Recent cholesterol guidelines are recommending that most people aim for an LDL cholesterol level of 70 or lower. That's down from the previous suggestion of 100. And of course, the number one recommended way to lower your cholesterol, according to the popular press and pharmaceutical companies, is to take statin drugs. The more you take the better, they seem to be saying, and if your cholesterol isn't low enough yet, it simply means you need to take more statin drugs. And by the way, you're supposed to be taking these statin drugs for the rest of your life, as many physicians have now ridiculously sworn to do.
But let's get back to reality for a second here -- high cholesterol is not caused by a lack of statin drugs. High cholesterol is caused by lifestyle choices, such as consuming certain foods and avoiding physical exercise, and the only natural way to lower cholesterol also happens to be a completely cost-free way to do so: by changing the foods you purchase and consume and by engaging in regular physical exercise. Doing so will cause your cholesterol levels to plummet on their own, without needing dangerous prescription drugs.
The information I'll share with you here is exactly what I followed to achieve an LDL cholesterol of 67 and HDL cholesterol of 62. Of course, I wouldn't touch prescription drugs. These results were achieved through nothing but nutrition, superfoods and physical exercise.
There is little doubt that the recent guidelines about lowering cholesterol were timed to coincide with the recent marketing push for highly-profitable statin drugs; in fact, six of the nine board members who issued the cholesterol-lowering guidelines have financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture these drugs, and yet they failed to disclose these financial ties in their report, violating ethical practices in medicine.
Good doctors will tell people with high cholesterol to alter their lifestyle first. They will ask them about what they're eating and how much exercise they're getting, and recommend that they change foods to consume fewer cholesterol-raising foods and greater quantities of cholesterol-lowering foods. They will also recommend that their patients engage in frequent cardiovascular exercise, which of course has a positive impact on cholesterol.
Statin drugs should be the last resort, or a temporary treatment if used at all. They can help give the patient temporary assistance while they make lifestyle changes that will bring cholesterol back into balance on their own. But a lifetime on statin drugs is not a healthy strategy. Clearly the human body was not designed to survive on a daily intake of prescription drugs. So how do you actually lower your cholesterol for free? What's the nitty-gritty of the advice here? Let's get down to it.
First thing to do is remove foods from your diet that are causing high cholesterol in the first place. There are two ingredients to watch out for here. Number one is hydrogenated oils, also known as partially hydrogenated oils. These oils are found in most margarine products and virtually all baked goods such as cookies, crackers, pastries, and so on. They're even found in many salad dressings and soups, believe it or not. You actually have to read the ingredients labels and make sure you aren't ingesting hydrogenated oils.
It is the hydrogenation of these oils that makes them toxic to the human body. They belong to a class of ingredients known as metabolic disruptors. This is a class of ingredients that interferes with normal human metabolism and includes ingredients like sodium nitrite, MSG, aspartame, and white flour.
The second ingredient to avoid if you want to keep your cholesterol down is saturated animal fat -- the animal fat found in beef and other red meats. Certainly you don't want to be eating lard or anything cooked with lard, and you want to consider limiting or completely avoid consuming red meat.
Other foods that will raise your bad cholesterol level include foods made with unhealthy or cheap oils such as soybean oil. There's nothing really wrong with soybean oil, it's just that it's not especially healthy, and it's one of the cheapest oils out there, so most people get far too much of it and not enough of the healthy oils. But we'll talk about the good fats in a minute.
Finally, avoid processed foods. That includes any food that is manufactured and comes in a pretty package. Virtually all processed foods are unhealthy foods, and the more a food has been processed and perverted from its original, natural form, the less healthy it's going to be, and the more likely it will raise your LDL cholesterol.
Now let's talk about foods you can eat that will lower your LDL cholesterol and raise your HDL cholesterol. These include the healthy oils, sometimes called the "good fats" -- items such as omega-3 oils, found in flaxseeds. You can also get healthy oils by consuming extra-virgin olive oil, extra-virgin coconut oil, or by eating nuts like macadamias, pecans, cashews, and peanuts. Even peanut oil is quite healthy for you, as long as you're not buying peanut butter made with hydrogenated oils, as most peanut butter products are. Look for the Adams brand peanut butter. It's the one where the oil has separated from the rest of the peanut butter, and that's how you know it has no hydrogenated oils.
Beyond the healthy fats, there are also a variety of groceries that can help you lower your cholesterol levels, such as garlic, ginger, onions, and basically any fruits and vegetables that are not processed or overcooked. Whole grains, such as kamut, pearled barley, whole grain oats, or wheat berries can also help reduce cholesterol by giving you extra fiber that interferes with the absorption of cholesterol-promoting fats.
Moving on to the supplementation side, there are a great number of nutritional supplements that can help you lower cholesterol naturally without using drugs. One such nutritional supplement is red yeast rice, an item that has been oppressed by the FDA. In fact, the FDA has attempted to outlaw and regulate this substance, claiming it is a drug because it lowers cholesterol so effectively. In fact, red yeast rice was found to be more effective than statin drugs in lowering cholesterol, and of course the FDA can't stand for anything in the natural market to work so well, so they have to do their best to wipe it out, or at least make it illegal to sell to consumers. Garlic is another popular supplement with well-documented cholesterol-lowering effects. In addition to eating garlic as part of your diet, you can take garlic supplements that will further accelerate your cholesterol decline.
Superfoods are also extremely helpful for lowering high cholesterol and enhancing your overall body health. I talk quite a bit about superfoods. These are items that I personally consume on a daily basis and that I strongly recommend to others. Of course, my own LDL cholesterol is considered extraordinarily low (67), so I do know what I'm talking about here. My favorite superfoods include chlorella, spirulina, sea vegetables, soy products such as soy milk, soy cheese, or tofu, any sprouts, such as wheat grass, broccoli sprouts, barley grass or clover sprouts, and also the supergrains such as quinoa, millet, and kamut. In addition, I recommend organic, whole-food vitamin supplements -- supplements that are made exclusively from whole-food sources and not from isolated chemical vitamins, as well as coral calcium, which is an outstanding source of not only calcium, but also magnesium, zinc, and trace minerals from the ocean.
Just in case this hasn't been enough advice yet, let's bring in physical exercise, because regular exercise is a crucial point when considering cardiovascular health and cholesterol levels. By engaging in regular physical exercise -- that is, at least 5 hours a week -- you can dramatically reduce your bad cholesterol levels and lose weight at the same time. Of course, this probably isn't new information to you, since we all know that exercise is good for us, but few people tend to consider exercise as a cholesterol-lowering strategy. In reality, it's far more powerful than any prescription drug in existence!
If you put all of this together, you have an unbeatable strategy that actually costs you nothing. In fact, the foods mentioned here will save you so much money over the brand-name foods you might have normally been purchasing that you'll have plenty of money left over to purchase superfood supplements. For example, a pound of quinoa can be purchased for as little as three or four dollars, and yet can provide a healthy whole grain for several weeks of cooking. Fresh fruits and vegetables are extremely inexpensive compared to the high markups on manufactured foods like breakfast cereals, dinner mixes, frozen foods, and microwavable meals.
Your money will go much further when you're choosing healthy foods to begin with. And of course the exercise part of this is free of charge, or if you decide to join a gym, the monthly fees are inconsequential compared to the cost of a lifetime of addiction to prescription drugs and visits to your physician.
Now, with all that said, let me repeat that a good doctor -- that is, a doctor that is genuinely concerned with your health and who is well-informed about the relationships between nutrition and disease -- would be telling you all of this in the first place. A bad doctor, -- a doctor steeped in Western medicine and brainwashed by the pharmaceutical industry into ignoring nutrition and focusing on drugs -- would recommend little more than taking statin drugs, and would be happy to write you a couple of prescriptions and get you out of his way so he can see the next patient. It's easy to tell if you have a good doctor or a bad doctor by simply visiting him or her and asking what you should do about your high cholesterol. Their answer reveals their level of health wisdom.
In addition to good doctors and bad doctors, however, there are also good patients and bad patients. What I mean by this is demonstrated in the following example. Many people ask me how they can lower their cholesterol naturally, and when they do, I typically tell them the same thing that I've related here in this commentary. I tell them if you do all of these things, if you avoid these foods, if you take these supplements, if you eat these other foods, and if you engage in regular physical exercise, your LDL cholesterol will drop naturally and will maintain a level well below 70. They usually interrupt me at some point in this conversation and say something similar to the following: "No, what I meant was, how can I lower my cholesterol without actually doing anything?"
For those people, statin drugs are the perfect answer. You don't have to do anything but take statin drugs every day, pay the bill, and of course, run the risk of damaging other organs in your body from a lifetime of exposure to toxic prescription drugs such as statins. (These drugs are now being shown to cause birth defects, by the way...) Your sex hormone production will be disrupted, your liver function will be impaired, and your body's ability to manufacture the natural levels of cholesterol it needs to function properly will also be dramatically lowered. But if you don't want to do anything, and still desire a lower level of cholesterol, and don't care about abusing your body, then statin drugs are certainly one way to accomplish that.
The bottom line to all of this is that a good patient doesn't even need to visit a doctor to lower their own cholesterol. All they need to do is take responsibility for their health, start pursuing a lifestyle with healthy foods, outstanding nutrition, and frequent physical exercise, and then, if they were to ever visit a doctor, that doctor would simply say, "Hey, your cholesterol is perfectly normal. Good job."