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I recently had my yearly physical to make sure that all aspects of my health were well… healthy.
But guess what? The doctor thought my cholesterol levels were a tad borderline, so of course, he wanted me to jump on the statin bandwagon.
Besides the increased risk of Parkinson’s and diabetes, who wants side effects like nausea, muscle pain, vomiting, dizziness, memory loss or headaches? Or worse, dementia.
Recently, researchers found lipophilic statin users showed a substantial decline in metabolism in the posterior cingulate cortex. This is the region of the brain known to decline the most significantly in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Sure, I’m all in when it comes to keeping my cholesterol balanced, but why would I do it with drugs that cause all those side effects when I can do it naturally?
In fact, these are the six simple steps I plan to take to keep my cholesterol where I need it to be…
Cholesterol-Lowering Step #1 — Go Keto
The first step is to change your diet.
Okay, I can hear the groaning now but stick with me.
Scientific studies have proven that changing to the low carb, high fat and moderate protein way of eating embraced by keto dieters everywhere can dramatically improve your cholesterol levels and put you on the path to heart health.
Cholesterol-Lowering Step #2 — Drink more tea
A recent study from researchers at Pennsylvania State University found that drinking tea can help you hang on to that healthy HDL cholesterol as you age.
In the study, both black and green tea slowed the loss of HDL cholesterol. Researchers believe that’s because both types of tea contain antioxidant compounds called polyphenols and catechins, which fight inflammation. (Don’t ruin it with sugar, though).
Cholesterol-Lowering Step #3 — Lose a few pounds
Did you know that losing just 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight can have a big impact on your cardiovascular risk factors?
A small weight loss adds up to big gains when it comes to your heart health.
In fact, following the keto diet helped obese patients lower their weight quite a bit while lowering their triglycerides, LDL and blood glucose and increasing their HDL or good cholesterol.
Cholesterol-Lowering Step #4 — Get more fiber
Soluble fiber has been shown to reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream because it binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation.
In fact, just five to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber a day decreases your total cholesterol levels as well as your LDL or bad cholesterol. Psyllium husk is a great source of soluble fiber.
Cholesterol-Lowering Step #5 — Kick the habit
Smoking lowers your HDL (the good stuff) while raising your LDL (the bad cholesterol). So, if you want to lower your cholesterol, it’s time to kick the habit for good.
Cholesterol-Lowering Step #6 — Supplement wisely
There are also a number of supplements that can improve your cholesterol.
My two favorites are:
- Red Yeast Rice — Red yeast rice is a traditional Chinese medicine used to lower cholesterol. And, guess what? The ancient Chinese knew what they were doing. Scientific studies have proven the power of this compound to reduce your cholesterol levels.
In fact, it’s so effective that some of those prescription cholesterol drugs are based on ingredients in red yeast rice. Be sure to discuss with your doctor if you’re on cholesterol-lowering medications.
- Pantothenic Acid — In a 2011 study, researchers at the Princeton Longevity Center in New Jersey found that supplementing with pantethine, a derivative of Vitamin B5, reduced both total and LDL cholesterol in people with low to moderate risk of heart disease.
As far back as 1984, animal studies showed that pantethine supplements reduced plasma total cholesterol levels by 64.7% compared to animals not receiving pantethine.
My colleague Joyce Hollman put together a list of foods rich in B5 here.
Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!
A Ketogenic Diet Favorably Affects Serum Biomarkers for Cardiovascular Disease in Normal-Weight Men — American Society for Nutritional Sciences
A Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet versus a Low-Fat Diet To Treat Obesity and Hyperlipidemia — Annals of Internal Medicine
Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients — Experimental & Clinical Cardiology
[The effect of cigarette smoking on HDL-cholesterol level] — Medical Archives
Beneficial Effects of Red Yeast Rice on High-Fat Diet-Induced Obesity, Hyperlipidemia, and Fatty Liver in Mice — Journal of Medicinal Food
Red yeast rice — Mayo Clinic