Grapefruit and Cholesterol Lowering Foods

Cholesterol lowering foods are one way to help support our heart health. The human body is amazing. Not only does it make its own cholesterol, it polices cholesterol levels; when those levels get too high, the body produces good cholesterol to counteract the bad. Unfortunately, the wide variety of foods containing cholesterol in a typical Western diet often fills a body with so much bad chloresterol that our body's police mechanisms can't keep up. The result is a high blood cholesterol level, which can lead to heart disease, the number one killer of women. Lower cholesterol is a common goal for people today.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance, created in the liver to build cell walls, create bile salts that help break down fats, create some necessary hormones and make vitamin D. For some people, lowering their cholesterol is a goal that can be achieved in a few months' time simply by eating the right foods-such as fruits like grapefruit and fat free food- while following a healthy lifestyle and exercising daily. Unfortunately, because high blood cholesterol can be hereditary, even when following the most stringent of diets, some people will not be able to lower their cholesterol without the help of medication.

Ways to lower cholesterol
Over the past decade, several foods with the ability to lower cholesterol have become the topic of discussion. Fiber is a dietary source that works quickly to lower cholesterol, but can any one food do the same?

One citrus fruit that has recently been touted as a miracle food in the fight to lower cholesterol is pink grapefruit, which can be eaten fresh, in pill form or canned. But, can eating grapefruit really lower cholesterol? Early tests say it can, but only when used properly.

In addition to exercise, eating right and living a healthy lifestyle devoid of heavy alcohol consumption and smoke-free, you can, in fact, consume grapefruit as another means of protecting yourself against high cholesterol.

While both pink and white grapefruit-fresh or juiced-have shown the ability to significantly decrease blood levels of triglycerides, it is the antioxidants in this citrus fruit, higher in all darker pigmented fruits, which are responsible for the health benefits seen to date. Therefore, if you are concerned about high blood cholesterol levels, grapefruit may be the answer for you. However, do not take grapefruit if you are already on a drug to lower cholesterol as it can interfere and cause serious damage.

Documented dangers of grapefruit
When statin drugs are taken to combat high blood cholesterol levels, grapefruits can actually inhibit the drug from working correctly. Therefore, if taking statins to control cholesterol, it is very important that you consult your physician before consuming any type of grapefruit products or pills.

Also, because cholesterol levels tend to rise as we get older, post-menopausal women as a whole will have a tougher time dealing with high cholesterol levels than when they were younger. Unfortunately, though red grapefruit does help lower high blood cholesterol levels in some instances, a new study has shed a different light on grapefruit consumption for older women, and it's anything but heartening. Preliminary tests have determined that grapefruit levels as low as one fourth of a grapefruit per day for post-menopausal women can actually inhibit the growth of the molecule called cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4), which is needed to metabolize estrogen hormones. Because too much estrogen in the body has been established as a breast cancer risk, eating grapefruit to combat high cholesterol may in fact be detrimental.

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