You Can Begin Lowering Cholesterol Naturally Today
Sound like a lot to take on? Dont be intimidated. Bringing down your high cholesterol doesnt have to mean changing your life completely. Rather, start with changing your mindset. Instead of thinking of it as moving away from things, youre moving toward new habits that will help you create a healthier and more enjoyable future.
Now is always the right time to start taking care of your heart health. If you need a little support, lean on friends and family. And dont forget that your doctor is always there for you with advice, motivation and encouragement so you can reach your goals and live healthier.
Dont delay getting the heart care and answers you need
Know The Dangers Of Trans Fats
Trans fats are dangerous for your heart, because they raise low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The chief culprit youll see on product labels is partially hydrogenated oil. Trans fats are the result of adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to increase shelf life. This may make some baked and fried foods taste better, but trans fats are very unhealthy, particularly for people with high triglycerides. In fact, trans fats should make up less than 1 percent of your total calories, according to the World Health Organization. Check your food labels: If a food contains trans fats or hydrogenated oils, leave it on the shelf.
Weight Loss Can Lower Triglycerides And Ldl Cholesterol
It doesn’t take dramatic weight loss to lower LDL and triglyceride levels. Just 5 to 10 pounds can make a difference, says Jerry Blaine, M.D., who specialized in cholesterol management, lipid disorders, hypertension, and preventive medicine, including at the Lipid Clinic at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts, before retiring in 2013.
The same applies to triglycerides. The more calories you eat and don’t burn off, the more you store, which can lead to higher-than-normal triglyceride levels.
Additionally, there are other trim-down steps you can take to lower your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides:
— Set a goal to lose 5-10 percent of your total body weight. For example, a 200-pound adult would aim to lose 10-20 pounds. Once the weight is off, keep up your healthy lifestyle to maintain your new weight.
— Cut 200-500 calories a day from the number of calories it takes to maintain your weight. Reducing caloric intake will lower both LDL and triglycerides.
Read Also: What Causes My Cholesterol To Go Up
Ask Your Doctor About Natural Supplements
Several natural supplements could have the potential to lower blood triglycerides. Always speak with your doctor before starting any supplements, as they can interact with other medications.
Note especially that the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements in the same way as it regulates pharmaceuticals, and supplement quality can vary widely.
Below are a few of the main supplements that have been studied:
- Fish oil. Well known for its potent effects on heart health, fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to decrease triglycerides and several other risk factors for heart disease (
Several supplements have been studied for their ability to lower triglyceride levels, including fish oil, fenugreek, garlic extract, guggul, and curcumin.
Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol Without Medication
Cholesterol is a waxy substance in your blood and is also found in certain foods. Ideally, your total cholesterol levels will fall under 200 milligrams per deciliter . Your LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels should fall under 100 mg/dL. And your HDL, or good cholesterol, should stay at 40 mg/dL or higher. If you have high cholesterol levels, changing your lifestyle can go a long way.
Dr. Javier Sosa and our team at Woodlands Primary Healthcare provide blood tests to help identify cholesterol-related risk factors. We can also make lifestyle recommendations that suit your specific needs.
Here are nine ways you can lower your cholesterol levels without medication:
Don’t Miss: How To Lower Cholesterol And A1c
Eat Less To Lose Weight
High triglycerides come from regularly eating more calories than your body burns, so eating less overall is one of the best ways to start reining them in.
How much less, exactly? You may want to cut back by 500 to 1,000 calories a day, depending on how many calories youre consuming. Thats enough to help you lose weight, which is key.
Dropping 5 to 10 percent of your body weight is enough to reduce your triglycerides significantly. But definitely get the OK from your doctor before making any major changes to your diet.
How To Lower Triglycerides
What does it mean when you have high triglycerides? How do you lower your triglycerides?
If youve been told that you have high triglycerides a type of fat found in the bloodstream youre not alone. One report suggests that nearly one-third of Americans have elevated triglycerides.1
Higher than normal triglyceride levels are a problem because theyre associated with increased risk of metabolic dysfunction, heart attacks, and strokes.2
Although many people focus on the risks associated with high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high triglycerides may be even more predictive of future heart events.3
The good news is, you can use the advice in this guide to work with your healthcare provider to reduce your triglycerides naturally. You can also consider discussing medications or supplements to lower your triglycerides if needed.
Heres what you need to know about reducing your triglycerides.
You May Like: What Affects Cholesterol Levels In Your Blood
Cut Excess Saturated Fat
Sometimes a small change can make a significant difference. Although this is based mostly on clinical experience, simply eliminating extra liquid saturated fat may normalize LDL levels.7 That means eliminating MCT oil and butter in coffee, fat bombs, or other keto treats.
Some people may find that limiting their saturated fat intake to whole foods is all it takes to improve LDL levels.
The Powerful Pectin In Apples
An apple a day keeps the doctor away is more true than you might think. Many studies have demonstrated that fresh apples have a really good effect on lowering LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol.
You see, apples contain an unusual high about of the type of fibers known as pectin and pectin is a component that helps reduce the cholesterol in your blood .
Read Also: What Is A Healthy Cholesterol Value
Exercise For 30 Minutes At Least 5 Days A Week
Follow A Lower Carb Diet
Much like added sugar, extra calories from carbs in your diet are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells.
Not surprisingly, low carb diets have been linked to lower blood triglyceride levels .
A review of 12 randomized controlled trials found that people following reduced carb diets typically saw a reduction in triglyceride levels at 6, 12, and 24 months. Across these studies, triglyceride levels decreased the most 6 months after starting a reduced calorie diet .
A 2020 review compared low fat and low carb diets. Researchers found that 612 months after starting their relative diets, those on the low carb diet had greater decreases in triglyceride levels than those on a low fat diet .
Following a low carb diet can lead to a significant reduction in blood triglyceride levels, at least in the short term, when compared with a low fat diet.
Recommended Reading: Is Oyster High In Cholesterol
Add More Fiber To Your Diet
Fiber is the part of your food that isnt digested, and its important because it helps you feel full. According to a study published in February 2019 in the journal Current Developments in Nutrition, dietary fiber can reduce the risk of high triglycerides in young to middle-aged adults who are overweight or obese. In general, fiber-rich foods also have carbohydrate content that is more complex and can lead to more gradual absorption by the body, which can also help temper the triglyceride increase that occurs after meals, says Michael Wesley Milks, MD, a cardiologist and assistant professor of clinical medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. Fiber is found in whole grains and nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Limit Sugar Refined Carbohydrates And Too Much Alcohol
Do you have to eat a keto diet to lower triglycerides? Not necessarily. Reducing sugars, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol may be enough to lower your levels.
As we mentioned, any caloric excess can increase triglycerides. However, the most likely sources of extra calories are excess sugar, refined carbs, and alcohol.19
One reason carbs and sugars commonly increase triglycerides may be that carbs and sugars are two of the most commonly overconsumed foods. However, another reason could be that fructose and alcohol are more likely to cause fatty liver, which can raise triglycerides.20
One study reports that simply replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water reduced triglycerides.21
And another reports that decreasing alcohol consumption lowered fasting triglycerides.22
Other factors, such as baseline obesity and insulin resistance, may make it more likely that eating carbs would cause an individuals triglycerides to rise.23
If youre overweight or have insulin resistance, the evidence shows its important to reduce carbs. However, the data suggests that most people with high triglycerides even people with normal weight would benefit from reducing sugar, refined carbs, and alcohol.
Also Check: Is Ground Turkey High In Cholesterol
Healthy Eating Tips To Lower Cholesterol
As well as sticking to a varied and healthy diet, try these tips to help you manage your cholesterol:
- The Heart Foundation recommends that people follow a heart-healthy eating pattern, which is built on eating mostly plant-based foods. Eating more plant-based foods like vegetables, legumes, fruit, wholegrains, nuts and seeds is good for heart health.
- Include legumes , beans in at least two meals a week. Check food labels and choose the lowest sodium products.
- Beans make a great alternative to meat in tacos, or snack on hummus with vegetable sticks. You can also add legumes to soups, pasta sauces, curries and stews.
- Use tofu or lentils instead of meat in stir fries or curries.
Beans Beans And More Beans True Miracle Veggies
Did you know that beans are some of the most effective foods to lower cholesterol? Well, they are and the variety of beans is amazing. There is something for every taste. You can go for green beans, navy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans and more.
These fierce cholesterol fighters have a remarkable ability to lower your problematic LDL cholesterol significantly .
A study has shown that beans may reduce your LDL cholesterol with as much as 24% if you eat about 100 grams of beans a day.
So take a deep dive into your beans!
Don’t Miss: How To Lower Your Cholesterol With Diet
Eat The Right Foods For You
As weve seen, there are some broad dietary guidelines you can follow to help lower your triglyceride levels.
But our research shows that everyones blood fat responses to the foods they eat are personal, with more than 10 times the difference between some people.
ZOE runs the largest nutritional study of its kind, with over 15,000 participants so far. Based on our studies, weve developed a personalized nutrition program that takes your unique biology into account to help you improve your metabolic health.
Using the latest scientific techniques, the ZOE at-home test analyzes your triglyceride and blood sugar levels after eating, as well as the microbes in your gut.
Based on your results, the ZOE program then gives you advice on the best foods and food combinations for your body and your long-term health goals.
You can take a free quiz to find out more.
Substitute Healthy Oils In Place Of Butter And Margarine
Of course, its not always realistic to avoid fats when youre whipping up a tasty meal. When you do need to add fat for cooking, baking or pan frying, use healthy oils instead of solid fats, like butter, margarine, shortening and lard.
Solid fats are high in saturated fats, but oils are high in unsaturated fats, which remember are better for you. The American Heart Association recommends using oils that have less than 4 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon .
Many times, its easy to swap a solid fat to a healthier one. Try using olive oil, sunflower oil or grapeseed oil in place of a solid fat.
For example, if youd rather use olive oil than butter, substitute three quarters the amount of butter in a recipe with olive oil. You might also bring out some new, surprising, subtle flavors, too.
Recommended Reading: What Causes Increased Ldl Cholesterol
Medications Can Lower Ldl And Triglycerides
To get cholesterol and triglycerides into the target zone, many people with diabetes need to add medications to their healthy eating and exercise plans. Reducing elevated LDL cholesterol is typically the top priority. To achieve the target goals, many people need to take a medication in the statin category.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that statin therapy be added for people who have:
- a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and whose LDL cholesterol doesn’t hit the target of 100 mg/dl or less with healthy lifestyle change.
- cardiovascular disease and who don’t reach the LDL cholesterol target of 70 mg/dl or less.
Statin medications are most effective at lowering LDL cholesterol. All medications should be prescribed and monitored by a health care provider.
Common statins include:
Other medications that lower both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides:
- Prescription-strength niacin
Other medications prescribed to lower LDL cholesterol:
- Bile acid sequestrants, such as Questran or Colestid
- Welchol , a bile acid sequestrant that can also lower blood glucose
Other medications prescribed to lower triglycerides:
- Prescription-strength fish-oil pills
Other medications to lower cholesterol and blood pressure:
Medications that have been found to increase triglycerides:
- Birth-control pills
- Tamoxifen, a breast cancer drug
Prepare Your Food A Little Differently
Its not only what you eat its how you eat it. Just as you can change what you buy in the grocery store, you can also choose healthier ways to make your food that help lower your cholesterol naturally. For example:
- Consider trimming fat and removing the skin when cooking meat or fish. This helps you get the protein while reducing fat intake.
- Focus on boiling, broiling, baking, poaching or grilling. These are better methods of preparation than deep frying or breading, which can add extra fat.
Recommended Reading: Are Oysters High In Cholesterol
Increased Risk Of Heart Disease
Medical science consistently demonstrates that people with higher triglycerides have a higher risk of heart disease. That is not surprising since high triglycerides are also correlated with other cardiac risk factors such as insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and more atherogenic small LDL particles.49
Observational studies demonstrate the risk of a heart attack triples for those with triglycerides above 265 mg/dL compared to those with lower levels.50
Another study reports an increased risk for statin-treated patients when their triglycerides were above 175 mg/dL .51
Studies comparing the impact of elevated triglycerides on cardiovascular risk suggest it may be equally or more important than high LDL cholesterol.
One study shows genetic mutations that lower triglycerides have an equal benefit for reducing heart disease risk as those that lower LDL.52
Other studies report elevated triglycerides and triglyceride-to-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio are associated with smaller LDL particles and a more advanced coronary disease, whereas elevated LDL cholesterol show no significant correlation.53
Most recently, an evaluation of the PREDIMED trial demonstrates that triglycerides above 150 mg/dL and remnant cholesterol ) have greater predictive power for heart disease risk than does LDL.54
In fact, many trials show no improvement in the risk of heart disease or death.
Could triglyceride-lowering lifestyles have a greater impact than medications?