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What You Can Do to Lower your Bad Cholesterol

Posted: November 28, 2010 at 12:22 am

A recent study has found out that the consumption of concentrated orange juice helps in lowering LDL-cholesterol in the body.

Much has been said about the effects of having high levels of LDL in the body.  Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) are commonly known as the bad form of cholesterol and have been greatly associated with a higher risk of developing diseases of the heart that may lead to life-threatening conditions such as stroke and heart attack.  This is due to the fact that when LDL cholesterol levels become too high, they have the tendency to stick to the walls of the blood vessels, which causes fatty plaque build-up, leading to a condition known as atherosclerosis. As previously stated, high LDL level is a chief risk factor for heart attacks and stroke.  This explains why LDL is called as the “bad” cholesterol.

It is not strange, therefore, that people are becoming more and more concerned with their cholesterol levels.  Numerous research ventures have been conducted with the main goal of finding ways to lower down LDL levels.  One such venture is the result of a study which was published in Nutrition Research, suggesting that the intake of a concentrated form of orange juice has the potential of reducing LDL cholesterol levels, especially in people with high levels of cholesterol in their bodies.  Concentrated orange juice, which contains high amounts of flavonoids, does not only exert its effects on the LDL cholesterol levels, but also in a person’s lipid profile, by escalating the transfer of free cholesterol.

The authors of the study, headed by Thais Cesar from Brazil’s Sao Paulo State University, said that the effects of taking in orange juice may be considered as beneficial to people with normal cholesterol levels, and those diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia (elevated cholesterol levels in the blood).  The researchers went on to report that consuming orange juice has become a part of a person’s dietary habit worldwide.  However, the practice of consuming concentrated forms of orange juice has become quite popular over the years.

Concentrated or Fresh?

It is best to point out that concentrated orange juice contain high amounts of flavonoids as compared to fresh orange juice. These flavonoids are naringin, hesperitin as well as polymethoxylated flavones (PMF).  The difference lies in the manufacturing process.  Concentrated orange juice makes use of the entire orange fruit.  This means that essential oils and pectin, which are found in the peel, are included in the concentrated form.

Other studies that have been conducted previously have shown that supplementation with naringin, hesperitin and PMF can indeed reduce the level of triglycerides and low density lipoprotein circulating in the blood.  At the same time, studies about the consumption of orange juice or the flavonoids in an orange extract have also shown favourable effects on the levels of plasma lipids.  Despite all these valuable information regarding orange juice, its function towards serum lipids have been hardly ever investigated.

Details of the Study

The consumption of orange juice reportedly caused a decrease in the LDL cholesterol levels of the hypercholesterolemic group, but did not have any effects on the normolipidemic group.  It was noted, however, that the triglycerides and the high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels remained unchanged for people from both groups. The researchers further reported that the transfer of free cholesterol to HDL intensified in both groups, but a decrease in phospholipid and triglyceride transfers was observed.

For subjects with normal cholesterol levels (normolipidemic group), the intake of orange juice elicited a 48 percent increase in the transfer of free cholesterol, and 9 percent in phospholipid transfers.  The hypercholesterolemic group exhibited a 22 percent increase in free-cholesterol transfer, but the transfer of phospholipids decreased by 10 percent, and transfer of triglycerides went down by 23 percent after the intake of orange juice.  The authors of the study concluded that the consumption of orange juice leads to a decrease in LDL-cholesterol levels of subjects with hypercholesterolemia.

Natural Ways to Lower Bad Cholesterol

While orange juice may be able to decrease LDL, there is one caveat to this:  it contains high amounts of sugar.  This means that one can simply start drinking gallons and gallons of orange juice per week.  One should know that there are a lot of other natural options that are considered safe and effective.  It is just a matter of imposing self-discipline and choosing what you feel is right for you.  Here are some practical and inexpensive ways of lowering your bad cholesterol level:

Stop being a couch potato

The first few changes a person has to make are related to lifestyle.  Are you spending more time in the couch, watching TV, and munching on junk foods? Then, it is time to stop.  Get those rubber shoes out of the closet and start jogging – or you may just do brisk-walking. High intensity exercises are not a requirement, although it can significantly increase the levels of the good cholesterol (HDL).

In fact, one study has shown that walking helps in reducing the risk of heart disease. For 18 weeks, the subjects went on once-a-day walks and their LDL levels went down by 8.3 percent.

Walking is the simplest form of exercise too, and it helps you lose weight as well, especially for people who want to shed off extra pounds. Research studies say that being overweight disturbs the normal metabolism of fats contained in the diet.  So this would ultimately increase cholesterol levels.  Shedding off at least 5 pounds will do wonders in decreasing LDL cholesterol.

Choose Soluble Fibers

Foods such as beans, whole grains, vegetables and fruits contain high amounts of soluble fibers, which act as a broom, sweeping off excess cholesterol in the body.  One study suggested that a 15 g intake of soluble fiber each day is enough to lower LDL levels by 5 to 10 percent.

Eat Fish

The American Heart Association said that consuming foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids lowers triglyceride levels and diminishes the growth of fatty plaques which causes atherosclerosis.  Best source of Omega-3 fatty acids are fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna.  Other supplemental sources include unprocessed oils such as olive oil, cod liver oil and fish oil.

Discover Lecithin

Lecithin has been widely used all over the world to treat patients with hypercholesterolemia, as this has the capacity to prevent fatty build-up in the walls of the blood vessels, thereby contributing to good cardiovascular health.

Go for Garlic

This very popular spice is known to lower LDL-cholesterol while increasing HDL levels, contributing to a healthy heart.

These are but few natural means of lowering down bad cholesterol levels.  If you search hard enough, you can surely come up with more options that would best fit your needs.


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