It seems when you turn on the television or open a magazine there is an advertisement for a cholesterol lowering medication. Cholesterol has become a hot-topic issue within the past several years due to research supporting its connection to heart disease and other cardiovascular issues.
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance that may be found in practically every cell within the human body. The primary responsibility of this compound is to support the production of numerous hormones, as well as the development in vitamin D and digestive enzymes.
If you have high cholesterol, you should always consult your physician regarding your diet, medications and natural therapies. One of the more exciting developments regarding cholesterol is that certain foods can actually reduce current cholesterol levels and prevent them from rising.
Two of the most compelling foods currently under research is fish oil and almonds. Preliminary evidence suggests that these two dietary sources contain compounds capable of reducing overall cholesterol levels.
Effectiveness of Almonds on Cholesterol:
The primary compound found to be beneficial for cholesterol and triglyceride reduction is polyunsaturated fatty acids. A study outlined in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that participants who consumed an average of 84 grams of almonds per day experienced a significant reduction in LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol as well as overall cholesterol levels. Although this is a preliminary study, it’s findings is promising regarding the use of almonds for high cholesterol.
Effectiveness of Fish Oil:
Fish oil has made its way into popular media as being a cardiovascular cure-all. While scientific evidence does support the use of this compound to protect and treat high cholesterol, there are limitations.
The primary active compound in fish oil are polyunsaturated fatty acids, or omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association states that polyunsaturated fatty acids have shown potential for hindering, or slowing, the development of arterial plaque. The AHA also found that the primary compound in fish oil significantly decreases triglycerides.
It is important to note that while triglycerides and cholesterol are closely linked, they are two separate compounds. Current research cannot fully support claims that fish oil directly lowers cholesterol. While preliminary research is positive, there is not enough data to clearly state fish oil reduces cholesterol.
Even so, current research does support the fact that fish oil can significantly reduce triglycerides.
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute – What Is Cholesterol?
American Heart Association – Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition – Fish Oil Attenuates the Cholesterol Induced Rise in Lipoprotein Cholesterol