4 Common Myths about High Cholesterol

For over three years now I have been in treatment for metastatic breast cancer.  It is currently in remission, though treatment continues with an Arimidex pill every day, Herceptin infusion every 3 weeks, and Lupron shot every 4 weeks.  I’ve shared in the past that the treatments have elevated my cholesterol levels.  I choose to use lower cholesterol without statins simply because I already take enough drugs, I don’t need to add another.

There are a lot of myths that surround the high cholesterol health condition. These myths are passed on through TV shows, through old books, even through out-of-date biology curricula.

Today’s leading health and science research has shown us that a lot of what we used to know about cholesterol simply isn’t true.

Here are a few of the most common high cholesterol myths.

Eggs Are Bad for Your Cholesterol Level

The health community used to recommend avoiding eggs due to their high dietary cholesterol levels. With over 200 mgs of cholesterol, it only makes sense that someone who wants to lower their cholesterol should avoid eggs – right?

Not so. Today, we know that only a tiny fraction of dietary cholesterol actually ends up in the blood stream. Eggs are actually a healthy source of proteins and contain twelve different kinds of vitamins and minerals.

It’s still not good to overdo it, but a couple of eggs a week won’t hurt.

There Is an “Ideal” Cholesterol Number

People often look for a target cholesterol number, as if there were a global ideal that’s right for everyone.

In reality, however, everyone’s body is a bit different. A smoker’s target LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels are different from a non-smoker’s. A diabetic’s target levels are different from a non-diabetic’s. So on and so forth.

Before you look online for “ideal” target levels, consult your doctor to get a target number tailored specifically for you.

Cholesterol Is Evil

Cholesterol is actually a necessary part of your body’s everyday processes. It helps line various kinds of cells in your body, including your all-important brain cells. Cholesterol also helps give cells more structural integrity.

To make a long story short, our bodies wouldn’t be able to function without cholesterol.

It’s only when LDL cholesterol levels get too high that we’re in trouble because of it.

Only the Elderly Get High Cholesterol

Another common myth is that high cholesterol is an issue mostly for the elderly.

In reality, kids as young as eight years old have been diagnosed with high cholesterol. This tends to happen in overweight, obese or sedentary kids.

Though it’s true that the rate of high cholesterol does go up with age, just because you’re younger doesn’t mean you’re safe. Make sure to get your cholesterol count from your doctor in your annual check-up, even if you’re under 30 years old.

These are a few of the most common myths that surround high cholesterol. Remember that medical information changes often as new research and data are discovered. The best source of information about high cholesterol should always come from a trusted doctor, and not through friends, family or even the internet

Lower Cholesterol without Statin Drugs

Part of my breast cancer treatment protocol is 5 years of Tamoxifen, an estrogen-blocker.  It has many side effects and I was quite hesitant to take the drug.  However, I’ve been lucky in that I only have experienced two of the drugs side effects:  hip pain and high cholesterol.

My oncologist prescribed a statin to lower my cholesterol.  It increased the hip pain.  I really like the ability to walk, so I have opted to lower my cholesterol without statin drugs.

If you are looking for natural ways to lower your own cholesterol, here are some things to try.

Lower Cholesterol Without Statin Drugs

While there are other medications that can help lower cholesterol, a lot of people, including myself, would prefer to go about it the natural way. After all, if your body’s cholesterol count went up naturally, it can go down naturally as well.

Plus, doing it naturally allows you to save money, but also helps you create real health changes that last. You also reduce the risk of side effects, like hip pain.

How do you reduce your cholesterol naturally?

Talk to Your Doctor

Before you start trying to reduce cholesterol, talk to your doctor. Figure out where your cholesterol levels are at right now and what your target cholesterol levels should be.

This will give you a good baseline to work from and a good goal to move towards. When you get your check-up next time, you’ll be able to tell whether or not what you’re doing is working.

Walking is Wonderful Exercise

Walking is Wonderful Exercise

Get More Exercise

More exercise, even if in small increments, can do wonders for your cholesterol count.

If you prefer longer exercise sessions, try to get 3-4 sessions of 30 minutes or more per week. Make sure you sustain approximately 70% of your maximum heart rate for at least 20 minutes.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to exercise all at once, you can do just 5 minutes of exercise every hour of the day. This makes it very easy to keep up with the exercise schedule because it’s in small, bite-sized chunks.

I wear a Polar Loop Activity Tracker (affiliate link) to ensure I am moving enough each day.

Reduce Your Fat Intake

Fat intake has a lot to do with high cholesterol. Doctors say that instead of eating less egg or dairy, cutting back on fat is the real key.

Eliminate all junk food from your life. Stop eating TV dinners, microwavable meals and anything that’s highly processed. Stop eating deep fried foods.

Anything that has a high fat content should be avoided.

Add More Fiber to Your Diet

Researchers have found that as little as 15 grams of fiber per day can reduce your LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels by as much as 10%.

Healthy fibers to add to your diet include vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains.

Try to add vegetables to every meal. Even just adding a small salad can go a long way. Eat fruits between meals as snacks instead of junk foods.

Finally, replace white rice or pasta with whole grains and/or beans. The transition might be difficult at first, but cooking with whole grains isn’t much more difficult than other forms of carbs.

Somebody PLEASE tell me how to make Spanish rice with brown rice!

Somebody PLEASE tell me how to make Spanish rice with brown rice!

The Great White Rice Debacle

As a woman of Asian descent, I refuse to completely give up my sticky white rice.  I can’t do it.  I have added brown rice for some meals but sticky white rice is necessary for others.

Also, my husband is of Mexican descent and he loves Spanish-style rice.  We have yet to successfully use brown rice to make Spanish rice.

If you have a recipe for Spanish rice using brown rice that you have personally used successfully, please post it in the comments!

The Bottom Line

Lowering your cholesterol without statin drugs isn’t complicated, but it does take some dedication and commitment. You’ll have to change a few things about your lifestyle. The best way to make sure you can come up with a plan and stick to it is to involve your friends and family to help you in the process.

Lower cholesterol without Statin drugs, the natural way! Click To Tweet

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Disclaimer

This article is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to his/her health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.