High cholesterol: Eating this herb every day for three months could lower your cholesterol
Cholesterol – a waxy substance found in your blood – can be both beneficial and harmful to your body. Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. This is because high cholesterol causes fatty deposits to develop in your blood vessels.
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Eventually, these deposits grow, making it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries.
As Mayo Clinic explains, sometimes, those deposits can break suddenly and form a clot that causes a heart attack or stroke.
High cholesterol can be inherited, but it’s often the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices so managing it is largely in your hands.
Fortunately, certain dietary items have been shown to offer a bulwark against high cholesterol.
One item that has been promoted for its ability to lower high cholesterol is garlic.
One study found that garlic lowers cholesterol when eaten regularly.
In fact, eating just one garlic clove per day for three months is enough to lower total cholesterol by nine percent, research shows.
The heart-healthy benefits of garlic
Research investigating the heart-healthy properties of herbs and spices such as garlic show that they contain antioxidants that prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing (a chemical reaction that takes place in the body) – reducing the formation of plaques within your arteries.
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LDL cholesterol is known as “bad” cholesterol because it builds up in the walls of your arteries, making them hard and narrow.
Even though herbs and spices are not typically eaten in large quantities, they can contribute significantly to the total amount of antioxidants consumed each day.
Antioxidants are compounds that are thought to play a role in protecting against heart disease.
Research shows that dried oregano, sage, mint, thyme, clove, allspice and cinnamon contain some of the highest numbers of antioxidants, as well as fresh herbs such as oregano, marjoram, dill and cilantro.
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General dietary tips for lowering cholesterol
To reduce your cholesterol, try to cut down on fatty food, especially food that contains a type of fat called saturated fat, says the NHS.
You can still have foods that contain a healthier type of fat called unsaturated fat.
Try to eat more:
- Oily fish, like mackerel and salmon
- Brown rice, bread and pasta
- Nuts and seeds
Fruits and vegetables
Try to eat less:
- Meat pies, sausages and fatty meat
- Butter, lard and ghee
- Cream and hard cheese, like cheddar
- Cakes and biscuits
- Food that contains coconut oil or palm oil
Exercise can also lower your cholesterol.
In fact, moderate physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol, explains Mayo Clinic.
HDL cholesterol counters the harmful effects of LDL cholesterol by picking up the harmful substance and transporting it to the liver where it is flushed out.
For optimal results, the NHS says to do at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of exercise a week.
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