High cholesterol levels are common among aging adults. High cholesterol can contribute to the formation of many ailments, including cardiovascular disease and strokes. Pharmaceutical treatments for cholesterol have intense side effects, are not always effective, and do not address the root biological processes that raise cholesterol levels in the first place.
Some plant-based treatments for lowering cholesterol have proven effective in laboratory settings. One of the most effective foods for cultivating healthy cholesterol levels is turmeric.
Turmeric is a bitter, aromatic rhizome from the ginger family. It is native to Southeast Asia and India, but now cultivated in tropical regions all over the world. Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, and anti-cancer properties. And it can help with the struggle for healthy cholesterol levels.
Inflammation is a key factor in cholesterol production. It is inflammation that causes the cholesterol to get stuck in our arteries. If there were no inflammation present in our bodies, the cholesterol would be more likely to move freely out through the elimination system.
In a healthy internal environment, inflammation is a natural immune system response to illness or injury. Foreign invaders such as toxins and bacteria are attacked by inflammatory enzymes so they cannot damage other cells. Once the danger has been neutralized, the inflammatory enzymes chill out, and the immune system goes back into rest mode.
But when we are constantly absorbing toxins from inflammatory or sugary food, stress, or our environment, chronic inflammation develops. It is this inflammation that contributes to cholesterol build-up. The build-up of cholesterol triggers more inflammation, which sets off a cycle that slowly narrows our arteries.
Turmeric is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory plants known to man. It is as effective as anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drugs, without the nasty side effects.
2. LDL Cholesterol
Cholesterol is transported through the body by molecules called lipoproteins. Not all lipoproteins are created equal. We actually want HDLs (high-density lipoproteins), which carry cholesterol away from the heart to the liver, where it can be metabolized and removed from the body.
LDLs (low-density lipoproteins), on the other hand, are the dangerous little guys we want to reduce. LDLs combine with other cells to produce the plaque that sticks to artery walls and creates heart disease.
The higher our LDL to HDL ratio, the more likely we are to have increasingly high cholesterol levels and heart disease.
Turmeric reduces LDL levels in the body. The curcuminoids in turmeric act as messenger molecules that direct the genes in liver cells to increase the production of messenger proteins (mRNA). These mRNA then command the creation of more LDL receptors in the liver. As more LDL receptors are created in the liver, more LDL can be cleared from the body.
3. Cholesterol Absorption and Removal
In addition to inspiring the absorption and elimination of LDL cholesterol, turmeric directly interferes with the absorption and metabolism of cholesterol by other cells in the body. This means the cholesterol is less likely to be deposited in fat cells and more likely to pass right out through the elimination process.
Triglycerides are a type of fat that is formed when more glucose is present in the bloodstream than can be used for energy or stored in muscle cells. Anytime we eat more carbohydrates, especially sugar, than we can burn immediately or store in our muscle cells, those extra glucose (blood sugar) cells are turned into a dense form of fat called triglycerides.
The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has proven effective at reducing triglyceride levels. This is probably because turmeric increases the bodys sensitivity to insulin. When insulin sensitivity is high, more glucose is burned instead of being stored or transformed into triglycerides.
5. Liver Detoxification
The healthier our livers, the more our bodies can easily pass cholesterol out through the elimination system rather than having it circulate and clog our arteries. Curcumins anti-bacterial and anti-toxic properties support the livers natural detoxification process.
Curcumin also increases the number of liver receptors and enzymes that are involved in the breakdown of fats. Specifically the enzyme 7-alpha-hydroxylase, crucial for the process of breaking down cholesterol in the liver, is boosted by the presence of turmeric in the diet.
Dietary consumption of turmeric is safe for most people. Have black pepper with your turmeric to increase your bodys ability to absorb the curcuminoids in it.
If you choose to supplement with turmeric, take an organic, food-based form that includes bromelain or black pepper, to make the turmeric more bio-available. Consult your doctor before intensive supplementation. Turmeric supplementation is not advised if you are taking blood-thinning medications. Stop taking turmeric supplements at least two weeks before a surgery to avoid excessive bleeding.
Turmeric is truly one of natures most healing foods. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-cancer food. And it adds a wonderful flavor to raw and cooked dishes. Turmeric is also proving itself to be a powerful ally in the quest for healthy cholesterol levels.
Learn how to prepare this simple and delicious chickpea curry using turmeric as an ingredient.