Medical herbalist Nicola Parker writes about maintaining cholesterol levels. Doctors medication is something most of us want to avoid. While we are extremely lucky to have many life saving medicines available to us, none of us really want to be in the position of needing to take them. As a herbalist, I’m often approached by people who want to avoid orthodox medication after a health concern has been highlighted to them. In some cases, medication is not unavoidable, if proper lifestyle and dietary measures are put in place. This is where herbal medicine can really make a difference. Our doctors monitor our cholesterol closely as we get older, as high cholesterol is linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke. Leading a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a good diet can help reduce our risk of high cholesterol and if your cholesterol levels are elevated, there a number of things you can do.
Eating a diet rich in fibre and omega 3 oils can help as well as cutting out high sugar and high fat foods. Omega 3 comes from oily fish, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and linseeds. Extra vegetables at meal times will provide more fibre as well as swapping out white bread, rice and pasta for their wholegrain counterparts. Enjoy oats at breakfast time and bulk out soups, stews, curries and mince with beans and pulses.
If this is the case, your doctor may offer you statins to help manage your cholesterol. Statins tend to be one of the less popular medications as many people don’t get on with them, reporting side effects like muscle cramps, joint pain and tiredness. Due to their lack of popularity, statins are one of the medications I see people trying to avoid most.
Once again, her GP reluctantly agreed and she began to use Cholesterol Maintenance. After two months her cholesterol went from 8.5 to 4.5 and she told me with great joy that her doctor was incredibly surprised but also happy for her to continue “whatever she was doing” as it was clearly working. I definitely believe that living in a society that gives us easy access to medication makes us incredibly lucky. Yet I also enjoy every success that involves someone taking control of their own health to avoid the need for medicine.
Some people are genetically predisposed to high cholesterol and so dietary changes alone are not always enough.
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