My family has a long history of high cholesterol, as the Caribbean diet is legendary for its use of lard and higher fat cuts of meat. My grandmother and grandfather on both sides struggle with keeping their cholesterol in check, so as soon as I became old enough to understand how important cholesterol control is, I vowed to make it my duty to ensure that neither I nor any more of my family members fall prey to arterial plaque.
You might be predisposed to high cholesterol as I am, or maybe your diet could stand some improvement. Regardless, there are a few key points on cholesterol that I try to keep in focus:
- LDL, or “bad” cholesterol deposits on the walls of the arteries, forming plaque that make them hard and narrow. HDL, or “good” cholesterol removes excess LDL in your blood and brings it to your liver for disposal. The more HDL you consume, the less LDL you’ll have in your blood.
- Medication may help to reduce cholesterol, but eating a heart-healthy diet and getting exercise are also key steps in lowering your cholesterol intake. And oftentimes, when people change their diets, they find their dependency on medications dramatically reduced or even eliminated completely.
- Cholesterol should be checked regularly – point blank, guys! It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, female or male, thin or overweight, high cholesterol won’t discriminate and everyone is susceptible.
I found it hard to reform my grandparents for they are terribly set in their ways. So I researched and found a juice combination that is purported to raise HDL, lower LDL, and help to reduce build up in the arteries. Several studies have shown that pomegranate juice reduces cholesterol plaque buildup and increases nitric oxide production (nitric oxide helps reduce arterial plaque).
Also, the antioxidants in grape juice have been shown to slow down LDL cholesterol oxidation, and the antioxidants in cranberry juice raises HDL, or “good” cholesterol. Together these three juices are an unbeatable heart-health tag team duo!
Unlike some other juice combinations that are slightly hard to swallow, the combination of pomegranate, grape and cranberry juice is delicious. And now that it’s summer, I have begun freezing this juice medley in Popsicle molds to enjoy them on a hot day. Who says living heart healthy isn’t fun?!
Photo attribute: Fernando Creative Design