What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is made mainly by the liver and is a fatty substance that’s vital for normal bodily functions. Cholesterol can also be found in some foods and having high cholesterol levels can lead to more serious health conditions. High levels of cholesterol can cause a build-up in the artery walls and restrict blood flow around the body and to vital organs. Having high overall levels of cholesterol can increase the risk of:
- Heart attacks
- Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) – sometimes referred to as a mini-stroke.
- Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
What Causes High Cholesterol?
High cholesterol can be caused by a number of things, usually, these are lifestyle choices that can be rectified in order to reduce your cholesterol levels.
- Unhealthy Diet – Eating lots of saturated fats can increase cholesterol levels.
- High Blood Pressure – People who suffer from high blood pressure, should be mindful of their cholesterol levels.
- Smoking – Cigarettes contain a chemical that stops the movement of cholesterol from fatty deposits to the liver.
Good and Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol is carried in the arteries attached to proteins called lipoproteins. There is a good type and a bad type of lipoproteins. The good type is called: High-density lipoprotein (HDL) and the bad type is called low-density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL (the good type) helps collect the bad type of cholesterol from the arteries as it travels around your body and dispenses the LDL in the liver to be broken down. Often, if you’re diagnosed as having high cholesterol, the main goal is to lower the LDL levels and raise the HDL levels in order to improve your total cholesterol level.
How to Naturally Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Beans are full of soluble fibre, and this soluble fibre helps bind cholesterol and drags them out of the body. Beans can take a while to be digested in the body as well, meaning you’ll feel fuller for longer, which leads us onto our next point:
Losing weight can be beneficial for your overall health, but according to one study, weight loss on any of the three diets tested increased the absorption of cholesterol and thus decreasing the risk of heart disease.
Drink Alcohol In Moderation
We’ve discussed the benefits of tequila, and beer before and with everything in life, moderation is key. Drinking in moderation has been linked to higher levels of HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is often called “good cholesterol” because it removes the bad cholesterol from places in your body that it shouldn’t be.
Omega-3 is often found in high levels in fatty fish, this acid can help reduce the risk of blood clots and reduce your blood pressure. While Omega-3 fatty acids might not affect your LDL cholesterol levels, the British Heart Foundation recommends eating at least two portions of fish each week.
We all know smoking is bad for you in lots of different ways, but did you know it can affect your cholesterol levels? Smoking cigarettes can increase the level of LDL cholesterol (the bad type), and over time can cause a waxy plaque to build up in your arteries making it harder for your heart to push blood around your body. If you’re struggling to stop smoking, get in touch with one of our hypnotherapists.
Regular exercise has so many benefits for your health, but it’s also a great way to lower your LDL levels and raising your HDL levels. In order to lower your LDL levels, you must combine exercise with a healthy diet and weight loss. Some studies have shown that aerobic exercises seem to lower LDL cholesterol levels by 5-10% and raising HDL cholesterol levels by as much as 3-6%. Struggling to find time to exercise? Try exercising while doing the housework
Nuts such as almonds can help improve your blood cholesterol and while they’re high in calories, a small portion as a snack or in a salad can have a positive impact on your heart health. Contact one of our nutritionists’ for advice and a full nutritional diet plan.
Arthritis put simply, is when your joints are affected by inflammation and is usually seen in adults over the age of 65 but can also occur in children, teens and younger adults. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, the two most common forms are Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis.
Arthritis can become painful, especially if you’ve had it for an extending period of time, and while there is no cure there are some natural ways to relieve some of the pain and movement restrictions.
Arthritis is more common in people who are overweight. This is because the extra weight can cause more pressure on your joints, especially on feet, hips and knees. Reducing this extra weight could improve the pain, increase your mobility and reduce any future damage to your joints.
Exercise will help you lose weight but it also has other benefits. Regular exercise and movement can help maintain joint flexibility. Swimming and water aerobics are ideal because the low impact exercises won’t add further pressure or stress to your joints. Be careful with weight-bearing exercises, such as running and walking as these can cause more damage to your joints.
Include Turmeric to your diet
Turmeric is spice often found in Indian dishes and this yellow spice has a plethora of benefits. Curcumin, found in turmeric, may help reduce the pain associated with arthritis as it contains anti-inflammatory properties. Research into Turmeric has seen a reduction in joint inflammation.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese holistic healing system and is used to treat hundreds of conditions. Acupuncture is the practice of rerouting energies and restoring the natural balance within your body. Acupuncture has been used to help with the pain often associated with Arthritis. Find out more about the acupuncture.
Hot & Cold Therapy
Hot and cold therapy can have a massive effect on arthritis-related pain. Warm showers or baths can reduce stiffness in joints and using an electric blanket at night can help loosen up your joints. Cold therapy can be used for alleviating swelling and inflammations in joints. Simply use a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel and place it on the joints for quick pain relief.
Regular massaging of joints can help ease the stiffness and pain associated with arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Our Massage Therapists are experienced with treating arthritis sufferers and will work with you to best target the pain and ensure you’re comfortable.
Treating Osteoarthritis with Osteopathy
Osteoarthritis (OA) or commonly referred to as ‘Wear and Tear’ is a long-term condition that can affect the majority of the joints in your body. OA mostly affects the joints that experience a lot of impact through weight-bearing such as the knees, hips, toes and low back; however, it can also be present in the fingers, elbows and your spine etc.
When people suffer from Osteoarthritis one regular co-existing feature is muscular tightness around the affected joint. Your Osteopath can help to release the areas of tight muscles using massage and stretching techniques which can then reduce some of the symptoms that you are experiencing.
Your Osteopath may also use traction and articulatory based techniques which are designed to improve the movement of the joints, but they also help to improve blood flow and lymphatic drainage of the affected area. This can then allow the joint to mobilise more efficiently and reduce some of the swelling that is causing your pain.
The stereotypical assessment by an osteopath involves not only assessing the area of discomfort, but they will also look around the problem area to find out why this section of your body may have been subject to extra stresses and strains. This allows them to pick up on any issues with your movement patterns, posture and other joints/muscles that may be leading to the excessive impact and provide you with treatment, advice and exercise to improve upon their findings, and in turn, create a longer term preventative approach to your pain.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that does require self-help to reduce the impact that it has on your life, however, an Osteopath may be able to give you the tools so that you know how to manage your pain and prevent it from worsening.
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