INTRODUCTION

Elevated serum cholesterol is clearly associated with a high risk of heart disease. Most doctors suggest cholesterol levels
should stay under 200 mg/dl or even below 180 mg/dl. Medical laboratories divide total cholesterol measurement into
several components: LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol and total serum cholesterol. The LDL cholesterol is
directly linked to heart disease and the HDL cholesterol is protective. To have a good health, we must have an
acceptable level of cholesterol. There are two sources for cholesterol in our body - our body (biosynthesis) and food. To
control how fast (or how much) our body synthesizes cholesterol, we pretty much need to take medicines. But medicine
always comes with side effects. No matter if we are in disease conditions or not, our cholesterol levels must be in the
acceptable range. The following section is a summary of foods that may push up our cholesterol levels and foods that
may help us to lower our cholesterol levels.
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FOOD PUSHING UP OUR CHOLESTEROL LEVELS (AND/OR REDUCING OUR GOOD CHOLESTEROLS)

Beef, pork, veal, poultry, cheese, butter, egg, ice cream and all other forms of dairy products not labeled "fat free"
contain large amount of saturated fat [1-3]. Palm and coconut oils contain small amounts of saturated fat. Overall, they
have been reported to elevate cholesterol [4-14]. In addition, drinking boiled or French press coffee and stress increases
cholesterol levels [15, 16]. Eating sugar may reduce protective HDL cholesterol (Good Cholesterol) [17-18].

People with high cholesterol are commonly advised to reduce their consumption of dietary cholesterol and saturated fats.
However,
some people who significantly reduce intake of animal fats for months but do not see a reduction in
cholesterol levels
[19]. Then, Cholesterol-lowering medications, such as bile acid sequestrants, HMG-CoA reductase
inhibitors are often prescribed.
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FOOD MAY HELP LOWER OUR CHOLESTEROL

They include yogurt, acidophilus milk, kefir, fiber-beans, oats, psyllium seed, glucomannan and fruit pectin, flaxseed, soy
products, olive oil, garlic, fish, alcohol (moderate consumption) and nuts such as almonds and walnuts [20-57, 59, 60].
Exercise including
walking and weight loss can also improve your cholesterol profiles [58, 61-64].
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Herbs AND SUPPLEMENTS

Some supplements, herbs, foods, naturally occurring chemicals have been shown in studies that they may help lower the
cholesterol levels. Here are 10 of them:
Non-medical approach for improving cholesterol profiles

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lipoproteins in overweight
Supplements /
Herbs / Foods
Highlights
Pcynogenol
An extract from the bark of French Maritime Pine trees growing in the Landes Forest of
southwestern France. In a study, researchers from UC Davis, found that Pycnogenol
significantly reduced LDL-cholesterol levels and increased HDL-cholesterol levels.
Policosanol
A mixture of primary aliphatic alcohols-tetracosanol, hexacosanol, heptacosanol,
octacosanol, nonacosanol, triacontanol, dotriacontanol and tetratriacontanol. Most
clinical trials on policosanol suggest policosanol may decrease cholesterol levels.
Grape Seed Extract
Grape seed and skin contain flavonoids, polyphenols, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins,
procyanidines, and the stilbene derivative resveratrol. In a study, a combination of chromium
polynicotinate and grape seed extract significantly lower bad cholesterol, when compared to
placebo.
Rhubarb
A relative of buckwheat. Rhubarb stalk fibre has been shown to be hypolipidaemic under
clinical and experimental conditions.
Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil is an oil extracted from cod livers. In experiments, researchers successfully
decreased serum cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides in18
normolipemic pigs with cod liver oil.
Red Yeast Rice
Red yeast rice may benefit people at risk of high cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis. A
clinical study shows that ingestion of a red yeast rice extract led to a reduction of lipid profile
within 2 weeks.
Cinnamon
Cinnamon, an ancient spice, is regarded as the bark of the Cinnamomum zeylanicum tree. In
a study, patients with diabetes type 2 consumed cinnamon for 40 days, reduced mean
fasting serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol (12-26%) levels.
Fenugreek
Fenugreek seeds are a rich source of galactomannan, and a study shows supplementation
of fenugreek leaves lowered the lipid profile in diabetic animals.
Alfalfa
Alfalfa sprout is one of the popular natural foods. Alfalfa may benefit people at risk of high
cholesterol levels. It seems that its benefit arises from its ability to prevent cholesterol
absorption in the gut.
Astragulus
Astragalus polysaccharide significantly lowered plasma total cholesterol by 45.8%,
triglycerides by 30%, and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol by 47.4%, comparable to
simvastatin.