High cholesterol is a major health issue that affects your heart. Whether you have a family history of high cholesterol or have been tested and discovered you have it, there are a few main ways you can approach lowering your cholesterol.
- You can change your diet to avoid fatty meats and animal fats.
- You can participate in moderate activity every day (about 30 minutes a day).
- You can use daily supplements with ingredients that support heart health.
This last option is incredibly easy and can provide quick positive results that boost your other heart-healthy efforts. Here are some of the best natural, cholesterol-lowering supplements.
Phytosterols are plant-derived compounds whose chemical structures are actually pretty similar to the chemical structures of cholesterol. When you consume phytosterols, they compete with cholesterol in your body. As a result, when phytosterols are used as supplements, they can effectively lower the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Some of the foods that are the highest in phytosterols are nuts (pistachios, macadamia nuts, etc.), corn, broccoli, lettuce, brussel sprouts, and blueberries. While eating these foods can be helpful, it’s also convenient to have them in a simple supplement that you can take every day.
First of all, what is lycopene? Lycopene is an antioxidant that protects cells. It may also sound familiar because it gives some of your favorite fruits and vegetables their red or pink color. This pigment has shown promising results in lowering bad cholesterol in the body. Several studies have been conducted on lycopene and concluded that, if taken in small doses, it can lower cholesterol by about 10%. Lycopene may also reduce blood clotting, so it’s best not to take it before surgeries.
This bioactive compound is yellow in color and is found in select plants, such as tree turmeric and goldenseal. It is used in Chinese medicine to treat a variety of conditions and helps reduce blood sugar levels, assists with weight loss, and lowers cholesterol levels. In 11 studies, it lowered LDL and even raised high-density lipoprotein (HDL). It has also been shown to reduce the risk of heart failure and is highly supportive in improving general heart health.
If lowering your cholesterol is a priority, milk thistle is a great choice. This flowering herb comes from the Mediterranean and can be used to help with diabetes, liver problems, and heart issues.
Milk thistle helps lower the amount of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) in your body, which can help you reach optimal cholesterol levels.
If you are taking medications, check with your doctor about taking milk thistle, as it can interact with your current medications. Additionally, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s important to make sure you get the thumbs up before taking it.
Japanese Knotweed Extract
This herb has been used in Japan, and worldwide, to help with a variety of health concerns. Some of those include cognitive function, gastrointestinal distress, balanced insulin levels, and of course, improving cardiovascular complications — like high cholesterol. Japanese Knotweed is known for having high levels of resveratrol, which is also found in red wine. Resveratrol can increase circulation and prevent heart disease. If you take Japanese Knotweed, you should make sure you take it in small amounts, as taking too much can cause an allergic reaction if you are sensitive to it.