The Natural Way to Lower Cholesterol

Cholesterol is the silent killer!
In particular, it is important to keep low-density lipoprotein (“LDL”) (aka bad cholesterol) in check as it deposit excess cholesterol in blood arteries causing plague formation (i.e. atherosclerosis). Plague hardens and narrows arteries over time which restrict the flow of blood to organs (i.e. hypertension). Victims are often caught by surprise when the blood supply to vital organs such as heart (i.e. heart attack) and brain (i.e. stroke) is blocked or when the blood vessel rupture. Heart-related diseases account for ~30% of deaths in Singapore!



Traditional remedies..
Have you heard of cases where some folks tried to lower their intake of high-cholesterol food (e.g. eggs, seafood) but find limited success in lowering their cholesterol level? This is because even if one’s diet has zero cholesterol, the liver will still produce the amount of cholesterol it needs. Hence, statin is often prescribed to lower cholesterol as it blocks the liver’s enzyme responsible for producing cholesterol. However, all drugs come with side effects. As statin meddles with the liver function, type 2 diabetes is often cited as a side effect of the drug. Do you want a solution that resolves one issue (i.e. high cholesterol) but causes another issue (e.g. diabetes)?

Nutritional Immunology (NI) – The natural way to combat cholesterol!
Nutritional Immunology (NI) tells us that nature has amazing plant foods which can help to counter the issue of high cholesterol!

1) Phytosterols
Phytosterols are plant sterols similar to cholesterol in structure and function. Given its affinity for micelles, it competes with cholesterol to be incorporated into mixed micelles which cause cholesterol to be excluded from the absorption process. Phytosterols thus speed up the excretion of cholesterol from the body. Research shows that consuming 1.5-1.8g and 2.2g of phytosterols/day can reduce cholesterol absorption by 30-40% and 60% respectively.
Plant food rich in phytosterols: Soy and Psyllium husk

2) Fiber
Many of us tend to associate fiber with relieving constipation only. This is indeed the function of insoluble fiber. However, plant foods contain soluble fiber too which dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance. Not only does “the gel” slows down movement of food hence keeping one full for longer, it also slows down the absorption of glucose and clears away LDL cholesterol. The human body requires 20-35g of fiber/day for sufficient nourishment. FYI – an apple (with skin) only has about 3g of fiber!
Plant food rich in fiber: Psyllium husk and Chia seeds

It is better to be safe than sorry!
With so much “good food” here in Singapore, it is easy for us to give in to the pleasure of our taste buds instead of eating what is nutritious for our body. I am guilty too as I love my food and I have an Italian partner :p However, I am blessed to know more about Nutritional Immunology (NI) and as such is able to apply the knowledge (i.e. to increase phytosterols and fiber intake) to balance out my love for “good food”.  

PM me if you would like to know how I juggle between my love for “good food” and keeping cholesterol in check.

Cheers
YingYing • +65 9199 6825 • yingying@nutritionimmunity.com


4 thoughts on “The Natural Way to Lower Cholesterol

  1. Good article. A point: soy can be dangerous, especially regular and high consumption. No more than 2 teaspoons a day, and choose fermented soy instead of what’s available in most grocery stores (soy milk, whey protein etc.)

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      1. Hi Ying

        Soy is a good food, if you take one or two servings a day, and if it comes from a good source.

        However, most (85-90%) USA-grown soy is genetically engineered. Many also like to eat processed soy products such as whey protein or soy with formaldehyde. In large quantities (more than 10 servings a day), it also has feminizing characteristics, which is a concern for me.

        Again it is a good food, but like all good things, eat in moderation. And look at the source. Make sure it is organic and non GMO. Otherwise it can be dangerous.

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      2. Hi Heri

        You are right in pointing out it is best to consume organic and non-GMO soy. Luckily, I have managed to find a company which produces healthy wholesome fast food using only organic and non-GMO soy. PM me if you would like to know more.

        I also hear your concerns regarding feminizing characteristics of soy. This is a very common misconception about soy due to the phytoestrogens content. You can find more information from the article – Misconceptions about Soybean.

        Indeed eating in moderation is the right thing to do. We are what we eat. Unfortunately, growing affluence and the fast-paced modern lifestyle have resulted in people consuming more meat/animal proteins and not enough plant based food which also explains for the increasing trend in diseases (e.g. cancer, cardiovascular disease etc).

        Cheers
        YingYing

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