The cholesterol story began in 1951, when the Pentagon sent pathologists to Korea to study the bodies of servicemen killed in the war there.
Although almost no one under 35 dies of coronary heart disease, autopsies revealed that more than 75 percent of the soldiers, average age 21, had yellow deposits of atherosclerotic plaque on their artery walls. The Army pathologists' reports shocked the medical community because, until these autopsies, doctors had assumed these artery-clogging deposits were found only in much older men.
Soon after, cholesterol was identified as a major contributor to the buildup of plaque and to the risk of heart disease. More recently, scientists have discovered that for every 1 percent drop in cholesterol level, there is a 2 percent decrease in heart attack risk.
An estimated 25 percent of Americans have cholesterol levels high enough to place them at risk for heart attack; 10 percent have levels so high that doctors prescribe aggressive cholesterol-lowering drug treatments. But these are powerful drugs that can have negative side effects – for example, the drug Baycol was voluntarily withdrawn from the market because of reports of serious, sometimes fatal, muscle reaction. Doctors are far less likely to tell you Green Pharmacy ways to reduce your heart disease risk.
The Green Pharmacy Way
Here are just some of the foods and herbs that can help bring your levels down:
- Carrot (Daucus carota)
- Avocado (Persea americana)
- Beans (Phaseolus, various species)
- Garlic (Allium sativum)
- Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)
- Sesame (Sesamum indicum)
- Shiitake (Lentinus edodes)