Our cardiovascular health is essential, and we must preserve it as best as possible. Plants can be real allies in the face of cholesterol and hypercholesterolemia. Here is a list of the best herbs for cholesterol and their uses for it.
What is “bad” cholesterol?
LDL cholesterol is a harmful form of cholesterol, commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol”. This form of low-density cholesterol can cause cardiovascular disease and other health issues. Indeed, in large quantities, bad cholesterol increases the risk of a cardiovascular event manifold.
In practice, bad cholesterol escapes from the liver where it cannot be fully processed and attaches to blood vessels, arteries, and organs. Conversely, the “good” cholesterol is responsible for transporting it to the liver for elimination. A balanced diet should make it possible to maintain a normal blood cholesterol level.
However, due to an unhealthy diet rich in saturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids, millions of people, especially in the west, suffer from hypercholesterolemia.
The best plants for cholesterol
Fortunately, there are some herbs and natural solutions that help us maintain normal cholesterol levels, and even reduce the level of LDL cholesterol, harmful to cardiovascular health.
Turmeric is a root that is converted into a spice to flavor and color many dishes. Many studies show that turmeric has a preventive effect on the oxidation of bad cholesterol (source). More generally, turmeric helps lower blood cholesterol levels. Curcumin, its major active ingredient, is responsible for these effects.
Turmeric is also a powerful natural antioxidant, which provides major benefits for health in general. In particular, it reduces blood pressure and contributes to the loss of fat mass. These two factors worsen high cholesterol and increase cardiovascular risk (source).
Ginger is a different kind of spice, which can be used to prevent and fight against bad cholesterol. Indeed, it is an excellent natural antioxidant, which protects against cardiovascular diseases (source). It also supports the digestion process, which allows less assimilation of fats present in the diet. In this regard, it goes particularly well with garlic (we will come back to this) and honey.
Ginger is also an excellent anti-inflammatory drug that prevents lipid peroxidation and prevents the synthesis of bad cholesterol by the liver (source). It can therefore help prevent excess cholesterol or regulate it when it is too present in the body. Gingerol, the plant’s major active ingredient, is the source of these cardiovascular health benefits.
3. Omega 3
Omega 3s can be of tremendous help in preventing and controlling cholesterol. They are found in fish (fish oil) and seafood, but also in certain vegetable oils such as linseed, perilla, hemp, camelina, or walnut oils. Omega 3s are known to help fight high blood pressure, sometimes caused by excess blood cholesterol. They also help reduce triglyceride levels in the blood by 15-30% (source).
Essential fatty acids, which belong to the omega 3 family, prevent and limit the formation of cholesterol clusters and plaques in different areas of the cardiovascular system: arteries, blood vessels, etc. In addition, these fatty acids help transport bad cholesterol to the liver, in order to maintain cardiovascular health (source).
4. Milk thistle
Milk thistle is one of the best plants for the liver, to support its efforts and to keep it from disease. As we know, it is the liver that processes and eliminates a large part of bad cholesterol. Milk thistle is a very popular herbal remedy for cholesterol, due to its ability to break down fats, triglycerides, and excess cholesterol (source). Milk thistle is one of the best herbs against cholesterol, and it is easily found in capsules or tablets (food supplements). It is also very safe.
Among the best plants against cholesterol is artichoke. In addition to being delicious, it contains fibers that limit the assimilation of fatty substances after meals. It is also purifying and helps eliminate excess fat in the body. The artichoke also promotes good blood circulation and helps to decongest the liver, thus promoting its work on digestion.
Artichoke also has beneficial properties on digestive health, and in particular its leaf. Regular consumption of artichoke is known to lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood and increase good cholesterol (source). The artichoke is ideally combined with garlic as part of the fight against cholesterol and the regulation of blood lipids.
Garlic is also one of the best plants against cholesterol. It is often associated with artichoke in delicious cooking recipes…! Its properties are considerable even though a lot of people neglect it because of its strong smell. Its regular consumption allows benefiting from its vasodilator virtues which facilitate blood circulation (source).
Garlic is to be consumed in prevention and in the event of hypercholesterolemia, in particular, to reduce blood pressure. Do not hesitate to integrate it into your diet on a more regular basis for its many benefits!
Soy (and in particular soy lecithin) often offered as food supplements to people with hypercholesterolemia is also a plant to be favored against cholesterol. It greatly contributes to reducing the cholesterol level of people who consume it. It is also known that soya lecithin promotes the solubilization of fatty substances in the body, of which cholesterol is a part (source).
Soy also helps prevent the deposition of cholesterol in the arteries and blood vessels. In general, soy products help lower LDL cholesterol levels in the body. They have a beneficial effect on the blood lipid level.
Laurel lends flavor to your meat dishes but is also one of the best plants against cholesterol. Indeed, this aromatic herb helps to reduce the fats present in the body. Its consumption leads to a considerable reduction in blood triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels. Laurel also has the effect of increasing the level of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).
To benefit from its benefits, it is enough to integrate it more regularly into your diet. Use it in your dishes or in herbal tea!
Dandelion is a very often overlooked plant. However, it has many health benefits! Its virtues are very useful for people considered at risk of suffering from hypercholesterolemia or who already suffer from it. It limits the absorption of fats and lipids by the body and increases basal metabolism. In herbal tea or in food supplements, dandelion is very easily consumed. Talk to your doctor about it if you are looking for natural remedies for cholesterol.
Cinnamon is a unique spice, as its taste is particular. It is very rich in natural antioxidants, which help fight against a number of cardiovascular pathologies (source). In addition, studies show that this herb is useful for lowering blood carbohydrate levels and thus fighting cholesterol. It also helps lower triglycerides and LDL cholesterol (source). Cinnamon can easily be integrated into the diet through gourmet recipes or through food supplements that contain it.
11. Vitamin B3
Present in some plants, vitamin B3 (niacin or vitamin PP) is ideal for fighting against hypercholesterolemia. It helps to significantly increase the level of HDL cholesterol (up to 30%) and to reduce the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) as well as triglycerides (source). These effects are linked to the presence of nicotinic acid in the composition of this vitamin (source).
Niacin also helps prevent the recurrence of stroke. However, one should not attempt to self-medicate here: an overdose can also have harmful effects. Ask your doctor for advice.
However, you can increase your natural intake of niacin by integrating it more broadly into your eating habits. Vitamin B3 is found in brewer’s yeast, sesame seeds, peanuts, wheat germ, sunflower seeds as well as in avocado, peas, mushrooms, and whole grains. Do not hesitate to integrate these foods into your diet to fight against cholesterol!
Ideal against digestive disorders, licorice is a plant that can be favored to prevent and fight against cholesterol. Indeed, its regular consumption (in the form of ground licorice) considerably reduces the level of cholesterol present in the blood plasma. If licorice powder can have many other uses, it remains beneficial in the context of cardiovascular prevention. However, it should not be abused, as it has the effect of diluting the blood and increasing blood pressure.
Phytosterols are plant sterols (plant lipids) whose structure is similar to that of cholesterol. According to some research, plant sterols may help lower cholesterol levels by restricting the amount of cholesterol that is allowed to enter the body. Some plant sterols may also have the additional benefit of reducing the amount of cholesterol produced by the body.
Plant sterols are often used to decrease cholesterol levels in the population. Other disorders for which plant sterols are prescribed include heart disease, colon cancer, stomach cancer (including gastric cancer), obesity, heart attack, and a variety of additional ailments. However, there is little scientific evidence to support many of these other applications.
There are many beneficial herbs against LDL cholesterol and its harms. Some of them can easily be integrated into a healthy and balanced diet. For others, supplementation is an avenue to explore. However, no plant can replace medical follow-up in case of hypercholesterolemia or cardiovascular problem. Ask your doctor for advice.