Promoting Healthy Cholesterol – The Natural Way!

Red_yeast_riceIt’s no secret that controlling our bodies’ cholesterol levels is vitally important, but there is not just one right way to do it. In another article on our site (see Combatting the Side Effects of Cholesterol Drugs), we talked about the downsides of using pharmaceuticals to promote healthy cholesterol and gave tips on how to fight off those negative side effects. However, there are ways to go completely natural in your fight against high cholesterol.

The secret to this natural defense lies in the power of two particular remedies: red yeast rice (RYR) extract and natto (3).

Red yeast rice is a naturally occurring rich source of statins, which are the same types of drugs pharmaceuticals use in their medications to reduce fat levels in the body, like cholesterol. The advantage of this natural version, though, is that it has a much lower likelihood of causing the negative side effects so often associated with typical, unnatural pharmaceuticals (3). RYR extract is the substance extracted from rice after the rice has been fermented with yeast. The original red yeast rice is sold as food in Chinese grocery stores, but otherwise it is just the extract that is used to make supplements that are plenty sufficient for cholesterol control (2). Fortunately, red yeast rice extract is quite an easy find, as it is commonly sold in supplemental pill form, perfect for adding to your diet without having to worry about more costly side effects.

The second recommended natural remedy, natto, is simply just fermented soybeans, a traditional health food staple in Japan. It’s made by a process through which beneficial bacteria are added to soybeans, creating a new, sticky version of the soybean – one with a powerful nutritional enhancement. This enhancement lies in the naturally rich supply of an enzyme called nattokinase, as the name implies its presence in natto. Nattokinase is known for its ability to reduce the risk of blood clots and actually helps dissolve blood clots that may be in the process of developing (1). It also works to break up the plaque that is normally associated with Alzheimer’s disease (3). This powerful little side dish adds quite a kick in the realm of cholesterol control and overall heart health.

Whether you decide to consume the solid food versions of red yeast rice and natto or take the supplemental route, your body will thank you. Not only will your cholesterol be getting the support it needs to stay under control, but also you are much less likely to have to suffer the consequences of unpleasant side effects, like fatigue, muscle pain, and liver problems, that are associated with the use of pharmaceutical cholesterol drugs. However, like with the addition of any dietary supplement to your normal routine, we always recommend first consulting with your doctor with any concerns.

Image: White rice fermented with the mold Monascus purpureus. Source: Flickr: Red yeast rice. Author: FotoosVanRobin. 12 June 2011. Access the original Image information here:

References (click to show/hide)

  1. "About Natto." About Natto | NATTO Fermented Soybean. Meguminatto, n.d. Web. 07 July 2014. < about_natto.html>.
  2. "Red Yeast." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 06 July 2014. <>.
  3. Ventresca, Mike. "Two Remedies Help You Take Control of Your Cholesterol." Mimi Vanderhaven n.d.: n. pag. Print.