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5 things you ought to know about CHOLESTEROL

Jennifer Edmonson, local mother of two and owner of Prampower, (usually found with a bunch of Mum’s getting back into shape in various parks locally) shares information about how to reduce your levels of bad cholesterol.

  1. Cholesterol is vital for the body to function. It is produced in the liver, but production decreases when we eat cholesterol rich food and is increased when we do not. Cholesterol is necessary to produce Vit D, muscle building and reproductive hormones and bile salts. It is also a component of cell membranes.
  2. Cholesterol is fatty and does not mix with blood, so it is transported around the body in one of 2 protein ‘wrappers’ called lipoproteins. High Density Lipoproteins (HDL’s) are known as good cholesterol as they mop up excess cholesterol and transport it back to the liver for disposal. Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL’s) also has an important job as it transports cholesterol and fat away from the liver to the rest of the body for use.
  3. Cholesterol gets a bad rap as excess LDL gets laid down in the linings of blood vessels if there is more than the body requires in the system. This causes narrowing of artery walls, which leads to excess work for the heart as it tries to pump blood around our bodies through smaller tubes! Hey presto – heart attack.
  4. Cholesterol levels can be managed by almost EVERYONE via nutrition and lifestyle changes – no statins required! However, because drugs are a quick fix (people are not willing to work at improving their health) and the pharmaceutical industry are getting extremely ‘fat’ (bank accounts), there is little support for the drug free route.

Here are 10 top ways to naturally reduce your cholesterol levels.

  1. Get and stay lean – if you look fat, you are fat and chances are you will have high cholesterol. When body fat decreases, so does cholesterol.
  2. So many foods have cholesterol lowering properties – eat 10 portions of fruit & veg a day. (Throw 5 in a smoothie for breakfast, and you’re half way there!)
  3. Eat WHOLE GRAINS every day. Dietary fibre binds to bile salts in small intestines and promotes their elimination. Cholesterol is required to make new bile salts, which means more cholesterol is used for this purpose and reduced in the blood stream!
  4. Eat more legumes – high in dietary fibre (see above!)
  5. Eat more nuts (raw) seriously cholesterol lowering.
  6. Eat or supplement Omega 3’s. Several studies indicate reduced LDL.
  7. Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. This is one of the few ways to increase HDL
  8. Eat lots of herbs and spices. Ginger aids circulation and cumin blocks cholesterol uptake in the gut. Flavonoid rich chocolate also helps decrease LDL’s
  9. Limit ‘factory raised’ meat, processed foods, trans fat and dairy – nuff said! However, eggs are good, not seen to have a negative effect on blood cholesterol levels.
  10. Drink 4 cups of tea or low caffeine coffee a day. Tea can reduce artery plaque and improve blood vessel function.

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