeric is a spice which can be consumed as an extract in supplements and as a tea. ‘Golden milk’ can be made by taking fresh or dried turmeric root and boiling it in almond, coconut, or even grass-fed dairy milk. Strain the turmeric out once boiled and enjoy this drink knowing it’s actively keeping your body healthy and within optimal levels. A little bit of spice such as cinnamon or some honey can be added to make this drink even more enjoyable.
Garlic, with its various sulfur compounds, is great for cholesterol. It can be consumed cooked or raw.
Fermented/aged garlic capsules have been proven to protect the body and reduce cholesterol levels – particularly LDL levels – and reduce oxidation.
Eating more garlic carries other bonuses as well, as it’s great for your immune system and is also antifungal.
Garlic is a very flexible ingredient which can be included in many staple meals, so look for ways to include it in your everyday diet through lunch and dinner options.
12. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are loaded with antioxidants, including beta-carotene. They’re high in nutrition and are a great source of fiber.
As they can be higher in starch than many of the other options on the list, it’s best to consume sweet potato with some fat in order to assist with digestion and absorption. In sweet potato’s case, it’s easy – just serve them with some butter melted over the top. They’re delicious! Ghee and coconut oil are also great options for serving this fibre source alongside a fat to aid with digestion.
Fat always helps the antioxidants increased in your body through their bioavailability.
If you’re dealing with high cholesterol levels, low HDL levels, and high LDL levels, or you know someone who is, whether or not you’re on statin drugs, these 12 food groups can help to lower your cholesterol. It’s easy to incorporate these into your everyday meals!
Consume vegetables often, as they’re high in fiber and antioxidants. Look for vegetables in all different colors to reap the most benefits.
Nuts are a great source of omega-9 fatty acids and fiber.
Consume three tablespoons of chia and flax seeds a day, and watch as your cholesterol levels are lowered in the weeks to follow.
Find the most unrefined olive oil you can and use it on your food to ingest this oil daily.
Avocados are a wonderful source of omega-9 fats, fiber, minerals, and Vitamin E
Salmon is a source of antioxidants, protein, and good omega-3 fats.
Look for dark-colored gluten-free whole grains such as quinoa, amaranth, millet, kaniwa, and black or purple rice.
Green tea is a powerful source of polyphenols – try to drink at least three cups a day.
Beans and legumes should be a staple of your everyday diet because of their fiber levels.
Turmeric is a powerful spice which will work wonders for inflammation and reducing cholesterol levels.
Garlic is a versatile food which is anti-fungal and possesses cholesterol-lowering properties.
Don’t forget sweet potatoes – great for antioxidants and delicious when served with a little bit of fat!
You’ll be amazed at how your cholesterol levels are lowered in as little as three weeks by incorporating these foods into your daily diet.
For more information on how to lower cholesterol and for some great recipes containing these natural ingredients, visit Dr.Axe.com, or the Dr. Axe Facebook page or Youtube Channel.