Having high cholesterol has been a part of my life for around 7 years right now so this subject is close to my heart.
I was first diagnosed around 2006 or 2007 and since then I’ve been on a Crestor medication (on and off).
And anybody who’s taken these types of medication will tell you it’s not good for the liver. So I’m looking for recipes to lessen my dependence on this drug.
If you’ve read my first juicing journal, you’ve probably know why I started juicing, yup high cholesterol.
So far I’ve tried around 6 recipes and counting, I’ll share them with you here.
Before I start, let’s talk a little bit about cholesterol, its harmful effects to our body and why you shouldn’t neglect this condition.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is actually a lipid or fat produced by the liver, around 1,000 milligrams per day to be exact.
In fact cholesterol is vital to our body’s function. One of those functions is the production of sex hormones. I bet you didn’t know that.
According to Harvard.edu, cholesterol has 3 main functions:
- Aids in producing the outer coating of cells
- Helps in the digestion of food in our intestine
- Helps in the production of hormones and Vitamin D which produces sex hormones in men and women
If you look at it, cholesterol isn’t bad. It is I should say vital for our bodies function but it becomes bad if there is too much of it.
Not all cholesterol is bad
There are actually two types –the good cholesterol or HDL (high-density lipoproteins) cholesterol and bad cholesterol or LDL (low-density lipoproteins).
HDL is what picks up bad cholesterol from the blood vessel and takes it to the liver where it is processed and disposed out of our system.
LDL is the cholesterol we want to get rid of because too much of it clogs up the blood vessels and arteries that can lead to cardiac arrest.
Experts say that even though we don’t eat another French fry, our liver would still produce enough cholesterol for our body to function properly.
Lifestyle is a huge factor
The problem of high cholesterol lies in our lifestyle, because of the rise of fast food and a fast-paced lifestyle; we eat more and more McDonalds than a homemade meal.
If you’ve watch the documentary Super-Size Me, it is like a death sentence.
On its own bad cholesterol cannot leave the blood vessel. It needs a protein that will take it from the blood vessel back to the liver and out of our system.
This is where HDL (high-density lipoproteins) or good cholesterol comes in. This is the type of cholesterol that we need to remove bad cholesterol from our system.
Why you should NOT ignore high cholesterol?
High cholesterol is the main culprit to diseases such as stroke, heart attack, atherosclerosis (or narrowing of the arteries) and angina.
Foods that help lower high cholesterol
Almost all fruit and vegetables will help lower down bad cholesterol levels because they contain soluble fiber that absorb dietary cholesterol.
Green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin B12 help improve circulation.
Vitamin B12 helps
Foods rich in Niacin or B3 such as avocados, kale, mushroom, asparagus, peas, sweet potato, broccoli, carrots and green pepper will help decrease cholesterol production in our system. And at the same time flush out bad cholesterol according to the World’s Healthiest Food website.
Vitamin E is one of the essentials in fighting LDL as it helps prevent oxidation of cholesterol or in simple terms it prevents cholesterol from clogging the arteries. I
It is abundant in vegetables such as spinach, squash, chard, spirulina and fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries, guava, kiwi, mango, nectarine, peaches, and papaya.
Don’t forget Vitamin C
Vitamin C that also helps prevent oxidation of bad cholesterol can be found in fruits such as mangoes, passion fruit, pineapple, strawberry, kiwi and guava. And vegetables such as kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, Bok Choi, Swiss chard and butternut squash.
Just for your reference, here are foods that can help lower bad cholesterol.
How can you lower cholesterol levels?
It takes self-discipline and a total change of your lifestyle to lower your cholesterol levels and it starts with what you put in your body:
- Avoid saturated fat and trans-fat which means no fast food and no fried food in your diet.
- Eating foods high in insoluble fiber such as whole oats, oatmeal, cereal, couscous, brown rice, celery, broccoli, onions, cabbage, dark leafy greens, and green beans will help flush out the bad stuff out of your gut. Experts at Harvard recommend that you get at least 20 to 35 grams per day.
- Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. This is a no-brainer, fruit and vegetables contain anti-oxidants that help neutralize the spread of free radicals in our system and prevent the oxidation of cholesterol (or clogging).
The next step is to increase your activity level and exercise more. According to WebMB, studies show that regular exercise help stimulate enzymes that move LDL (or bad cholesterol) from the blood vessels to the liver.
You’ll need 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity per day
The American Heart Association recommends between 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Aim for at least a moderate intensity activity like jogging, swimming, walking or biking.
While regular exercise does not guarantee to lower cholesterol because of factors out of our control like genetics, heredity and age, it can help improve overall health and reduce risk for other diseases like cancer, diabetes, stroke and obesity.
Combine exercise and the right diet
Remember to regularly exercise and eat the right food that means more fruits and vegetables, fish, legumes, oats, fat-free dairy, and omega-3 rich eggs.
Be careful when using oils – use canola, olive or grape seed oils and skip the saturated stuff because it’s bad for you.
Rika Susan shares these 10 simple tips on how to lower your cholesterol minus the medication.
If you’re under medication, ask the physician about the lowest dosage you can take so your liver won’t take a pounding and have a regular blood test to monitor cholesterol levels.
I got these recipes from juicing and health blogs around the web and I’ve TRIED every one of these recipes to give you a heads up on the flavour.
This is very important, especially to people starting out because the last thing I want to do is recommend something that tastes so bad it’ll discourage you. Juicing need not be a chore!
The recipe’s here is only meant to be a guide, don’t be afraid to experiment with the amount of fruit or vegetable you’ll put it. Of course the more vegetable you put the better.
- 2 carrots
- two celery ribs
- 2 green apples
This recipe will only yield around 375ml (a little more than a can of coke) of juice so just add a bit more if you’re juicing for 2 like I did.
You can add a watery vegetable like cucumber to dilute it further and yield more juice.
I found this recipe from Sara Ding’s blog juicing-for-health and it was sweet with a tiny bit of celery bitterness but not too much.
Important notes on preparation:
- I chopped the celery around ½” to ¾” long so it does not clog the pulp ejector (if you’re using a juicer like the Omega VRT).
- Carrots are chopped into thinner pieces so that it’ll fit the opening.
- I also chopped the green apple into small enough pieces that’ll fit in the opening. I removed the seeds and stem (just a personal preference).
- 2 green apples
- 3 celery ribs
- 2 capsicums
- 1 slice lemon (unpeeled)
This is similar to recipe 1 the difference is that this recipe used a slice of lemon and capsicum instead of carrots that completely changes the flavour. I added 3 celery ribs just to experiment, in Sara Ding’s original recipe it only called for 2.
Expect a lemony flavour with this one even though it has only one slice in it. I tried peeling the skin but I had a hard time so I just included it. It shouldn’t affect the flavour too much – with or without the peel.
If you can’t find any capsicums or if it’s too expensive, try to use bell pepper it’ll yield less juice (around 400ml) and look different but it’ll taste the same.
- 1/3 bag of spinach (around a handful)
- 1/2 bunch of parsley
- 4 carrots
- 1/2″ ginger root
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 apple
I found this recipe in Dr. Stephen Sinatra’s blog and he recommends that you take this every day. He claimed that this recipe helped lower down the cholesterol level of one person from 300mg/DL to 190mg/Dl just by taking this over a 4-week period without any medication, pretty amazing.
Any concoction that has ginger will have a kick, and this is not exception. The spiciness of this drink may not be for everyone, you could add a bit more apple to sweeten it a little bit.
Important notes on preparation:
- I chopped the parsley, spinach, ginger into shorter bits of around ½” to ¾” so that it will not clog the pulp ejector (do this if you’re using a slow juicer)
- I put in the garlic whole (peeled of course)
- 3 apples
- 4 celery ribs
- 1/4 thumb ginger
- 1/2 lemon (with skin)
- 1 orange (peeled)
- a few handfuls of spinach
The spinach, I just played by ear, you noticed in the photo that I’ve included the stems. You could also buy organic and only juice the leaves but the stems also provide added nutritional value and more juice. This recipe will yield roughly 790ml, around 2 big cups.
Update (July 2, 2014) – I’ve tried pre-washed organic spinach it didn’t come out well, it was thick, slimy, not very palatable for me. If you’re buying something that’s pre-washed go for the baby spinach instead, it’ll taste better.
It tasted a bit sweet with a hint of lemon sourness and because it has ginger, it has a bit of kick in it.
The flavour was pleasant if you ask me – a great natural energy drink to start your day off with, particularly if you didn’t get enough sleep which I didn’t get before making this drink.
- 4 carrots (peeled)
- 3 ribs celery
- 4 broccoli heads (or 1 broccoli stem)
- 1 cucumber
- one green apple
- 1 romaine lettuce (or Kale leaf)
- 1 lime (peeled)
I got this recipe from Juice Lady Cherie and it will yield roughly 625ml of juice.
This tasted like a lot like recipe 4 because it used 1 green apple and 1 lime, a bit sour and sweet. If you’re concerned with fructose then use lemon instead because it very low fructose and it masks the bitterness dark green greens have.
- 3 apples
- 2 celery ribs
- 1 cucumber
- a thumb ginger
- 1 lime
This will yield roughly 410ml which should be good for 2 people, just double the ingredients if you feel it’s not enough.
I found this recipe in JuiceRecipes.com, if you’re looking for condition-specific recipes. Visit their site as well as it contains tons of free recipes like this one. The ginger and lime will give you something sweet with a kick. You’ll barely taste the bitterness of the celery.
If you have any recipes to share, please share it below, I’d love to hear from you.