Cholesterol is an important chemical that your body needs, but having too much of it in the bloodstream can cause blockages in the blood vessels of the heart that can cause angina (chest pain) or heart attack. In addition, cholesterol deposits (plaques) in the arteries supplying blood to the brain can lead to stroke. You can reduce your risk by taking supplements that can lower the total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL), and increasing the high density lipoprotein (HDL).
Artichoke Leaf Extract
According to New York University Langone Medical Center, artichoke leaf extract can improve cholesterol readings significantly. Based on a study of a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 143 people with high blood cholesterol, the total cholesterol level went down by 18 percent compared to 8.6 percent placebo group. Artichoke leaf can interfere with cholesterol synthesis by utilizing compounds such as cynarin and luteolin, where they play a role in reducing cholesterol.
Edamame, tofu and soy milk are some examples of foods that are rich in soy. Clinical studies, conducted in 1995, concluded that substituting soy protein for animal protein lowered total cholesterol, as well as LDL and triglycerides, without affecting the level of HDL, according to “Circulation,” the publication of the American Heart Association (AHA). The results are more evident in patients with higher cholesterol levels. In these controlled studies, daily soy protein consumption resulted in a 9.3 percent decrease in total cholesterol, a 12.9 percent decrease in LDL and a 10.5 percent decrease in triglycerides. A 2006 review by AHA’s nutrition committee found that an average consumption of 50g soy protein a day is necessary to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Soluble fiber is a type of dietary fiber found in oats, barley, bran, peas, citrus fruits and dietary supplements. Researchers from Harvard Medical School conducted a study of about 70 clinical studies to examine the effect of fiber on cholesterol levels. Subjects who took high soluble fiber showed reductions in both LDL and total cholesterol in 60 to 70 percent of the studies. In an average of seven weeks, participants added 1g soluble fiber to their daily diet, resulting in a decrease of LDL level by about two points.
The effect of fenugreek seeds on cholesterol levels has been documented by P. Sowmya and P. Rajyalakshmi of ANGR Agricultural University in Hyderabad, India, in a 2004 issue of the”Plant Foods for Human Nutrition” journal. The report states that the higher levels of consumptions of fenugreek seeds resulted in hypocholesterolemic effect; whereby, there is a significant reduction of total cholesterol and LDL levels with no significant changes in HDL and triglyceride levels in all subjects. Fenugreek is a seed that often comes in powdered form and is also available in capsule form. You can incorporate fenugreek seeds in cooking meals or making dips and sauces.