Natural Treatments for High Cholesterol

By Dr. Mao Shing Ni

 

HIGH BLOOD CHOLESTEROL, OR hypercholesterolemia, is a condition in which elevated levels of cholesterol are present in the blood. It is not a disease but a metabolic high cholesterol foodsdysfunction, which means that it can contribute to many other serious diseases - most notably by affecting the heart and cardiovascular system, resulting in conditions including angina, heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). There are two types of cholesterol: high density lipoprotein (HDL), the good cholesterol that protects against heart disease, and low density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol that contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries. Although there are no outward symptoms of elevated cholesterol, it slowly clogs up the arteries and its impact can be devastating over time. Aside from a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol, the most common causes of elevated cholesterol are diet and lifestyle.

 

Chinese medicine recognizes that diet and emotions play a key role in high cholesterol. Cholesterol is viewed as a result of the accumulation of dampness and mucus as a result of impaired function of the digestive system, most notably of the spleen, stomach, liver, and pancreas. Western medicine similarly recognizes that cholesterol is either consumed and absorbed through the digestive tract or produced by the liver. Metabolic and hormonal conditions like diabetes and menopause can also contribute to elevated cholesterol levels. With a correct diagnosis and treatment with acupuncture, herbs, diet, and exercise, I’ve helped many patients reduce their blood cholesterol levels.

 

A woman recently came in with a cholesterol reading of 405. Her HDL was 56, her LDL was 349, and her triglyceride reading was 312. She was forty-eight years old and experiencing menopausal symptoms- she had missed her period for the previous four months and had gained weight around her belly. Upon close examination, she also showed signs of insulin resistance. Her cells were not responding to insulin, thereby allowing glucose to build up in her blood, and much of it was converted to fat storage in her belly. I called her internist and we put together a comprehensive program including a high-fiber and low-cholesterol diet, daily cardiovascular exercise, and acupuncture and herbal therapies to balance her digestive and hormonal functions. She agreed to go on statin drugs, which block cholesterol production by the liver, for two months. She had an ultrasound taken of the carotid arteries in her neck and a calcium plaque scoring CT scan of her heart to see if any plaque had built up. To her relief, both scans were clear.

 

After two months her cholesterol dropped to 252 and her HDL/LDL/triglyceride levels improved, although they weren’t yet in normal range. However, the level of liver enzymes in her blood was rising- a potential side effect of the statin drug- so her internist took her off the drug. We continued with the dietary and lifestyle regimen and the Eastern medical therapies. Three months later, her cholesterol had dropped to 178 with the HDL at 97 and LDL at 81. As a nice bonus, her period came back and she lost twenty-three pounds. She has remained off the medication and continues to be vigilant about diet and exercise. Here are some of my favorite home remedies to help lower cholesterol and maintain good cardiovascular health. Always work with your physician to formulate a holistic program for healthy cholesterol.

 

Related conditions: high blood pressure, arterial plaque, diabetes, obesity, inflammation

 

 

 

DIET FOR HIGH CHOLESTEROL

  1. Eat wholesome foods containing no preservatives, additives, pesticides. Eat smaller meals more frequently. Favor leafy green vegetables, whole grains, celery, tofu, spinach, garlic, sunflower seeds, mung beans, bamboo shoots,diet for high cholesterol oats, barley, rye, legumes (peas, beans), apples, prunes, blueberries, carrots, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, yams, buckwheat, jellyfish (soak and cook), watermelon, hawthorn berries (make tea), eggplant, mushrooms, lemons, lotus root, chrysanthemum flowers and cassia seeds (make tea), pearl barley, peach kernels (eat raw like nuts), ginger, sprouted vegetables, wheat bran, and green tea. Various spices, including fennel, oregano, black pepper, basil, and tarragon, have active ingredients beneficial for lowering cholesterol.
  2. Avoid deep-fried, fatty foods, simple carbohydrates including sugars and white flour, sodium, MSG and other preservatives, trans fats, and saturated fats. Coffee and tobacco should be avoided. Cheeses and aged cured meats should also be avoided, as they promote plaque buildup.

 

 

 

HOME REMEDIES FOR HIGH CHOLESTEROL

  1. Eating 3 apples to lower cholesterolapples a day for 3 months can lower your cholesterol by at least 20 points, according to a Finnish study on nutrition and heart disease.
  2. Eat homemade orange marmalade, including the rind, to lower LDL cholesterol. A USDA study has shown that compounds called polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs), found in the pigment of orange and tangerine peel can work to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) without altering the level of good cholesterol (HDL).
  3. Drinking 1 cup of green or black tea daily may lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

 

 

 

DAILY VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS FOR HIGH CHOLESTEROL

  1. Coenzyme Q10 (50 milligrams) increases oxygen supply to the heart muscle. vitamins for high cholesterolStatin drugs can block the production of coenzyme Q10 in the body and cause muscle pain, so supplementation is a must.
  2. Taking beta carotene (1,000 milligrams) supplements can help reduce the incidence of coronary and vascular events.
  3. •Taking folic acid (400 micrograms) can improve blood flow to the capillaries, feeding the heart muscle.
  4. Supplementing with soluble fiber can help absorb and excrete excess fat from the digestive tract, and thereby reduce cholesterol absorption.
  5. Supplementing with red yeast rice (1,200 milligrams) can help lower cholesterol, its action being similar to that of statin drugs.

 

 

 

HERBAL THERAPY FOR HIGH CHOLESTEROL

Herbs can be found in health food or vitamin stores, online, and at the offices of Chinese medicine practitioners. Herbs should be used according to individual needs; consult with a licensed practitioner for a customized formulation. To learn more about the herbs listed here, go to www.askdrmao.com.

  1. Taking artichoke leaf extract can help lower cholesterol.
  2. Internal Cleanse Tea for high cholesterolWhite willow bark, which aspirin is derived from, helps prevent abnormal clumping and clotting of blood platelets.
  3. Drink 3 cups of Internal Cleanse Tea a day. This tea contains chrysanthemum, hawthorn, cassia, lotus, mulberry, and peppermint, traditional Chinese herbs that help support healthy cholesterol.

 

 

 

EXERCISE FOR HIGH CHOLESTEROL

Physical exercise is essential for promoting circulation and strengthening heart function. Sedentary life inhibits circulation. A good way to reduce cholesterol and to stimulate circulation is to do moderate cardiovascular exercise every day for at least 30 minutes.

I suggest walking briskly (3 to 4 miles per hour), general calisthenics, racket sports such as table tennis, swimming (with moderate effort), cycling (at a moderate speed of 10 miles per hour or less), canoeing, or rowing (at a speed of about 2 to 4 miles per hour).

 

I also recommend a simple walking exercise called Merry-Go-Around Circle Walk for people with health conditions that preclude them from exercising vigorously.

  1. In a quiet outdoor setting- a park or yard- find a tree with at least five feet of clear space around the trunk in all directions. If you were to draw a circle around the tree, its diameter would be around 10 to 12 feet, though larger or smaller circles are also fine. Perform the following walking exercise for 15 minutes twice a day.
  2. First, walk clockwise around the tree, and with each completed circle, change the position of your arms by slightly raising or lowering your hands in front or at the sides of your trunk.
  3. Halfway through, reverse the circles, walking counterclockwise around the tree, and again, with each completed circle, change the position of your arms by slightly raising or lowering your hands in front or at the sides of your trunk.

 

 

 

SELF ACUPRESSURE FOR HIGH CHOLESTEROL

Find the Acupressure point for high cholesterol-ST-36acupoint Foot Three Miles (ST-36), four fingerwidths below the kneecap on the right leg.

Apply moderate pressure with your right thumb until you feel soreness.

Hold for 5 minutes. Repeat on the left leg. This is traditionally used to improve digestion and the metabolism of fats.

 

 

 

HIGH CHOLESTEROL: WHAT TO AVOID

  1. Sedentary life and stress, as they not only increase risk of high cholesterol and heart problems but also cause other disorders such as obesity and diabetes, thereby complicating the condition.
  2. Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke, as they increase the risk for developing heart disease.

 

 

 

©2015 Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Read Secrets of Self-Healing: Harness Nature's Power to Heal Common Ailments ... By Maoshing Ni

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