High cholesterol is when a person has too much of a fatty substance, known as cholesterol, in the blood. It’s mainly caused by a poor diet, not exercising enough and being overweight, but can be lowered through some simple lifestyle changes.
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Eating less fatty food, exercising more, stopping smoking and cutting down on alcohol can all help lower cholesterol.
Another way, proven in studies, is to take hawthorn berry.
Hawthorn berries are tiny fruit that grown on trees belonging to the Crataegus genus.
The berries are packed with nutrition and have been used as a herbal remedy for a range of problems, from digestive problems to high blood pressure.
Some studies have indicated that hawthorn extract can improve blood fat levels.
Two types of fat always present in the blood are cholesterol and triglycerides.
Normal levels are considered healthy and play an important role in hormone production.
But imbalanced blood fat levels, particularly high triglycerides and low HDL (good) cholesterol, can lead to atherosclerosis – a disease in which plaque builds up inside the arteries.
If plaque continues to accumulate, it could completely block a blood vessel and lead to heart attack or stroke.
In on study, mice were given two different doses of hawthorn extract, and were found to have lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, and 28 to 47 percent lower live triglyceride levels, compared with mice that didn’t receive the extract.
Another study in mice on a high-cholesterol diet showed both hawthorn extract and cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin reduced total cholesterol and triglycerides.
The extract also decreased LDL (bad) cholesterol.
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It has been noted by researchers that more human studies are needed to assess the effect of hawthorn extract on blood fats.
Other ways to lower cholesterol
While cutting down on fatty food, especially food that contains a type of fat called saturated fat.
But not all fats are bad – The NHS advises you can still have foods that contain a healthier type of fat called unsaturated fat.
It states: “Try to eat more oily fish, like mackerel and salmon, brown rice, bread and pasta, nuts and seeds, and fruits and vegetables.
“Try to eat less meat pies, sausages and fatty meat, butter, lard and ghee, cream and hard cheese, like cheddar, cakes and biscuits, and food that contains coconut oil or palm oil.”
Aiming to do at least 150 minutes of exercise a week is also advised, as well as stopping smoking.
The NHS explains: “Smoking can raise your cholesterol and make you more likely to have serious problems like heart attacks, strokes and cancer.
“If you want to stop smoking you can get help and support from your GP or the NHS Stop Smoking Service – your GP can refer you or you can ring the helpline on 0300 123 1044 (England only).
“They can give you useful tips and advice about ways to stop cravings.”
Avoiding drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week, having several drink-free days each week, and avoiding drinking lots of alcohol in a short time is also recommended.
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