Susan Sarandon: Star’s “natural” cholesterol-lowering remedy to avoid “serious problems”
The nine-time Emmy nominee shot to fame in the 1970s and was soon nominated for her first Oscar for her role in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. One of his most notable films, Thelma and Louise, released in 1991, airs tonight on BBC Four. Away from the screen, Sarandon has been called a ‘model of health’ but, in reality, a history of high cholesterol and stroke in her family meant the star had to be extra careful to keep her health in check. control.
After taking cholesterol-lowering medication for about two years, the star shared a few years ago that she was trying to find more “natural” ways to lower her levels.
Speaking in an interview, she shared, “I recently left [of it] and I try to use psyllium and other colon cleansers to bring [my cholesterol] down naturally.”
Psyllium has been defined as a soluble fiber used in laxatives, which has been shown to help moderately lower cholesterol. However, it is important to note that colon cleansing is considered by most doctors to be an alternative approach not yet supported by scientific studies.
Exercising is one of the other ways the actress works to keep her cholesterol levels at a healthy level.
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“I realized I had to find time for myself and started going to the gym,” she added.
“We [the star and her personal trainer] use exercise balls or play catch with a heavy ball, instead of just riding machines.”
Sarandon also does Pilates when she can, but admits yoga has failed. “I must have a type A personality,” she continued.
“I became so competitive that I hurt myself!”
HEART UK, a leading cholesterol charity, says it’s important that a certain level of cholesterol exists in our blood, but too much can lead to ‘serious health problems’ such as heart attacks or strokes.
These high cholesterol levels can be caused by a variety of factors, some controllable and some not.
Lifestyle choices that can lead to high cholesterol levels include:
- Eating too much saturated fat
- Drink more alcohol than recommended
- Not being physically active.
Uncontrollable factors that can lead to high cholesterol levels include heredity and other genetic conditions. One of the major genetic diseases is known as Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH), which is passed down from generation to generation and can lead to heart disease even in young people.
Other more generic factors that can lead to high cholesterol are:
- To be overweight
- An underactive thyroid gland
- Type 2 diabetes
- Family history.
The NHS explains that cholesterol is carried in the blood by proteins and when the two substances combine, they become lipoproteins. The two main types of lipoproteins are called high density (HDL) and low density (LDL).
The first, HDL, transports cholesterol from cells to the liver. From there, it is either broken down or passed out of the body as waste. For this reason, HDL is called “good cholesterol” and higher levels are better.
The second, LDL, transports cholesterol to the cells that need it. If there is too much cholesterol for the cells to use, it can build up in the walls of the arteries, leading to artery disease. For this reason, LDL is known as the “bad cholesterol”.
Too much “bad” cholesterol can cause fatty areas called plaques to form in the walls of arteries – large blood vessels that carry blood throughout the body. Over time, these plaques become harder and stiffer, making the arteries narrower.
This exposes individuals to a number of diseases including coronary heart disease, stroke, angina pectoris, heart attack, heart failure and vascular dementia. For those with high cholesterol, there aren’t necessarily any signs or symptoms, so one of the only ways to tell if cholesterol is high is to have a blood test.
It is important to note that if a person has high cholesterol, there are treatments and lifestyle changes that can help lower the levels. Recommended lifestyle changes include:
- Eat less fat
- Exercise more
- Stop smoking
- Reduce alcohol consumption.
Holland and Barrett explain that psyllium husk, as mentioned by Sarandon, is a natural source of plant-based fiber. It is best known for its potential to improve constipation and lower blood cholesterol. However, any laxative supplement is generally only recommended for short-term use. Instead, eating a healthy diet that includes a variety of fiber sources is a better long-term way to lower cholesterol.