Dear Dr. Stanislaw, what are healthy and natural ways I can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure?
Answer: There are many!
When you go to the doctor and discover you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, the first typical recommendation that they give you unfortunately is a prescription drug. However, there are many natural ways to improve your cardiovascular health that also benefit your entire body, without side effects.
Here are some of the most effective and simple ways to reduce cholesterol and improve your cardiovascular, as well as overall health:
•Exercise! Exercise is one of the few ways to not only lower your bad cholesterol (LDL), but it can raise your good cholesterol (HDL) as well.
•Increase vegetables: Increasing vegetables in your diet will greatly increase your fiber intake. Fiber binds cholesterol and allows it to be carried out of your body via bowel movements.
•Psyllium husk powder: This powder is another great source of fiber and can be taken in addition to eating more vegetables. You can find it at a health food store. Also, when taken before meals, it can help you feel full sooner, and thus eat less and lose weight. When buying, be sure to read the ingredients. If it has things that sound foreign or that you can't pronounce, skip it. For example, some of the most common recommended fiber products actually contain 'wheat dextrin.' You don't want that. Look for pure psyllium husk powder, or even just pure, ground flax seeds are a great source of fiber too. But go slowly. Only start with one teaspoon a day for a week. Then increase to two teaspoons per day during week two, and then three on week, for a total of 3 teaspoons/day (which is the same as one tablespoon). If you increase fiber too fast, it can cause constipation. So it's also good to drink 4 - 8oz of water with it.
•Garlic: Eat it regularly and/or find a supplement that contains 4000 mcg of allicin (the active ingredient in garlic) per day.
•Green tea: At least one cup per day has been shown to reduce cholesterol.
•The spice, turmeric - use lots! It has been shown to reduce cholesterol, and it is also an excellent natural, anti-inflammatory. You can also buy the fresh root and cook with it or use it in smoothies. (But be careful because the bright orange color will stain.)
•CoQ10 supplement: This is a key nutrient for optimal functioning of your heart. It is lowered when taking cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins), but is also often low in many people even if not taking a statin.
•Fish oil: The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have a natural anti-inflammatory effect, which benefits your cardiovascular system. Additionally, the cell wall of every cell in your body is made of fat and when this wall contains a high concentration of omega-3 fats, the cell functions better overall. Thus taking fish oil can increase the health of every cell in your body. (Make sure it is a high quality brand because cheap fish oil can be toxic.)
•Antioxidants: I suggest making a habit of having frozen blueberries in your freezer all-year-round an eat 1/2c daily. You can also take an antioxidant-rich supplement such as resveratrol or a superfood, green powder.
This list contains very effective ways to lower your cholesterol, as well as make your heart and body happier and healthier. Now onto natural ways to lower blood pressure, which share many of the same steps for lowering cholesterol.
Simple steps to reduce blood pressure:
- Regular exercise
- Adequate sleep
- Reduction in stress
- Increase fish, such as salmon and tuna; reduce red meat and other animal fat
- Increase fiber intake (via increasing fruits and vegetables)
- Carrots, spinach, parsley, celery, raw garlic, raw onion, beets, watermelon…all contain key nutrients for lowering blood pressure
- Green tea
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol
- Eliminate fried foods and high fat foods
- Reduce dairy (milk, butter, cheese, ice cream), salt, sugar, canned or packaged foods, chocolate, refined white starches (white bread, rice, pasta)…all tend to raise blood pressure
Not only can these lower your blood pressure, but they'll lower your blood sugars as well!
Lifestyle changes are always the first choice in improving heart health, but the addition of some supplements can help as well. But please note, when it comes to diabetes as well as cardiovascular disease, drugs and supplements alone should never be the only focus of treatment. Lifestyle change is the most effective and powerful medicine, above any drug.
In addition to the above lifestyle changes, there are supplements shown to reduce blood pressure, listed below. Certainly taking all of them is not necessary! This is just a list of various natural remedies shown to be helpful. Talk to your doctor before making any changes to your blood pressure treatment regime and monitor your blood pressure daily when making any changes.
•High Potency multi-vitamin
•Garlic – 4000mcg or 1 tea fresh/day
•Vitamin C 1000mg, 1-3 times/day
•Vitamin E 400 IU
•Flaxseed Oil- 1tbsp/day
•8 stalks of celery/day
•Grapefruit seed extract 150mg GSE 2x’s/day
•250ml of fresh beet juice
When you can reduce your stress level, your blood pressure will decrease, and your sense of happiness, calmness, and well-being will increase. Give this a try by using this simple exercise, anytime of day:
Close your eyes, take 3 deep breaths to transition into slowing down, and then for 1 minute choose ONE of the following:
•Put your hands on your abdomen and simply focus your attention on breathing into your belly.
•Close one nostril, inhale, close the other nostril, then exhale + inhale, close other nostril, then exhale + inhale, then close other nostril, etc.
•Focus your attention on your head and exhale out stress, then focus on the muscles of your face and exhale out stress, then on your neck and exhale, then moving all the way down your body, feeling each area let go of tension with each exhale and bringing relaxation
Simple stress relieving exercises when practiced regularly have been shown to not only have a positive effect on cardiovascular health, but can reduce blood sugar and improving your overall sense of well-being. Give it a try!
This article is packed full of simple and healthy ways to improve your cardiovascular health. I encourage you to take action in a healthy and natural way to improve your cardiovascular health. Your heart will thank you!
If you have any questions, email me at DrJody@DrJodyND.com
Here’s to your health!