Several Herbal and alternative therapy treatments are claimed to lower cholesterol levels. Only few natural products have been actually proven in scientific studies to reduce cholesterol.
By H.S. Nemr
In this article we will explore the role of Ginger, Cholestin, and other everyday dietary approaches such as consumption of dietary fiber rich foods, soy rich foods, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Before you add any supplements or alternative therapies to your diet, talk to your health care provider. Keep in mind that some supplements may interact with other medications you’re taking or have the potential for serious side effects.
Garlic, or Allium sativum, is one of the most extensively researched medicinal plants. Here’s an extensive look at the wonders of garlic.
Ginger, Rice, and Spice?
Red yeast rice was marketed as the over the counter supplement Cholestin. In 2001 this supplement was taken off shelves due to safety concerns and was later re-introduced into the market as a reformulated Cholestin which no longer contained extracts from Red yeast rice. Clinical data is conflicting regarding the efficacy and safety of Red yeast rice extracts. The FDA does not allow its promotion for lowering cholesterol, however it is still extensively utilized in Chinese folk and herbal therapy.
Ginger is a widely used culinary spice. Recent clinical studies focused on its claimed use for the prevention and management of nausea as well as lowering cholesterol. However, information to validate its effects are still limited.
Other herbals and spices such as fenugreek seeds turmeric, and rosemary are being investigated as cholesterol lowering agents, however, information to validate these effects are still limited.
Can everyday dietary approaches lower cholesterol?
Consumption of dietary fiber rich foods and soy containing foods may help in reducing LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels. Examples of fiber rich foods include: Unrefined grains, oat bran, barley, psyllium seeds, flax seed, apples, citrus fruits, lentils, beans and other vegetables and fruits.
Eating a handful of raw or baked nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, and pistachios can provide you with a good source of fibers, reduce cholesterol, as well as the risk of heart disease.
If you suffer from a high level of Triglycerides, eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may also help reduce heart disease and lower your triglycerides. Salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, sardines, flax seed, and walnuts are natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Supplement sources include fish oil capsules, flaxseed and flax seed oil. Discuss with your health care provider if omega-3 fatty acid supplements are right for you, especially if you use blood-thinning medications such as Coumadin (Warfarin) or Xarelto (Rivaroxaban).
H.S. Nemr is a graduate of BAU pharmacy school. He is currently a medication safety officer at Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare system.
- Professional’s Handbook of Complementary Alternative Medicines, 2nd edition.
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