Research has clearly shown that lowering cholesterol can reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Whether you have heart disease already or want to prevent it, you can reduce your risk of having a heart attack by lowering your cholesterol level.
The American Heart Association says it’s important to pay attention to exercise, and a proper diet that is low on foods that contain cholesterol and saturated fats. That means eating better and improving lifestyle. Speak to your health care providers to make sure your cholesterol is being monitored and find out how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you stay healthy.
Several Chinese herbs and herbal formulas are used to lower cholesterol levels. Shan Zha (Fructus Crataegi) also known as Hawthorn berry, has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.
Most herbal medicines are a blend of herbs specifically chosen for each individual. Please talk to your practitioner about which herbal formulas and supplements for high cholesterol and heart health are right for you.
Causes of High Cholesterol
Three nutrients in your diet make LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels rise:
- Saturated fat, a type of fat found mostly in foods that come from animals
- Trans fat, found mostly in foods made with hydrogenated oils and fats such as stick margarine
- Cholesterol, which comes only from animal products
Learn how to read a food label – Choose foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.
Excess weight tends to increase your LDL level. Also, it typically raises triglycerides, a fatty substance in the blood and in food and lowers HDL. Losing the extra pounds may help lower your LSL and triglycerides while raising your HDL.
Being physically inactive contributes to overweight and can raise LDL and lower HDL. Regular physical activity can raise HDL and lower triglycerides and can help you lose weight and, in that way, help lower your LDL.
Participate in physical activity of moderate intensity—like brisk walking—for at least 30 minutes on most, and preferably all, days of the week. No time? Break the 30 minutes into three, 10-minute segments during the day.
Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, contact your acupuncturist to help you quit.
Your Cholesterol Level
You can have high cholesterol and not realize it. Most of the 65 million Americans with high cholesterol have no symptoms. So it’s important to have your blood cholesterol levels checked. All adults age 20 and older should have their cholesterol levels checked at least once every 5 years. If you have elevated cholesterol, you’ll need to have it tested more often.