Much like a double-edged sword, cholesterol is both our friend and foe. At normal healthy levels, it is essential to ensure the normal functioning of the body. However, if cholesterol levels in the body get too high, it poses a danger that makes us more succumb to the risk of a heart attack, stroke or other complications.

The question comes to mind, what is cholesterol? Cholesterol is found in every cell of the body and has important natural functions. It is produced by the body but can also be absorbed from the food we consume. It is waxy and fat-like in appearance.

Being oil-based in nature, cholesterol does not mix with the blood which is water-based. It is thus transported around the body in the blood by lipoproteins. Two main types of lipoproteins are responsible for carrying cholesterol. They are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which carry 'bad' cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) which carry 'good' cholesterol.

Cholesterol contributes to the structure of cell walls, makes up digestive bile acids in the intestine, allows the body to produce vitamin D, and enables the body to make certain hormones.

While genetics can sometimes play a part in your cholesterol levels, most of the time it is the result of poor lifestyle choices such as unhealthy eating habits and a lack of exercise. A proactive approach which includes a healthy lifestyle and getting enough exercise could help to reduce cholesterol levels to an acceptable range. Here's 7 top herbs we have gathered that adds to the benefit of one's health.

1. Capsicum - This spicy herb contains stimulating properties that increase blood flow and decreases toxins. It helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

2. Psyllium - Studies show that having 5.1 grams of psyllium a day reduces LDL cholesterol and serum cholesterol.

3. Hawthorn Berry - Packed with antioxidants that have numerous benefits for the heart. It dilates and relaxes the blood vessels which increases the flow of blood to the heart and reduces the degeneration of blood vessels.


4. Butcher's broom - Known for strengthening the walls of blood vessels, increasing the circulation to   the extreities, including the brain, and acting as an anti-inflammatory.

5. Guggul - Contains compounds such as gum, volatile oils and resin that reduce cholesterol levels. It further helps to reduce triglycerides levels.

6. Licorice root - Helps to establish a normal heart rhythm.

7. Fenugreek Seeds - Lysine and alkaloids found in fenugreek seeds assist to lower bad cholesterol without affecting good cholesterol.

Create a win-win situation by using these herbs to enhance the taste of your food whilst also lowering your cholesterol level. This can help reduce the levels of deprivation you experience when you embark on strict diets.