Back to the reader files we go with this installment of our Natural Health Blog. Readers and clients write in a lot concerning what they are taking and when with respect to their prescription drugs, and they almost always will go on to disclose a supplement (or five or ten) they are also taking.
Sometimes, we find that folks are using the natural, herbal world to make their nutrition a more complete picture. Other times they are taking something that helps to correct a disease process that is a result of a deficiency, as with iron, calcium, or vitamin D shortages.
But occasionally, we come across disclosures that raise a flag, as in the cases relating to people who are on serious prescription drugs and also supplementing from nature with highly concentrated herbal supplements or mineral compounds.
Many times, there are no interactions. In fact, some herbal supplements actually help a drug to be either better absorbed or to be more effective. An example might be people taking fish oil capsules as well as hormone replacement regimens (whether natural or herbal).
A new study has solidified blueberry’s standing as a top Superfood by finding that it has the ability to lower chronically high cholesterol levels. The study, conducted in animal models, found unequivocally that compounds in blueberries have anti-cholesterol abilities.
The study –conducted by scientists at the US Department of Agriculture—tested the effects of blueberry peels on blood cholesterol in a group of hamsters. They found that blueberries lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol by an impressive 27 percent. Also, the hamster’s levels of even-worse VLDL cholesterol significantly decreased as well. The scientists guess that blueberry’s high levels of antioxidants are likely responsible for their cholesterol-lowering effects.
To Your Health,
Cholesterol-lowering medications such as Lipitor are popular among doctors because they work quickly and have relatively few side effects. However, a pair of research studies published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” has raised serious questions about the safety of statins.
The researchers found that those that regularly took statin drugs had a significantly higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes when compared to a similar group that treated their cholesterol with lifestyle changes. They found that statins upped diabetes risk by approximately 8 percent. Importantly, the individuals taking the highest doses of cholesterol-lowering meds were also at the highest risk of diabetes –a finding that confirms the connection.
To Your Health,
Those with hypertension who like to curl up on a winter evening with a hot mug of cocoa may be doing their blood pressure a huge favor, according to a research review published in the “Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition.” In the study, researchers weighed in on the growing research linking cocoa consumption and reduced blood pressure and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.
They note that cocoa is unusually high in a special class of antioxidants known as flavanols. The paper author’s note that the flavanols found in cocoa are effective for reducing blood pressure by 5 percent or more. Cocoa flavanols also improve the health of arteries –reducing the risk of dangerous plaque formation.
All the Best,
She asked about alternatives specifically to a procedure whereby a stent is placed in a narrowing artery near the heart to keep it open.
What caught her attention was the specific phrase “stable angina.” This means that the narrowing will cause pain or tightness in the chest with exertion like exercise, although with no acute danger like you’d see in a heart attack.
One of the most common treatments for elevated cholesterol levels is to cut back on fat in the diet. However, a new study out of Loma Linda University found that this advice may be doing more harm than good. In their study they investigated the effects of eating nuts –which are rich in dietary fat—on cholesterol levels in approximately 600 adults.
They found that eating just 2.5 oz per day of nuts like almonds, walnuts and cashews was enough to reduce total cholesterol by 5 percent. Additionally, nuts reduced dangerous LDL cholesterol by an impressive 7 percent.
How do nuts work? The researchers note that nut’s abundance of “good” monounsaturated fats, fiber, antioxidants and vitamin E pool together to form a perfect storm to drop cholesterol.
Here are more simple (and delicious) ways to reduce cholesterol…
To Your Health,
It may not be the sexiest study result, but researchers from Northern Illinois University found definitively that eating healthy and exercising are guaranteed ways to dramatically lower high cholesterol levels.
The researchers found that the one-two punch of exercise and a “prudent” diet defined by eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats outperformed cholesterol-lowering medications like Lipitor.
They found that exercising at least four times per week, limiting trans and saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of total calories and consuming at least 25 g of fiber per day reduced total cholesterol by an average of 15 points. They also found that these healthy lifestyle changes reduced triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol significantly.
Have high cholesterol and are sick of taking dangerous meds? Here’s a natural method that works even better…
To Your Health,
Ginger is one of my all-time favorite foods, because it can be used in SO many ways. It is used in cuisine all over the world in almost every culture where it grows…which is all over the place since it’s so hearty.
So I thought in honor of Independence Day coning up, and to celebrate a staple of 4th of July picnics, we would look at a great recipe that combines both ginger and watermelon.
People looking for a natural way to reduce cholesterol may want to supplement with the antioxidant mineral selenium, according to an Annals of Internal Medicine research study published this week. In this study, a group of 500 older British adults were given various doses of selenium supplements. Their cholesterol was tracked over a 6-month period.
They found that taking between 100 and 200 micrograms of daily selenium modestly but significantly reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol and bumped up sagging “good” HDL cholesterol levels. The researchers note that selenium supplements are particularly beneficial to people who don’t typically consume selenium in their diet.
While supplements are good, one can also get over 180 micrograms in just 2 Brazil nuts, which is about 200% of the USRDA.
To your Health,
Lycopene, the unique antioxidant in tomatoes that’s famous for reducing prostate cancer risk, may also help drop elevated cholesterol, reports a study conducted by University of Adelaide scientists. They found that habitual consumption of lycopene-rich foods like tomatoes and papayas was as effective as low-dose statins for cholesterol reduction.
They note that lycopene is particularly effective at combating “bad” LDL cholesterol. The researchers estimate that lycopene can lower LDL cholesterol by about 10 percent. You can reach your 25 mg daily target of lycopene by eating a half a can of tomato paste, two raw tomatoes or one glass of tomato juice. Processed tomato products like tomato paste contain significantly more lycopene than raw tomatoes, and have more sodium, so fresh is best.
To Your Health,
You can lower cholesterol even more with these tips…