Drink this infusion of garlic, ginger and lemon to help lower cholesterol and break down these fatty deposits in the arteries. Here, we take a look at what cholesterol is, its effect on the body and how each of these ingredients can play an important role in improving cardiovascular help. First, how to prepare this infusion!
What you need:
- 4 lemons
- 1.32 gallons of water
- 4 Garlic cloves
- 1 small ginger root (1.5 inches)
How to prepare it?
- Peel the garlic and split the cloves in half.
- Thoroughly wash the lemons and cut them into small pieces without peeling them first.
- Mix these ingredients with warm water that has been boiled.
- Divide the mixture into three separate glass containers and fill them up with the remaining warm water.
- Seal them and store them in the refrigerator for three days.
- After three days have passed, strain the contents of the container and put it back in the refrigerator.
You might want to drink the liquid warm, however it is not recommended that you boil it since doing so will deactivate allicin, the active compound in garlic. Although you can either blend or chop the garlic and ginger into small pieces, chopping may be preferable as this preserves the allicin content which is released upon crushing and active for a very short time. For this reason, chewing the chopped garlic is to be encouraged! Since much of the flavanoid is in the peel of lemon, you might want to consider buying organic unwaxed lemons, grating and then adding some of the peel.
The role of cholesterol:
You’ve no doubt heard of good cholesterol and bad cholesterol but what exactly is it and what is the difference? Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy substance produced in the liver, known as a lipid and is vital for the maintenance of every cell, vitamin E and hormone production as well as for producing the bile which helps us to digest our food. The following explanation clarifies why to think in terms of good and bad cholesterol can be a little misleading, as in fact both are essential for proper functioning of the body. In order for cholesterol to benefit cells and carry out its various bodily functions, it is pumped round our body and transported to our cells in our blood where it combines with protein to become a lipoprotein. Here is the key distinction, when cholesterol attaches to protein it can either become an HDL (high density lypoprotein) or a LDL low density (lipoprotein).
LDL, often referred to as the bad cholesterol, is carried in the blood for the cells to attach to and extract all the cholesterol they need. HDL, commonly termed the good cholesterol because of its protective role, then takes over on a clean up mission of sorts, picking up any excess cholesterol in the bloodstream as it circulates and carrying it back to the liver to be reprocessed. This is important as too much LDL cholesterol is recognized as being the primary cause of atherosclerosis, the disease in which there is a narrowing and build up of plaque in the arteries. When cholesterol builds up in the artery walls, the risk to cardiovascular health is high as blood flow can be restricted to the heart and brain with the risk of a clot forming elsewhere in the body.
From this, it can be seen that it’s not really an issue of bad or good cholesterol per se, but more a case of avoiding this accumulation of fatty deposits. With the liver producing 80 % of the cholesterol that we need and only the remaining 20% coming from food it is therefore advisable to avoid too much cholesterol in our diets. Reducing saturated fats, generally found in meat and dairy and replacing them with the non-saturated fats found in plants and fish is recommended in order to lower our cholesterol intake.
What role do lemon, garlic and ginger play in cardiovascular health?
Citric flavonoids have been found to be beneficial to cardiovascular health in general. Lemon juice in particular contains significant amounts of the flavanones, hesperidin and eriocitrin, with hesperidin having a cardio-protective action and eriocitrin specifically has been shown to have a lipid‐lowering effect. Other citric fruits, which have been shown to have a similar beneficial effect are oranges which contain the flavonoid narinjin and limes.
Long renowned for it’s benefits for cardiovascular health, there is clear evidence that garlic lowers cholesterol. Many studies confirm garlic’s ability to induce changes with blood lipids, lowering both cholesterol and triglycerides levels. This is believed to be due to the active ingredient allicin and its breakdown into organic polysulfides which in turn help to generate hydrogen sulfide (H2S), the compound understood to be responsible for strengthening cardiovascular health. Some of the results of these studies have however been inconsistent, causing speculation as to how much of the active ingredient content allicin is available in some supplement forms. Although another study with a fresh clove of garlic consumed daily yielded excellent results with a 20% reduction of serum cholesterol levels.
Despite the use of ginger for health purposes going back thousands of years and having roots in Ayurvedic medicine, still relatively little is understood as to its metabolism and mechanism of action for potential therapeutic effects. That said, there have been numerous studies which have confirmed it to be effective not only for digestive issues, nausea, pain, inflammation and as a anti-carcinogenic, but also for cardiovascular health.
Studies involving animals indicate the ability of ginger to reduce LDL cholesterol levels and decrease aortic atherosclerotic lesions, from the build-up of lipid. Since ginger is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, it also makes sense that it could help with the inflammation associated with atherosclerosis which causes a narrowing of the arteries. In another double blind, controlled clinical study in 2008, volunteer patients who took ginger powder were found to have significantly lowered lipid levels.
How to consume it:
- The first few days you should just take a soup spoon full of this mixture a half hour before each meal.
- If you have no side effects you can increase this to two soup spoonfuls a half hour before each meal.
- Continue to increase the amount until you can take 50 ml. three times a day. In other words, you should not take more than 150 ml. daily
You may also like: