Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in the wall of cells in all parts of the body, the body needs cholesterol to make hormones, bile acids, vitamin D, and other substances.
Now, cholesterol need lipoproteins to travel around the body to the parts where is needed, we have two types of lipoproteins:
- Low Density Lipoprotein or LDL, also known as the “bad” cholesterol because carries cholesterol to tissues, including the arteries.
- High Density Lipoprotein, or HDL, which is also called “good” cholesterol, and low levels of HDL also increases the risk of heart disease.
Heart disease is the number one killer of American men and women, and cholesterol increases the risk for heart disease. The higher your cholesterol level, the greater your risk.
If there is too much cholesterol in the blood, some of the excess builds up in the artery walls and is called plaque. This condition narrow vessels and make them less flexible, a condition called atherosclerosis.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute there are three key components when treating high LDL cholesterol called TLC, or Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes. The TLC Program has three parts:
Add plant stanols and sterols and increase soluble fiber.
Decrease saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.
- Physical activity, 30 minutes a day
- Weight management.
Heart Healthy Eating Plan
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one large egg has about 186 mg milligrams of cholesterol — all of which is found in the yolk.
Consider the recommended daily limits on cholesterol in your food:
- If you are healthy, consume no more than 300 mg of cholesterol a day.
- If you have diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease, limit the daily cholesterol intake to no more than 200 mg a day.
- Less than 7% of your daily calories from saturated fat
- Less than 200 mg a day of cholesterol
- 25–35 percent of daily calories from total fat (includes saturated fat calories)
- Diet options you can use for more LDL lowering
- 2 grams per day of plant stanols or sterols
- 10–25 grams per day of soluble fiber
- Only enough calories to reach or maintain a healthy weight
- In addition, you should get at least 30 minutes of a moderate intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, on most, and preferably all days of the week.
Eating your way to lower cholesterol (according to Harvard)
As with soluble fiber, plant stanols and sterols help block the absorption of cholesterol from the digestive tract, which help to lower LDL without affecting HDL or triglycerides. They are found in many cereals, legumes, nuts and seed, also yogurt and spreads are being fortified with these compounds.
A Harvard research show that a daily intake of about 2 grams of stanols or sterols reduces LDL cholesterol by about 5-15%, often within weeks, also a specific study in lab animals showed that oral administration of Moringa Oleifera extract produced significant reduction in elevated levels of body weight, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL. There was also increase in HDL.
Moringa is rich in Beta-Sitosterol, which is very similar in structure to cholesterol, therefore, compete for absorption in the intestines. In addition Moringa contains powerful antioxidants such as Zeatin and Quercetin, -among other antioxidants- which neutralize free radicals and by this biochemical way, relieves inflammation.
Moringa is a natural 100% herbal alternative that can help you in your path to reduce cholesterol, and can give you many benefits when used as part of a healthy lifestyle including healthy diet, physical activity and weight management.
Note: If the TLC program recommended by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute doesn’t work or you are in high risk, your physician most likely will start treatment with medications to lower your LDL to a safe level for you, remember that you shall always consult your physician about your very own medical needs, and before using this or any other herbal supplement.
To know more:
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. "Your Guide to Lowering Your Cholesterol with TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes)." National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD(2006).
Eating you way to lower cholesterol. Foods fortified with plant sterols or stanols can help nudge down high cholesterol. (2006). Harvard Heart Letter : From Harvard Medical School, 16(7), 3.
Rajanandh, M. G., Satishkumar, M. N., Elango, K., & Suresh, B. (2012). Moringa oleifera Lam. A herbal medicine for hyperlipidemia: A pre–clinical report. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease, 2, S790-S795.
Chumark, P., Khunawat, P., Sanvarinda, Y., Phornchirasilp, S., Morales, N. P., Phivthong-ngam, L., ... & Klai-upsorn, S. P. (2008). The in vitro and ex vivo antioxidant properties, hypolipidaemic and antiatherosclerotic activities of water extract of Moringa oleifera Lam. leaves. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 116(3), 439-446.