12 Facts About High Cholesterol You Can’t Ignore
If you’ve been told that you have high cholesterol levels and have been threatened to get the high levels down or you will be put on medications, this article is for you. It will tell you the most effective – and researched ways – to lower your cholesterol levels by 12 questions and answers.
You’ll learn a lot from this research study compilation!
1. Why Do I Have High Cholesterol?
High cholesterol levels are feared by most doctors because there is a correlation between high cholesterol and heart attack or stroke. This is why doctors often want to intervene and prescribe medications when they find it in a patient.
People with high cholesterol levels are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease as compared to those who have normal levels of cholesterol. Those who have a genetic disorder called familial hypercholesrolemia have the highest risk of developing heart disease at an earlier age.
Cholesterol levels may be elevated for several other reasons:
• Thyroid malfunction
• Liver malfunction
• Poor diet where oxidized fats are consumed
• Eating a high fat diet
• Obesity or overweight
2. Is High Cholesterol a Disease?
If you have high cholesterol levels, you do not have a disease. Instead, having high blood cholesterols levels is something that can happen that is associated with different types of disease.
For example, if the thyroid is not working correctly and there is low level functioning of the thyroid – called hypothyroidism – then cholesterol levels will rise. Thus, it’s not accurate to think of high cholesterol levels as a disease; but rather as a sign that something else may be happening in the body and it’s important to find out why the cholesterol levels are too high.
3. Who Is Most Likely to Develop High Cholesterol Levels?
Someone who is obese, overweight, has diabetes, existing liver or thyroid dysfunction, and someone who eats a high fat diet is most likely to develop high cholesterol levels.
4. Can High Cholesterol Be Cured? Can High Cholesterol be Cured in 21 Days? Can High Cholesterol Be Reversed?
Cholesterol levels are one of the lab indices that are measured in the body by doctors and health professionals. They normally fluctuate within a normal range. Cholesterol levels may fluctuate out of the normal range into the high range.
With this being stated, high cholesterol levels are not “cured” persay, but rather may return to normal levels. You want cholesterol levels in the normal range so that your chances of having a heart attack or stroke are lower.
Cholesterol levels that are high may be brought down to normal within 21 days by dietary, supplement, and exercise means. However, it is more probable that they will take about two months to get back into the normal range. To do this takes not only a bit of planning but also a change of habits. Maintaining the new habits is what will keep the cholesterol levels within the normal range.
5. How to Reverse High Cholesterol Permanently
Eating different types of diets has been shown to be associated with lower levels of cholesterol. A plant-based diet is one of them. A vegetarian diet is another.
The Mediterranean diet includes fruits, vegetables, oily fish, olive oil, and tree nuts. This diet is full of polyphenols, terpenoids, flavonoids, alkaloids, sterols, pigments, and unsaturated fatty acids. Polyphenols and polyphenol-rich herbs-such as coffee, green tea, black tea, and yerba maté-have shown clinically-meaningful benefits on metabolic and microvascular activities, cholesterol and fasting glucose lowering, and anti-inflammation and anti-oxidation in high-risk and Type 2 diabetes patients.
A vegetarian diet usually provides a low intake of saturated fat and cholesterol and a high intake of dietary fiber and many health-promoting phytochemicals. This is achieved by an increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, legumes, nuts, and various soy products. As a result of these factors, vegetarians typically have a lower body mass index, lower total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels, and blood pressure; reduced rates of death from ischemic heart disease; and decreased incidence of hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers than do nonvegetarians.
According to one study, a Paleo diet does a better job at lowering high cholesterol levels than a grain-based heart-healthy diet. Four months on the diet was long enough to make a significant difference – and the changes in cholesterol levels occurred independently of any weight changes.
6. How Long Does It Take for High Cholesterol to Go Down to Normal?
One of the ways that herbalists have lowered high cholesterol levels down to normal has been through detoxification cleanse routines. For example, one detox cleanse procedure is to cleanse the colon and the liver, each for six weeks via herbs for this purpose.
Cleansing the colon improves the microflora in the intestines, which can help with bile acids picking up the extra cholesterol from the bloodstream. Cleansing the liver improves the liver’s ability to synthesize and break down fats, of which cholesterol is one of them. When this method is used to lower cholesterol, it takes about 8 weeks total for the levels to fall into the normal range. If levels fall but are not yet in normal at the 8 week mark, another month on the cleanses is indicated.
Research studies show that you can lower high cholesterol levels with different herbs over a month long time frame. Some of these herbs include olive leaf extract, guggul, artichoke leaf, hibiscus, schisandra herb, black ginseng, red yeast rice, arjuna herb, aged garlic capsules, and bitter melon. Olive leaf extract lowers cholesterol levels and is thought to make a difference in the development of hardening of the arteries.
If levels are not decreased after one month, the herb dose may need to be increased and/or the length of time you take the herbs lengthened. Staying on a lower dose such as once daily may be required to keep the cholesterol levels in the normal range.
7. What Foods Do I Eat for High Cholesterol?
There are many foods to choose from that can help you lower your cholesterol levels. The best plan is to eat a diet that includes many of the foods. Here’s a list of some of the foods that lower cholesterol:
a. Garlic – expect a decrease in total cholesterol by 7-29 mg/dl.
b. A diet high in eggplant and okra decreases cholesterol by 30%.
c. Probiotic supplements taken longer than 4 weeks by those with mildly elevated or moderately elevated cholesterol levels reduced total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels significantly in humans in studies. The strain most effective was Lactobacillus acidophilus. In other studies, Lactobacillus plantarum reduced cholesterol levels by 14% and increased HDL-cholesterol levels by 15%.
In an animal study from France and Algeria, scientists found that Lactobacillus pentosus significantly decreased LDL-cholesterol levels. And in an additional study, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotics were added to a supplement along with 10 digestive enzymes and given to animals with hugh cholesterol. Their cholesterol levels dropped 48%!
d. Fish oil protects against cholesterol levels rising due to a Western diet. It also lowers inflammation in the body. Fish oil can be counted on to lower LDL-cholesterol, increase HDL-cholesterol, and lower platelet counts and triglycerides. It also benefits those with type 2 diabetes by improving the circulation.
e. Onions change the microbiome (probiotic content of the gut) and affect cholesterol levels positively for those who have elevated cholesterol.
f. Fermented foods such as kim chi lowers cholesterol levels even if a high fat high cholesterol diet is eaten.
g. Polyphenols are found in plant-based foods such as apples, berries, broccoli, cocoa, tea, coffee, plums, citrus fruits and many other foods. One type of polyphenols – favonols – decrease cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, modulate energy metabolism, and improve endothelial function in the arteries. These are found in cocoa, tea, apples and broad beans.
h. Soluble dietary fiber, found in flax seeds, apples, citrus foods, whole oats, barley, legumes, peas, and beans lowers cholesterol levels as well.
i. Beans are quite extensively studied for their cholesterol-lowering qualities. Adzuki beans prevent the liver from synthesizing fat and lower cholesterol levels. Sprouted mung beans significantly lower cholesterol levels and protect the liver from high fat diets.
Pinto beans act on the genes involved in cholesterol regulation and lower cholesterol levels especially when a high saturated fat diet is eaten. Black beans lower cholesterol by about 15%. Navy beans and cowpeas also lower cholesterol levels. You have an excellent choice of beans available to get your cholesterol levels down to normal.
j. Coffee that is made with filters doesn’t raise cholesterol levels.
k. Nuts also lower cholesterol levels. Almonds are a good source of monounsaturated fats, which are thought to be responsible for lowering cholesterol. Eating nuts regularly is associated with a 50% reduction in diabetes and a 30% reduction in cardiovascular diseases. Hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts and others will do also – a handful a day is usually enough!
l. Eggs are okay as long as you are eating other fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products in the diet
8. What Foods Do I Avoid for High Cholesterol?
Foods high in fructose are a poor choice when you have high cholesterol levels. The diet given in an experimental study had 18-20% of the calories coming from fructose and/or high fructose corn syrup. It was fed to swine, but rapidly accelerated the development of plaque in the arteries.
Turkish coffee and Scandinavian coffees are not filtered and actually raise cholesterol levels.
Sugar, processed foods, fried foods, high glycemic index foods, and a high fat diet should be avoided if you want lower cholesterol levels.
9. Can Exercise Reverse High Cholesterol?
This is a good question. Brazilian researchers searched all the existing studies in the medical study database and found that the answer was yes, exercise can lower high cholesterol levels. However, it did not reverse them totally. They also compared the effects of aerobic exercise to that of resistance exercise (weight lifting) in type 2 diabetics and found that both had similar effects on cholesterol levels. The exercise plans that were tested were protocols that varied from 8 to 22 weeks long, 30-60 minutes a day, three to five times a week.
New Zealand researchers found that high-intensity interval training was effective in type 2 diabetics to decrease their cholesterol levels, although it did not reverse them to normal.
In Type 1 diabetics, exercise changed the body mass index as well as their LDL-cholesterol levels and insulin dose, but again did not return levels to normal.
Researchers at the University of South Carolina found that both aerobic and resistance training reduced cholesterol levels and triglycerides when combined with a weight loss diet. They concluded that exercise is an intervention for those with metabolic syndrome as a way to lower cholesterol.
Another question usually asked about exercise is whether or not 40 minutes of continuous exercise is better than three sets of 12 minutes of high intensity exercise – and will this affect cholesterol any differently. Canadian researchers discovered the answer in their study. The exercise bursts lowered hemoglobin A1c levels 1% more and lowered cholesterol levels 7% more than the continuous exercise. The HDL-cholesterol levels were increased 19% more by the high intensity exercise bursts than the continuous exercise.
10. Can Losing Weight Reverse High Cholesterol?
Certain types of diets will lower high cholesterol levels. Intermittent fasting decreases cholesterol levels by 19%.
Even a diet that is simple and based on only eating 500 fewer calories a day works to lower cholesterol levels in those who have genetically high levels of cholesterol.
Nutritionists have found that a lowering of the weight by 10% is usually enough to significantly impact cholesterol levels.
11. Can High Cholesterol Go Away On Its Own?
High cholesterol levels won’t go away on their own if you do nothing about them. You will have to make an effort to do something about them – diet changes, lifestyle changes, exercising, and even taking supplements.
12. What Happens If High Cholesterol Doesn’t Go Away?
If your levels of cholesterol remain high, then it’s possible that you may develop cardiovascular disease, and suffer from a heart attack or stroke. It’s just not worth it.
Am J Manag Care 2017 Jun;23(9 Suppl):S139-48.
Braz J Phys Ther. 2017 Nov – Dec;21(6):400-415. doi: 10.1016/j.bjpt.2017.06.004. Epub 2017 Jul 5.
Can J Diabetes. 2017 Oct;41(5):536-547. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2016.12.004. Epub 2017 Mar 30.
Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2018 May;139:380-391. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2017.11.036. Epub 2017 Dec 6.
Curr Sports Med Rep. 2014 Jul-Aug;13(4):253-9. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000073.
Can J Cardiol. 2017 Dec;33(12):1645-1651. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2017.09.019. Epub 2017 Oct 6.
Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2014;65(1):1-8.
J Nutr. 2016 Feb;146(2):416S-421S. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.202333. Epub 2016 Jan 13.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):380-7.
Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013 Nov;57(11):2075-8. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201300054. Epub 2013 Jul 26.
Am J Med. 2017 Oct;130(10):1148-1150. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2017.05.013. Epub 2017 Jun 7.
Am J Nurs. 2017 Aug;117(8):46-54. doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000521973.38717.2e.
PLoS One. 2015 Oct 16;10(10):e0139795. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0139795. eCollection 2015.
PLoS One. 2017 Dec 11;12(12):e0187964. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187964. eCollection 2017.
J Transl Med. 2016 Jun 22;14(1):184. doi: 10.1186/s12967-016-0945-2.
Nutr J. 2012 Nov 21;11:98. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-98.
J Nutr. 2014 Aug;144(8):1219-26. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.191775. Epub 2014 Jun 4.
Lipids Health Dis. 2016 Feb 1;15:20. doi: 10.1186/s12944-016-0190-y.
J Pharm Pract. 2012 Feb;25(1):69-74. doi: 10.1177/0897190011406983.
Lipids Health Dis. 2017 Oct 6;16(1):194. doi: 10.1186/s12944-017-0585-4.
Histol Histopathol. 2016 Feb;31(2):167-76. doi: 10.14670/HH-11-652. Epub 2015 Aug 11.
Anim Biotechnol. 2018 Apr 3;29(2):110-118. doi: 10.1080/10495398.2017.1322974. Epub 2017 Jun 21.
Food Funct. 2017 Jun 1;8(6):2184-2192. doi: 10.1039/c7fo00412e. Epub 2017 May 15.
J Sci Food Agric. 2015 Oct;95(13):2750-6. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.7018. Epub 2014 Dec 18.
Nutr Res. 2015 Jun;35(6):474-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2015.05.002. Epub 2015 May 14.
Phytother Res. 2015 Oct;29(10):1652-7. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5445. Epub 2015 Aug 29.
Benef Microbes. 2017 Apr 26;8(2):271-280. doi: 10.3920/BM2016.0121. Epub 2017 Mar 16.
Nutr Bull. 2017 Sep;42(3):226-235. doi: 10.1111/nbu.12278. Epub 2017 Aug 15.
Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2016 Dec;18(12):75.
Nutrients. 2018 Jun 26;10(7). pii: E821. doi: 10.3390/nu10070821.
Annu Rev Nutr. 1997;17:305-24.
Arch Latinoam Nutr. 1998 Dec;48(4):299-305.
Nutr Res. 2016 Jan;36(1):90-100. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2015.11.002. Epub 2015 Nov 10.
J Nutr. 2019 Jun 1;149(6):996-1003. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxz044.
Glob Pediatr Health. 2017 Feb 16;4:2333794X17694231. doi: 10.1177/2333794X17694231. eCollection 2017.
J Am Coll Nutr. 1992 Apr;11(2):126-30.
J Nutr Sci. 2015 Feb 16;4:e7. doi: 10.1017/jns.2014.70. eCollection 2015.
Nutrition. 2017 May;37:79-85. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2016.12.014. Epub 2016 Dec 29.
Br J Nutr. 2015 Apr;113 Suppl 2:S111-20. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514003924.
J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016 Dec;116(12):1970-1980. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2016.09.025.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 May;105(5):1070-1078. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.150037. Epub 2017 Mar 29.
Curr Pharm Des. 2017;23(7):1016-1027. doi: 10.2174/1381612822666161010121356.
Nutrients. 2017 Dec 1;9(12). pii: E1310. doi: 10.3390/nu9121310.
Nutr Clin Pract. 2010 Dec;25(6):613-20. doi: 10.1177/0884533610385707.
Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Sep;61(9). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201601015. Epub 2017 May 2.
J Nutr. 2017 May;147(5):835-840. doi: 10.3945/jn.116.246785. Epub 2017 Mar 29.
ARYA Atheroscler. 2015 Jul;11(4):244-51.