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Is your cholesterol too high? Would you like an alternative to medication? There is a natural way to manage your cholesterol.

I have suffered with my own health issues. I had no luck with the traditional Western model, which focuses on treating symptoms and prescribing medications.

I finally discovered a holistic, complementary approach that addressed the whole person.

It was this approach that helped me manage my health issues and my weight; It is a natural approach that looks at food not just as nourishment, but also as medicine.

I want to share with you which foods you can incorporate into a healthy eating plan that can help you reduce your cholesterol naturally.

1. Oats. An easy first step to improving your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast (preferably steel cut oats). Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol.

Current nutrition guidelines recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fiber. (The average American gets about half that amount.)

2. Whole grains. Whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease because they contain soluble fiber.

3. Beans. Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take awhile for the body to digest, meaning they keep you feeling full. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices, like  lentils, garbanzos, kidney beans — and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.

4. Nuts. Studies shows that eating nuts is good for heart health. Eating 2 ounces of nuts a day can slightly lower LDL.

5. Vegetable oils. Using liquid vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower, safflower, and others in place of fats that are solid at room temperature, like butter, lard, or shortening will help lower LDL.

6. Fruits. Fruits like apples, strawberries, and citrus fruits are rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that lowers LDL.

7. Fatty fish. Eating fish two or three times a week can lower LDL in two ways: by replacing meat, which has LDL-boosting saturated fats, and by delivering LDL-lowering omega-3 fats. Omega-3s reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream.

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