Cholesterol is a waxy or fatty substance that is vital for many bodily functions, especially to produce hormones, help make vitamins, and build and repair cells.
The liver makes the cholesterol needed by the body and it is also obtained from animal foods like meat, poultry and dairy.
The two major types include low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, also known as LDL cholesterol or “Bad Cholesterol”, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, also known as HDL cholesterol or “Good Cholesterol”.
For those who have high levels of the bad type of cholesterol, the hopeful news is that a large number of health conditions caused by high cholesterol can easily be prevented with simple lifestyle improvements consisting of diet, exercise, and natural remedies.
Why it’s important to keep cholesterol in check
Too much bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood increases the risk of plaque build ups (fatty deposits) in the artery walls and may result in atherosclerosis, a condition where arteries become narrow and hard. This may cause a number of heart and blood vessel-related (cardiovascular) conditions such as heart attack and stroke.
How to lower cholesterol by natural means
Naturopathic medical science is a type of healthcare that integrates proven traditional methods with modern treatment. It encourages the body to heal itself from within using several alternative natural therapies. The best part is that it focuses not only on suppressing the symptoms, but it also addresses the underlying causes to eliminate a symptom at its root.
Natural medicine practitioners take into consideration each and every factor that might be linked to developing high cholesterol. They help bring cholesterol to healthy levels through lifestyle choices, healthy eating, and medicinal foods and herbs.
The following sections will address how one can lower cholesterol to healthy levels from a natural medicine point of view.
Lifestyle changes to reduce cholesterol
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the most prevalent risk factors of heart disease and stroke are unhealthy lifestyle choices that may include physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, excess use of alcohol, and tobacco use. The effects of these lifestyle factors may show up as raised blood cholesterol, obesity, and overweight, among others (1).
Eating more vegetables and fruits, quitting smoking, reducing salt intake, avoiding consumption of alcohol, and adopting regular exercise have been found to be highly effective in reducing the risk of developing high cholesterol and obesity as well as cardiovascular diseases (1).
A review of related studies that was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 1991 showed that making healthy improvements with exercise and diet can significantly reduce levels of the “bad” cholesterol. These changes reduced the risk of developing heart and blood disease in most adults (2).
Diet to lower cholesterol naturally
Dietary changes are the first and foremost step we can take to bring cholesterol levels to a healthy range. Eating foods that contain high fiber and healthy types of fats are highly beneficial in reducing cholesterol in the blood.
Developing a healthy diet includes:
Avoiding trans fats
Trans fats, also known as trans fatty acids (TFAs), are fats found in vegetable oils that have been industrially modified through a process called hydrogenation to make them more stable. Hydrogen has been infused into these fats.
Processed foods and foods that contain trans fats such as margarine and hydrogenated vegetable oils (like hydrogenated soybean oil and cottonseed oil), are unhealthy. Highly processed foods with these fats include chips, cookies, candy, ice cream, fast foods and processed meats.
Whole, single foods such as vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, yams, potatoes, and healthy oils like olive and coconut oil, are great for one’s health and cholesterol. Especially leafy greens, salmon and sardines.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), eating foods that contain trans fats increases the risk of developing stroke and heart disease by raising LDL (bad) cholesterol and lowering HDL (good) cholesterol levels in the body (3).
For this reason, the World Health Organization (WHO) made an international call to eliminate artificial (industrially produced) trans fats from the food supply globally by 2023 (4).
Eating more soluble fibers
Soluble fibers are roughage parts of plant derived foods that absorb water and create a semi-solid substance in the gut and also help remove harmful solid fat molecules from the digestive tract.
Soluble fibers nourish healthy microbiomes in the gut and help eliminate LDL cholesterol from the human body. Healthy microbiomes are beneficial bacteria that live in the digestive tract. Good sources of soluble fibers include lentils, beans, peas, fruits, and a number of whole grains, particularly oats.
A study published in 1999 has shown that various dietary soluble fibers can reduce bad LDL and total cholesterol by similar amounts (5).
Adding more omega 3 fats into the regular diet
Omega 3 fatty acids have been found to be beneficial for reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol. Good sources include fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, and sardines, olive oil, various nuts especially walnuts and almonds, avocados, and flaxseed oil.
The British Journal of Nutrition found that replacing unhealthy fats with omega 3 fats reduced total cholesterol levels within 8 weeks (6).
Natural remedies for high cholesterol
There are plenty of herbs and foods that have been used as natural remedies for high cholesterol for decades. Most popular natural remedies for high cholesterol may include garlic, psyllium, flaxseed, ginger, and more.
Natural herbs and foods have a long history of therapeutic use, and multiple scientific studies have also substantiated their traditional uses in lowering cholesterol and improving heart health naturally.
Here are five of the best natural remedies for high cholesterol:
Garlic is considered one of the most beneficial herbal remedies and has been widely used as an effective therapeutic ingredient to lower cholesterol across nearly all cultures throughout the world.
A 2013 review published in the Nutrition Reviews concluded that garlic can be used as an effective alternative to lower cholesterol in people who have slightly elevated cholesterol levels. Garlic was highly tolerable in all trials, it was associated with minimal side effects, and had higher safety levels than conventional cholesterol-lowering medications (7).
Psyllium is rich in soluble fibers derived from the husks of seeds from a plant botanically known as Plantago ovata. It has a miraculous ability to alleviate cholesterol and blood sugar levels in the body. It also helps relieve constipation.
A research review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2018 has confirmed that psyllium has the property to reduce LDL cholesterol and delay the process of atherosclerosis (clogged arteries). Psyllium lowered the risk of cardiovascular diseases in people with or without higher levels of cholesterol (8).
Flax is a flowering plant majorly grown in temperate zones in mild weather. The seeds and the oil extracted from them both contain a considerable amount of omega 3 fatty acids that show many health benefits including lowering LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol in the body.
Ginger is widely used in the natural medicine system for its potent anti-inflammatory actions. It showed significant beneficial effects in reducing bad cholesterol levels in the human body.
A 2008 study in the Saudi Medical Journal showed ginger can lower bad fats and raise the good ones (9).
Berberine is a naturally occurring compound found in many plants, particularly in a shrub group called Berberis. Berberine is found in the roots, stems, and bark of various plants, including goldenseal, barberry, and Oregon grape, and has potent anti-inflammatory benefits. It shows cholesterol-lowering effects of the bad type.
These are some proven ways to lower cholesterol naturally but there are more. For anyone who suspects or has been told they have high cholesterol, it’s best to seek out a naturopathic doctor or nutritionist so they can customize the best natural remedies for each individual.
In the meantime, have the person get outside for some good walks, put some garlic in their meals, avoid fast food and highly processed foods, and eat more salmon, walnuts and vegetables.
Barnard, R. James. “Effects of Life-Style Modification on Serum Lipids.” Archives of Internal Medicine, vol. 151, no. 7, 1 July 1991, pp. 1389–1394, jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/615295, 1001/archinte.1991.00400070141019.
Li, Chaoyang, et al. “Global Surveillance of Trans-Fatty Acids.” Preventing Chronic Disease, vol. 16, 31 Oct. 2019, www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2019/19_0121.htm, 5888/pcd16.190121.
Brown, Lisa, et al. “Cholesterol-Lowering Effects of Dietary Fiber: A Meta-Analysis.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 69, no. 1, 1 Jan. 1999, pp. 30–42, 1093/ajcn/69.1.30.
Ulven, Stine M., et al. “Exchanging a Few Commercial, Regularly Consumed Food Items with Improved Fat Quality Reduces Total Cholesterol and LDL-Cholesterol: A Double-Blind, Randomised Controlled Trial.” British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 116, no. 8, 14 Oct. 2016, pp. 1383–1393, www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/S0007114516003445, 1017/s0007114516003445. Accessed 19 July 2020.
Jovanovski, Elena, et al. “Effect of Psyllium (Plantago Ovata) Fiber on LDL Cholesterol and Alternative Lipid Targets, Non-HDL Cholesterol and Apolipoprotein B: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 108, no. 5, 15 Sept. 2018, pp. 922–932, 1093/ajcn/nqy115.
Alizadeh-Navaei, Reza, et al. “Investigation of the Effect of Ginger on the Lipid Levels. A Double Blind Controlled Clinical Trial.” Saudi Medical Journal, vol. 29, no. 9, 1 Sept. 2008, pp. 1280–1284, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18
Menopause is a natural process when the production of female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) declines and a woman stops having her monthly periods. It usually happens gradually between the ages of 45 and 55.
During this time, a woman can experience uncomfortable menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, migraine headaches, anxiety, fatigue and insomnia.
Hormone replacement therapy drugs can help hot flashes, but come with many potential side effects for the heart, lungs and breasts. As a result, more and more women today are seeking to use natural remedies.
This video is a brief overview of some of the most proven natural remedies for hot flashes in menopause. More details about each of these can be found in articles here in the Nutrition Breakthroughs blog. Use the search option in the top menu to learn more about them.
Make good use of these natural remedies to stay “cool as a cucumber!”
This natural health information is shared with you by Sleep Minerals II, the effective natural sleep aid that is also beneficial for hot flashes, restless leg syndrome, bone health, teenage insomnia and mineral deficiencies.
This brief video is an entertaining overview of the best minerals for creating a deeper, longer, more relaxing sleep. In this article, we will go into more detail about each one. There are four minerals that are researched and particularly proven to be good sleep remedies.
Calcium: This mineral is directly related to our cycles of sleep. In one study published in the European Neurology Journal, researchers found that calcium levels in the body are higher during some of the deepest levels of sleep, such as the rapid eye movement (REM) phase.
Adelle Davis is one of the earliest nutritionists to base her dietary recommendations on scientific research studies. Davis writes about the roles of calcium in her book “Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit.” She suggests natural sleep remedies for insomnia and says: “A calcium deficiency often shows itself by insomnia, another form of an inability to relax. The harm done by sleeping tablets, to say nothing of the thousands of dollars spent on them, could largely be avoided if the calcium intake were adequate.”
Magnesium: In magnesium deficiency, chronic insomnia is one of the main, central symptoms. Sleep is usually agitated with frequent nighttime awakenings. On the other hand, a high magnesium diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep. This was proven in a study done by James Penland at the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota.
James F. Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes that: “A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.”
Zinc: A study in a scientific journal found evidence indicating that zinc may be involved in the regulation of sleep. Their research concludes that the amount of sleep varies according to the amount of zinc in the blood, while orally administered zinc increases the amount and the quality of sleep in mice and humans.
Another study on zinc points in the direction that people taking extra calcium should also increase their zinc intake in order to prevent calcium from blocking zinc absorption into the body. The richest dietary sources of zinc are oysters, liver and beef, followed by nuts, popcorn, poultry and lamb.
Potassium: One recent study from the Journal “Sleep” researched the effects of potassium supplements on sleep quality. After one week of taking potassium supplements, there were significant improvements in the quality of sleep and less waking up during the night.
A deficiency of potassium can interfere with restful sleep due to the potential for stiff muscles or muscle spasms in the night. The blood needs to maintain a good balance between potassium and sodium (salt). Potassium is found abundantly in fresh vegetables and fruits, so these are a good focus as opposed to eating a lot of processed or packaged foods containing high sodium.
One popular supplement containing many of these minerals is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs. Richard P. of Parkville, Maryland says, “The Sleep Minerals are making quite a difference. I was regularly waking up at around 3:00 a.m. and after a few days use my sleep improved quite a lot. I wake up once a night to go to the bathroom, but the great thing is, I then fall back asleep and sleep several more hours. This has been a great improvement.”
Make good use of minerals in foods and supplements to ensure getting a great night’s sleep. To learn more, visit the Sleep Minerals II page.
By Dr. Tariq of the Nishtar Medical University in Pakistan
Do you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep during the night? After a hectic day, do you toss around in bed with a preoccupied, heavy head?
Finding the best supplements for better sleep can be frustrating with hundreds of ads and products on the internet.
Does our diet have a role in our sleep? What are the most proven natural sleep aids that have been revealed by scientific research? Read on to learn more about the best minerals, herbs, and vitamins for improving sleep at night.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), sleep problems are pretty common; in fact, about one-third of Americans do not get a good sleep. Sleep is as essential for a person as food is for a healthy life. A good amount of sleep is required for our brains to function properly.
Every day, good quality sleep enhances learning, memory, problem-solving, and creativity.
What’s more, lack of proper sleep is associated with anxiety, daytime drowsiness, and increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.1
Several supplements on the market contain natural sleep aids with herbs, vitamins, and minerals, but how do these supplements work, and which ones may be the best for an individual?2,3
The best thing to do is to try a small amount of each one of them separately and note the results in a journal. And then compare the results of each one as to which ones were the most beneficial.
HERBS THAT HELP YOU SLEEP
Here are some of the most well-known herbs for relaxation and better sleep.
Chamomile is a herb that has been used for centuries to reduce anxiety, soothe your nerves, and help with sleep. It is normally used as tea or in capsules, as are most of the herbs for sleep.4,5
Passionflower contains flavonoids which are a group of natural chemicals found in many herbs and fruits, possessing anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic (anti-cancer) properties. These act to reduce pain, calm the mind and help with sleep if added with other herbs like lemon balm.6
Hops flowers contain a variety of compounds which remedy restlessness, nervousness and sleep difficulties. Pillows filled with these are also used for sleep.7
Ashwagandha root extract is a natural compound that induces sleep, improves sleep quality, and soothes the nerves to relieve stress. It can help a person sleep better throughout the night.8
Kava helps some people with sleep disorders. Kava leaves are dried and used in capsules or tablets. It helps to reduce anxiety and provide a calmer, less stressed state of mind.9
MINERALS FOR SLEEP
Many minerals affect the state of health of our bodies and their various systems. A few minerals stand out as bright stars in the sky for their ability to induce good sleep.
Difficulty in sleeping throughout the night is the first symptom of magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium is the essential nutrient for better sleep. It helps the body prepare melatonin, a sleep hormone made in the brain that directly aids good sleep.12
Magnesium also relieves muscle tension and mental stress by helping to produce amino acids, for example, GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid – a signaling molecule in the brain).13
Magnesium is found in green leafy vegetables, avocado, bananas and yogurt.
Calcium is among the essential nutrients that significantly impact sleep by affecting REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep – a phase of sleep when your brain is more active and your eyes move faster). Decreased calcium levels affect sleep cycles and lead to difficulty getting deeper and longer sleep.14
Calcium is found in dairy products such as almonds, cheese, yogurt, leafy greens and sardines. By taking the correct amount of calcium, the sleep cycles of our body can be corrected.
Calcium should be taken in balance with magnesium in a two to one ratio, with twice as much calcium as magnesium.
BEST VITAMINS FOR SLEEP
Sometimes vitamin deficiency can be a cause of sleep deprivation. If one or more of these are deficient in the diet, a good night’s sleep can become more difficult to obtain.
Many experts say that vitamin D deficiency is associated with sleep disorders and if your blood levels of Vitamin D fall to a low level, it can lead to sleep disorders and restless leg syndrome. A person can get vitamin D from sunlight, eggs, salmon, and mushrooms. Supplements can also be used.15
Vitamin E is perfect for hair, nails, and skin, but it is also an important nutrient that has a vital role in improving sleep at night. There is a close relationship between memory impairment and sleep deprivation.
Vitamin E has regenerating and oxygenating effects in the brain that can help prevent sleep deprivation-induced memory impairment.16 Vitamin E is found in almonds, leafy greens, sunflower seeds, avocados, and olive oil.
People with low levels of vitamin C may have problems with falling asleep and staying asleep at night.17 If vitamin C is used along with Vitamin E, it may help reduce the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Citrus fruit is a rich source of vitamin C, as well as kale, kiwi, red peppers and stawberries.18
Vitamin B-6 plays a vital role in immunity and recalling dreams. It is also essential for the production of melatonin, which is necessary for deep sleep. Hence a vitamin B-6 deficiency may lead to sleep disorders.
Natural sleep-aids with the B vitamins should contain the whole spectrum such as B-1, B-2, B-3, B-5, B-6, and B-12, etc., to avoid any imbalances. They work better together to reduce stress and create melatonin. 19,20
Vitamin B-12 is important for brain and red blood cell functioning. It also helps by regulating sleep-wake cycles and REM sleep.21
THE BOTTOM LINE
Getting a good amount of sleep is vital for good health. Several herbs, minerals, and vitamins can be effective in helping a person fall asleep better and stay asleep longer. They can be found at health food stores and at nutritionist and chiropractic offices.
Some other good sleep tips would be to go to bed and get up at the same time each day, keep the bedroom cool and dark while sleeping, and use a comfortable mattress, In addition, do some daily exercise that you enjoy such as walking, get outside for some sunlight during the day, and wear earplugs and an eye mask while sleeping.
This natural health news is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, maker of the original calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II, and Joints and More, a natural supplement for joint relief, less aches and pains, and more energy.
This is Jobee Knight from Nutrition Breakthroughs. Thanks for being a reader of the natural health discoveries I share. Today I have a different story to share with you.
It’s the true story of how Nutrition Breakthroughs started. Let me know what you think of it!
My journey into the natural health field began a couple of decades ago when I was the public relations director for a computer software company.
I was always writing press releases about our latest software version and what a “breakthrough” it was and how fantastic its great new features were.
I had always been interested in nutrition and had experienced great benefits from eating good foods and taking natural supplements. It was amazing to me that a supplement could have such beneficial effects.
I decided I would create a website called “Nutrition Breakthroughs”, similar to all the computer “breakthroughs” I had been writing about.
Nutrition Breakthroughs would have easy to understand articles about natural remedies that worked and actually helped people to improve their health.
It would also provide natural supplements that would be so effective, people would not need to turn to drugs for relief and would heal naturally.
So I bought my first computer on credit, bought an easy website designer on the internet, put up the website, and Nutrition Breakthroughs was born!
So far, it has lived up to it’s original vision with its natural health articles and effective supplements for better sleep and pain-free joints.
So now it’s your turn! I would love to hear from you. Is there something you have always wanted to do in your life to improve your career or your health, but haven’t known which steps to take to bring it into reality?
Send me an email at email@example.com. I check this inbox myself and I may not reply to each message, but I do read each one. It helps me to provide good information that is of interest.
Here’s to your good health, good sleep and long life.
This is Jobee from Nutrition Breakthroughs. Thanks for reading my articles on natural health discoveries and remedies.
This is #2 in a series that describes the story of how Nutrition Breakthroughs started and how it’s health articles and supplements came into being.
Around the time that Nutrition Breakthroughs started a couple decades ago, I was living in the Los Angeles area. An opportunity came up for me to do some courses that I really wanted to do in Florida.
I decided to take the trip there – all the way to another coast that I’d never been to before. In order to get the most out of my studies, it was important that I eat well, feel healthy and get a lot of restful sleep.
The only thing interfering with this is that I was unable to get hardly any sleep at all in anticipation of the trip. I got on the plane anyway for the 6 or 7 hour flight, including layovers. The plane touched down in Tampa and I had finally arrived.
As far as my sleep went in Florida, I continued to wake up several times during the night and had tremendous difficulty falling back asleep. I had studied in my nutritional research that calcium and magnesium could help people relax and sleep more deeply.
I searched around and found a product that had these minerals in it and it was formulated in a softgel with oils for better absorption. I began to take it, sometimes every hour during the night when I woke up. It started making a big difference.
I would take one of these often during the night and actually be able to go back to sleep. This was the beginning of a major advancement for Nutrition Breakthroughs. (Although not every sleep aid should be taken this frequently)!
If a supplement like this could actually help me with severe insomnia, would it be worth it for me to create a similar one for my company Nutrition Breakthroughs and help others who have this problem to sleep better too?
Tune in to the next blog article and read it to find out!
So now it’s your turn. I would love to hear from you. Was there ever a similar thing that happened to you where you were so pleased to find a natural remedy that actually worked?
Let me know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I check this inbox myself and I may not reply to each message, but I do read each one. It helps me to provide good information that is of interest.