If your cholesterol is elevated, you're probably looking for steps you can take to help bring it down. When your "bad," or LDL, cholesterol gets too high, it begins to form a waxy, fatty buildup, called plaque, on your artery walls. Plaque restricts blood flow to your heart and can lead to heart disease, heart attack or stroke. Sometimes prescription medication is needed to bring down "bad" cholesterol, but there are dietary changes you can make to lower it as well. In particular, certain fruits are high in cholesterol-lowering antioxidants, and their juices can be an effective way to reduce the plaque caused by high cholesterol.
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Drink orange juice every day. More research is needed, but according to Dr. Phillip Chua at the Cebu Doctors' Hospital's Cardiovascular Center, daily consumption of orange juice appears to help increase "good," or HDL, cholesterol. Because HDL cholesterol helps sweep plaque out of your arteries, the higher your HDL level is, the better off you are.
Add grape juice to your diet. In a study reported in the American Heart Association journal "Circulation," purple grape juice was found to help participants' blood vessels dilate more fully, helping to prevent "bad" cholesterol from attaching to artery walls. As with orange juice, more research is needed, but these results indicate that the regular use of grape juice in your daily diet might be beneficial to your arterial plaque level.
Try pomegranate juice, which is high in antioxidants called polyphenols, which are plant compounds that help your body fight diseases and cell damage. More and larger research studies are necessary to determine the full extent of pomegranate juice's health benefits, but so far, it appears that pomegranate juice helps prevent plaque buildup in your arteries and aids in healthy blood flow.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Cebu Doctors' Hospital Cardiovascular Center; "Heart to Heart Talk"; Dr. PhillipChua; 2003
- "Circulation"; "Purple Grape Juice Improves Endothelial Function..."; Dr. James Stein et al; June 1999
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Pomegranate
- National Heart Lung and Blood Institute; High Blood Cholesterol