Cholesterol Advice

Red Yeast Rice- A Natural Cure for Cholesterol

Red yeast rice is a popular component of the Asian food culture. This food has been used in Asian cooking for thousands of years now. Red yeast rice, as the name suggests is the rice that has been fermented in red yeast known as Monascus purpureus. As a result of the fermentation, the rice imbibes a reddish color tone and a spicier flavor.

Having been used for several years now, the health benefits of red yeast rice have been acknowledged by all. Many Chinese textbooks even mention the health benefits of red yeast rice. Though red yeast rice can help with various ailments, it is particularly known for treating indigestion, diarrhea and other circulatory ailments.

Red yeast rice helps lower cholesterol.

Research conducted in the recent times has suggested that red yeast rice is beneficial for keeping cholesterol levels in check. Many studies have proved that red yeast rice helps in lowering cholesterol levels in the blood and consecutively reduces the risk of heart diseases too.

Fermentation of rice in red yeast results in the formation of a chemical compound called monacolins. These monacolins act on the liver, which is the major cholesterol producing organ in the body. By acting on the liver, these monacolins curb the production of cholesterol and thus keeps it in check.

The functioning of monacolins is quite similar to that of statins, which is the most popular medicine in use for controlling cholesterol. Monacolin K, a type of monacolin has similar chemical composition as compared to a commercially produced statin called Mevacor or lovastatin. Monacolin K acts on the liver enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which is responsible for cholesterol production.

Red yeast rice is safe to consume.

Though there are several remedies available to control cholesterol, most of them are known to have some or the other side effects. Red yeast rice scores on this ground. Having been a staple diet of Asians for a long time now, red yeast rice is known to be extremely safe.

While the consumption of statins may result in muscle or liver injury, no such effects have been found with the consumption of red yeast rice. Though red yeast rice is completely safe, you must consult your doctor before consuming it. Especially, in case you are already on statins or any other form of medication.

Sources of red yeast rice

If you are looking for red yeast rice, you can find it in two basic forms-Zhi Tai and Xue Zhi. Zhi Tai is a powdered form of red yeast rice and usually makes use of whole rice. Xue Zhi on the other hand is red yeast rice that is extracted with alcohol. Some time back, pills containing red yeast rice in a concentrated form were also available. But these pills were banned by FDA owing to several reasons.