When you begin to make lifestyle changes to lower blood cholesterol, your goal is to improve your health. However, cholesterol-lowering medications can sometimes cause side effects that you might find as unwanted as high cholesterol. Try some natural remedies first and get lower LDL cholesterol without the other problems.
Statins are the most-commonly prescribed medication for lowering blood cholesterol, but blueberries work even better than statins. Plus, they are delicious. Blueberries also provide you with plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Whole Grains, Nuts and Legumes
Start your morning with a bowl of oatmeal and you’re doing one of the best things you can do for lowering your cholesterol. Whole-grain cereals also have no cholesterol but they have fiber, which can help the body rid itself of cholesterol. Eat cereals with low-fat or fat-free milk to avoid adding more cholesterol to your breakfast. Peanuts, almonds, beans and lentils will also help lower your LDL cholesterol.
Green tea has been shown to help prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing in the arteries and turning into plaque. A University of Hong Kong study looked at the effect of various Chinese teas (jasmine, Iron Buddha, Pu-erh, oolong and green tea) on the body. It found that jasmine and green tea significantly lower cholesterol levels in the blood and liver. Green tea has no side effects and is well tolerated by most people.
A 2003 study in China and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that daily tea extracts could reduce cholesterol by up to 16 percent. The human study involved patients taking one tea extract capsule (equivalent to 35 cups of black tea) each day. The pills were taken for 12 weeks.
Red Yeast Rice
Red yeast rice comes from a fungus that grows on rice and contains compounds that slow production of cholesterol in the liver. The reason is that one of the compounds is monacolin K, a natural form of lovastatin. Red yeast rice acts as a low dose of lovastatin. Some researchers believe there are other cholesterol-lowering factors in the rice that haven’t been discovered yet. A study published in the June 15, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American College of Physicians looked at 62 patients who experienced muscle pain while taking statins, a class of drugs often prescribed to lower cholesterol. Instead of medication, half of the patients were given 1,800 mg of red yeast rice daily for 24 weeks. The other half were given a placebo. All were also exposed to what is called the Mediterranean diet, which relies heavily on whole grains and vegetables, engaged in an exercise program and practiced relaxation techniques. At the end of the study, the group on red yeast rice lowered its LDL by 35 points on average without an increase in muscle pain.