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Hi Lesley,

I have been diagnosed with high cholesterol. Can you please give me some advice on how to lower it  naturally as I don’t want to resort to statin drugs unless absolutely necessary




Cholesterol is a fatty substance that circulates in your blood in a complex with protein. The body needs cholesterol for many processes, such as maintaining cell membranes and producing certain hormones. But if your cholesterol level is too high, you are at risk for coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke. Consuming foods high in beta-sitosterol or taking beta-sitosterol supplements may help you lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of serious health consequences.

Beta-sitosterol is a compound called phytosterol, a fatty substance very similar to cholesterol. It is found in plant-based foods. When consumed as part of your diet, beta-sitosterol inhibits absorption of cholesterol. It does this by competing with cholesterol for uptake by the intestines, reducing intake of cholesterol by as much as 30 to 40 percent, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. In addition, consumption of beta-sitosterol and other phytosterols lowers your production of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, often called bad cholesterol.

Several large studies indicate that phytosterols such as beta-sitosterol effectively lower blood cholesterol and improve the outlook for heart health. For example, in 2000, Dr. Malcolm Law published a review in the "British Medical Journal" of 18 clinical trials with phytosterols as a possible strategy to lower LDL cholesterol. He reported that 2 g of these compounds daily lowered blood cholesterol in trial participants of all ages, resulting in an average 25 percent reduction in their risk of heart disease.

Simba. the African potato tuber (Hypoxis hemerocallidea) is rich in beta sitosterol and so supplementation with this can be useful for helping to reduce LDL cholesterol. Take one capsule, three times daily, on an empty stomach and persevere for at least 6 months before checking your cholesterol levels with a fasting test from your doctor. Simba will take around 6 to 8 weeks to get into your system and take effect so do be patient.

As part of a healthy diet, try to cut down on foods containing trans fats or saturated fats, and replace them with foods containing unsaturated fats.

Soluble fibre can be digested by your body (insoluble fibre cannot), and it may help reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood.

Good sources of soluble fibre include:

  • oats
  • beans
  • peas
  • lentils
  • chickpeas
  • fruit and vegetables

Try to include more of these foods in your diet. Aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.

An active lifestyle can also help to lower cholesterol levels so try to take regular exercise, such as walking, each day.

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