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Natural cholesterol reducers you didn’t know about

High levels of cholesterol can lead to build-up of plaque in the arteries and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Prescription medications like statins to lower cholesterol levels can cause side effects. Try these foods and supplements instead.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that's found in your blood and every cell of your body. Your liver produces cholesterol, but it's also present in animal-based foods such as eggs, shellfish, meat and dairy products. Eating foods high in dietary fat can also stimulate your liver to produce more cholesterol. Your body needs small amount of cholesterol to build the structure of cell membranes, make hormones, and produce vitamin D. However, high levels of cholesterol can lead to build-up of plaque in the arteries and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Prescription medications like statins to lower cholesterol levels can cause side effects, such as headaches, muscle cramps, and nausea. Luckily, there are many natural ways to lower cholesterol without medication. We have some natural cholesterol reducers to help you keep your heart healthy. These include foods and supplements derived from foods.

Caution: Talk to your doctor before taking any supplement, especially if you're pregnant.

Niacin

Niacin is a B vitamin that can increase the level of good cholesterol and reduce triglycerides, another fat that can clog arteries. Niacin is found in many foods, especially liver and chicken. You can also take it as a supplement. The recommended daily intake of niacin is 14 milligrams for women and 16 milligrams for men.

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Soluble fiber

Soluble fiber helps reduce cholesterol levels by lowering cholesterol absorption in your bloodstream. Soluble fiber is found in foods orange, pear, peach, asparagus, potato, whole wheat bread, oatmeal and kidney beans.

Psyllium supplements

Psyllium is fiber made from the husks of seeds of the Plantago ovata plant, also known as desert Indianwheat. It is a medicinal plant native to Western and Southern Asia. Research has shown that psyllium can help reduce cholesterol levels, relieve constipation and lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Take it in a pill or mix it into drinks or food.

Phytosterols

Phytosterols , or plant sterols, are cholesterol-like compounds found in whole grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. These compounds prevent your intestines from absorbing cholesterol. Phytosterols are sometimes added to prepared foods, such as margarine and yogurt.

Soy Protein

Soybeans and foods made from them also help lower cholesterol, though not very significantly. Tofu, soy milk, and steamed soy beans are a good source of lean protein. Replace them with fatty food like beef can help lower the overall cholesterol intake.

Garlic

There is no strong evidence to support the cholesterol-lowering effect of garlic. But it can offer you many other health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and protecting against heart disease. So, add it to your food or take it as a supplement.

Red yeast rice

This is eaten and used as a medicine in China. Red yeast rice is made by fermenting white rice with yeast. It is known to have the same chemical makeup as lovastatin, a cholesterol-lowering medicine. Especially they contain monacolin K that has been shown to lower cholesterol. But some researchers warned that red yeast rice may cause kidney, liver, and muscle damage.

Ginger

Studies have shown that ginger can reduce your bad cholesterol levels and boost your good cholesterol. Add raw to your food or take it as a supplement or powder.

Flaxseed

Flaxseeds are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can raise good cholesterol levels. Use its oil or eat flaxseed ground, not whole as your body can't break down the shiny outer shell of the seed.

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