Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Three Keys to Lowering Cholesterol without Statins

Conscious diet, regular exercise, and stress reduction are the essential keys to lowering cholesterol without drugs. Although statins are sometimes necessary to produce a 'quick fix' and may even have ancillary protective effects besides lowering cholesterol – it's still a 'western' approach, in that it alleviates symptoms, without addressing the real causes. Taking statins doesn't prompt the evolution of consciousness and transformation of mind and body needed for true healing.
Adopting a healing diet means taking a conscious approach to nourishment – considering what's best for mother earth and also developing more 'compassion in the kitchen.' For example, when peoples like the native Americans feasted upon animal flesh, at least they remembered to give thanks to their prey for 'giving their life' – hardening of the arteries was largely unknown to these primitive, but more spiritually connected people.
Notably, among the titans of history there are many vegetarains including Leonardo da Vinci, Plato, Pythagoras, Albert Einstein, Albert Schweitzer, Percy Bysse Shelley, George Bernard Shaw... the list goes on and on.
There are also world-champion athletes, runners, triathletes, body-builders, and power lifters who insist on a vegetarian diet. There's a wonderful lightness of being that accompanies judicious vegetarianism, resulting in not just healthy cholesterol levela – but general improvement in bodily functions.
Aside from making better choices than animal flesh - and eating local, in-season produce – including soluble fiber – especially oats – is key to lowering cholesterol. Beta glucans, which concentrate the most powerful part of the oat bran, bind to fat in your stomach, and carry out some of the bile acids in your stomach associated with cholesterol production.. Soluble fiber, like oats keep fat from reaching your liver. By lowering the amount of cholesterol your liver produces, artery-clogging “bad” cholesterol never reaches your blood stream.
Sources of soluble fiber include: Oat and oat bran, legumes (dried beans and peas), nuts, barley, rye, flaxseed,,fruits (i.e. oranges, apples, prunes, plums, berries),vegetables (i.e. carrots, broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions) and psyllium husk. bitter herbs such as dandelion, turmeric, and goldenseal also help by promoting the regular flow of bile
Energetically, the liver benefits from expressions of Joy; and is weakened by anger, especially if pent-up. (See Live in Harmony with Nature for a Healthy Heart for ways to transmute negative emotion.). One big fight with your spouse equals consuming a large steak!
Research also points to the importance of stress reduction. African Masai of the former Tanganyika and Jewish sects in Yemen, thrived on fat-laden, high-cholesterol diets, but never got heart disease until they emigrated from their native countries and adopted a Western lifestyle.
When researchers from San Antonio's School of Aerospace Medicine in San Antonio, Texas conducted studies to determine whether stress might be a factor in elevating cholesterol, their research conclusively confirmed it: They found that cholesterol increases after only one hour of either emotional or physical stress, such as overexposure to cold. Worse, they found that if you stay stressed for a few hours, your cholesterol can remain high for more than a week. When people were sent to Hawaii and fed two eggs a day, their high cholesterol levels dropped and remained low until they returned home and resumed their normal lifestyles. Studies conducted at Stanford Research Center and Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco also showed that cholesterol levels increase in medical students before exams and in accountants before tax time every year.
How does exercise help improve cholesterol levels? High-density lipoproteins (HDLs) are considered to be beneficial since they sweep the blood of excess fat and cholesterol. The biggest effect of exercise on improving cholesterol levels is boosting HDLs (and lowering triglycerides). But to give HDL levels a good boost above the baseline, exercise must be regular and expend enough energy to burn at least 800 to 1,200 calories per week. Any aerobic exercise—from walking and running to swimming and cycling—counts. Walking at three miles in an hour burns about 300 calories, on average. To meet the threshold then, a person needs to walk around eight to 12 miles a week, or do some other aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes on six or more days per week