Cholesterol is not a villain, actually it is essential for life and health especially for heart health. Women with low cholesterol levels (below 180) have high risk for heart disease. Statin drugs deplete Co-enzyme Q-10 a vital enzyme for muscles proper function. And since your heart is a muscle, Q10 is essential for heart health. So statins actually increase your heart risks. Remind me again: why did you want to reduce your cholesterol?
Please note here that I am not suggesting for you to stop your prescribed remedy or ignore medical advice. I’m just stressing that prophylactic measures are always better than treatment and if the disease already occur, still holistic approach and life-style changes could be of great benefit in conguction with the treatment. I’ve seen many patients who went off their medication totally -on their physician orders of course- after integrating positive health measures in their lives.
The problems with cholesterol start when it becomes oxidized thus inflames and irritates blood vessel linings. The reason behind this oxidation and the accumulation of cholesterol in our system in the first place are the one that should most importantly be addressed. And here comes the holistic approach to health and healing.
Holistic approach to a disease considers all sides of human being: body, mind, heart and soul. As firm believer that we are a whole integrated system, any deviation in one of these areas sets our system out of synch. Cholesterol may accumulate in your blood or get oxidized and starts its damage to the vessels due to un-adequate food habits, lack of physical activity, accumulated stress, need for love and affection, emotional problems, or lost spiritual connections... Drugs are aimed at treating the symptoms (or rather hiding them) so that the patient will feel more comfortable, but the reason behind these symptoms is still here not dealt with. If you stop the drug, the symtoms will soon resurface again.
Today let's deal with one area of our for sides, the body. I want to share with you some nutritional tips for heart and circulatory system health:
Your main diet should consist of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Whole grains and cereals like Oat bran, barley, beans, brown rice… are rich in fibers which regulate cholesterol absorption by the body. They are the body ‘broom’.
· Carrots are rich in carotinoids the precursor of vitamin A in the body, they are also powerful anti-oxidants that prevent arterial damage. They nutritional values are different when cooked from raw, both are needed.
· Dark leafy vegetables like dark leaves of lettuce and cabbage, rocket, spinach, collards, kale, mustard green… These are powerful antioxidants, they are also rich in B vitamins especially folic acid and rich in carotenoids, potassium and vitamin C.
· Beetroots are rich in folic acid and vitamin C. They help reduce homocysteine, an amino acid liked to many heart problems.
· Sweet potatoes and pumpkins are rich in beta carotenes, powerful anti oxidants.
· Cabbage family like white and red cabbage, Asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower...these are powerful antioxidants and anti-cancers
· Cucumbers are diuretic which helps regulate blood pressure
· Bananas are rich in potassium essential for regulating blood pressure.
· Grape fruit, quince, and citrus are rich in vitamin C and rutin. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and is shown to reduce the risks of coronary heart diseases. Rutin helps keeping the integrity of blood capillaries.
· Grapes and Raisins especially red and dark purple ones are rich in antioxidants
· Apples, when eaten with their skin, pocess powerful antioxidant effect and are helpful in reducing LDL cholesterol (commonly known as bad cholesterol) They are also rich in potassium essential for regulating blood pressure. Apples are rich source of pectin, soluble fibre that helps regulate digestion and improve fats and cholesterol metabolism.
Beans, legumes and lentils: These are rich in fibres, anti-oxidants and many valuable phytonutrients (nutrients from plant origin that help fighting variety of health problems including cancer).
Seeds and nuts (especially walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds) are rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids and vitamin E which protect arterial walls from oxidative damage, reduce inflammation and regulate cholesterol levels. They should be eaten raw and unsalted.
Blue, purple or red foods like beets, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, puple and red grapes, and purple cabbage
Probiotics: Probiotics are active bacterial cultures that help reintroduce or charge healthy intestinal bacteria (microflora) which play a great role in breaking down cholesterol so that it gets excreted from the body. Exemple of Probiotics are butter milk, and yogurt.
Prebiotics These are foods that promote the growth of normal healthful bacteria naturally existing in the human colon. Example of prebiotics: honey, vinegar, royal jelly, olive oil.
Oily fish are rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids that reduce the risk of blood clotting, inflammation and reduce LDL cholesterol.
Key herbs & spices for heart health:
Cayenne and cinnamon
Blackseed and its oil
Ummbellifera family (Fennel, cumin, coriander…)
Black pepper (not white)