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October – National Cholesterol Month

Are you someone who is concerned about your elevated cholesterol but not really sure if, or how you can help yourself naturally. There are ways in which you can help your body maintain a healthy balance, which includes a balanced cholesterol level.

So what is cholesterol?  It is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in all cells of the body. The liver makes most of the cholesterol the body requires, with a small amount made by the lining of the small intestine and individual cells of the body, it can also be taken into the body by the food we eat.

There are two types of cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream – HDL (High Density Lipids) and LDL (Low Density Lipids). The HDL are the helpful ones, forming a part of the hormone messaging system so are considered healthy. The LDL levels are the ones which must be kept low in order to prevent arterial plaque and atherosclerosis. Furring of the arteries is the end result of high cholesterol levels which leads to heart valve disease, stroke and other potentially fatal conditions.

Cholesterol is essential, it forms part of every cell in the body and serves many vital functions. Our bodies need cholesterol to maintain healthy cell walls, it is the major precursor for the synthesis of vitamin D and of the various steroid hormones (which include cortisol and aldosterone in the adrenal glands, the sex hormones progesterone, the various estrogens, testosterone, and derivatives). It also aids in the manufacture of bile (which is stored in the gallbladder and helps digest fats) it is important for the metabolism of fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E and K.

As you can see cholesterol is not the bad boy it is portrayed to be. However, elevated blood cholesterol is a very different story, it is a widespread problem today and can lead to blocked arteries and stroke. It is commonly treated with drugs that have unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects.

There are ways you can help yourself in reducing your cholesterol levels. Elevated cholesterol is thought to be the by-product of eating foods with high levels of saturated fat, usually fatty animal products like fatty meats, bacon, eggs, sausages and fried foods, so careful attention to diet and a reduction of these foods can help in reducing high levels.

Increasing your levels of exercise aiming for at least 20 minutes a day can have a beneficial effect on your cholesterol levels. You can achieve this if you find something you enjoy doing rather than joining a gym with all good intention only to give up after the first couple of sessions. Do something that makes you feel good, take a 20 min walk in a park or along the beach in your lunch break, nature is an amazing “pick me up” if you take the time to enjoy it. Dance, again you don’t need to join a class (unless you want to ) you can do this in your kitchen, just put on the music you danced to in your youth and move that body, however you choose to do it, find the fun in movement you are more likely to stick to it if it is something you enjoy.

Following a 5 or 7 day juice cleanse program will not only help to reduce your cholesterol, it will cleanse the blood stream, kicking off the bodies own natural healing mechanism. There are lots of natural juice therapists out there now who will help you choose a programme that is right for you and support you if necessary.

Use this special month to learn all you can about the good and bad of cholesterol and how you can turn your situation around,  you owe it to yourself to live a life free from disease, we were never designed to spend as much time dying as we spend living.