Are you concerned about cholesterol? Who of us isn't? About 1 out of every 6 American adults may have elevated blood levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol. When you have too much of this necessary, fat-like substance in your blood, it can build up on your artery walls and put you at greater risk for more serious heart conditions. Sadly, there are no symptoms that suggest your cholesterol levels may not be in a normal range. And many people have never even had their cholesterol checked.
In addition to targeted lifestyle changes, here are some nutrients that you may be surprised to find can also help maintain healthy levels of LDL cholesterol:
- Plant sterols. Research has shown that plant sterols inhibit intestinal absorption of dietary cholesterol (meat, dairy) and cholesterol produced within the body itself. But it may be hard to reach the recommended 2 grams (2,000 mg) daily through dietary measures alone. For example, a 1-oz. serving of almonds, 1/2 cup Brussels sprouts, and 2 slices of rye bread added together provide only 100 mg of plant sterols.
- Red yeast rice. Monascus pupureus is yeast grown on rice that is part of the everyday diet in many Asian countries. It has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine for a number of uses including support for blood circulation.
- Vitamin K2. You may be familiar with this nutrient's role in bone formation and reduction of bone loss. It's also the form of vitamin K that's been shown to help protect against oxidation of LDL cholesterol caused by free radicals. (Oxidized LDL can lead to inflammation, tissue damage, and plaque buildup in the arteries.) *Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Fish oils are often recommended to support healthy blood lipid levels (cholesterol, triglycerides) and overall health.
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