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Foods to eat to lower your cholesterol levels naturally

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(NaturalNews) Due to poor dietary and lifestyle habits, virtually every other person has an unhealthy cholesterol profile these days. While there are specific natural remedies and supplements which have been proven to reduce cholesterol levels, the simplest way to go about remedying this condition is by consuming cholesterol-lowering foods in your daily diet.

Generally speaking, foods high in fiber have cholesterol-lowering effects. That includes fresh fruits, vegetables and beans. There are specific foods, though, which could do an even better job at cutting cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol-lowering fiber

Oat bran is an excellent source of soluble fiber, which combines with cholesterol in the digestive tract and removes it from the body. Consuming three-quarter cups of cooked oat bran cereal daily can decrease cholesterol levels by 10 percent, suggested Amy Rothenberg, ND.

Carrots contain a fiber called pectin which helps to lower cholesterol levels. Scottish research found that daily consumption of two carrots over a three-week period reduced cholesterol levels by 10-20 percent.

Apples and the white inner layer of citrus rinds are other good sources of pectin.

Beans are high-fiber and low-fat foods, an excellent combination for cutting cholesterol. Plus, they contain lecithin too (see below). Lentils and kidney beans are two examples.

Other cholesterol-lowering effects

• Research has shown the ability of garlic and onions to reduce cholesterol levels. In fact, numerous studies have suggested that as little as one clove of garlic or half an onion each day could lower total cholesterol levels by up to 15 percent in most individuals. In Europe, garlic is actually an approved remedy for cardiovascular ailments, in particular high cholesterol. What is fantastic is that these foods also provide blood pressure-lowering, pathogen-fighting and immune-boosting benefits. Cook with them as much as you can, or eat them chopped and raw.

• Further, many studies have revealed the ability of ginger to cut cholesterol levels. Ginger is also an excellent digestive aid, circulation booster and nausea reliever.

• Animal research has suggested that eggplant could help lower cholesterol levels. Not only were their cholesterol levels in the blood, artery walls and aortas all significantly lowered, the blood vessel walls of the animals also relaxed, improving their blood flow. A compound in eggplant called nasunin also helps to prevent blood cholesterol from turning into a highly reactive toxic form, where it could cause further damage to the cardiovascular system.

Artichoke contains compounds which have a choleretic effect, i.e. they promote fat and bile flow to and from the liver. And choleretics usually also reduce cholesterol levels because they boost the excretion of cholesterol and lower the liver's manufacture of cholesterol. Indeed, studies have revealed the ability of artichoke leaf extract to lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. One clinical trial also showed the ability of artichoke extract to improve endothelial function, thereby helping to protect against atherosclerosis.

Sesame seeds are particularly high in phytosterols, compounds found in plants which enter the bloodstream and push out some of the cholesterol in there.

Walnuts are a good source of alpha-linolenic acid, which could help reduce cholesterol levels, according to Kitty Gurkin Rosati, a registered dietician. Olive oil, flaxseed oil and purslane are other possible sources of this healthy fat.

Shiitake mushrooms contain a compound called lentinan which could have cholesterol-reducing properties. In addition, it also exhibits immune-boosting, antiviral and anti-tumor effects.

• Lecithin granules contain a compound that helps to liquefy cholesterol in the body, preventing it from forming plaque in the arteries. A tablespoon can be eaten daily with cereal or added to your smoothies.

A holistic wellness practitioner discusses lowering cholesterol naturally here.

Sources for this article include:

Duke, James A., PhD. The Green Pharmacy. New York, NY: Rodale, 1997. Print.

Murray, Michael, ND., Pizzorno, Joseph, ND., and Pizzorno, Lara, MA, LMT. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books, 2005. Print.

Duke, James A., PhD. The Green Pharmacy. New York, NY: Rodale, 1997. Print.

About the author:
Reuben Chow has a keen interest in natural health and healing as well as personal growth.

Subscribe to his natural health newsletter or follow his health websites on Facebook.

His main health websites Insights on Health and All 4 Natural Health focus on being healthy naturally, while his other health websites cover topics such as cancer, depression, holistic depression help, as well as omega 3 fatty acids. He also owns self improvement and inspirational websites like Inspiration 4 Living, allinspiration.com, Life Changing Quotes, and 101 Inspirational Ideas. Through his network of sites at The Journey of Life, he hopes to help improve people's lives.

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