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 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: Your doctor is always there for you with advice, motivation and encouragement so you can reach your goals and live healthier.
How Can I Lower Cholesterol With Diet
Heart-healthy lifestyle changes include a diet to lower your cholesterol. The DASH eating plan is one example. Another is the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, which recommends that you
Choose healthier fats.You should limit both total fat and saturated fat. No more than 25 to 35% of your daily calories should come from dietary fats, and less than 7% of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. Depending upon how many calories you eat per day, here are the maximum amounts of fats that you should eat:
|Calories per Day|
|69-97 grams||17 grams|
Saturated fat is a bad fat because it raises your LDL level more than anything else in your diet. It is found in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods.
Trans fat is another bad fat it can raise your LDL and lower you HDL . Trans fat is mostly in foods made with hydrogenated oils and fats, such as stick margarine, crackers, and french fries.
Instead of these bad fats, try healthier fats, such as lean meat, nuts, and unsaturated oils like canola, olive, and safflower oils.
Limit foods with cholesterol. If you are trying to lower your cholesterol, you should have less than 200 mg a day of cholesterol. Cholesterol is in foods of animal origin, such as liver and other organ meats, egg yolks, shrimp, and whole milk dairy products.
Eat plenty of soluble fiber. Foods high in soluble fiber help prevent your digestive tract from absorbing cholesterol. These foods include
Easy Ways To Lower Cholesterol Naturally
No prescription required. Medication isn’t the only way to bring those levels down safely.
More than 100 million Americans have high cholesterol levels, which can contribute to a wide range of health problems including stroke and heart disease. While medication can help lower your cholesterol, there are also several lifestyle tweaks you can change right now that can make a big impact on your cholesterol levels. All five of these will also impact your weight, risk for chronic disease and overall health for the better, so they’re worth incorporating into your life regardless.
Here are five research-backed methods for lowering your cholesterol naturally:
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Increase Your Consumption Of Dietary Fiber
Ideally, you should be getting 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day, says Dr. Cho. Fiber binds to cholesterol and eliminates it from your body.
To increase your fiber intake, eat more whole grains, legumes like beans and lentils, vegetables and fruits. You should be getting a good mix of both soluble fibers, which are more beneficial for cholesterol, and insoluble fibers, which are better for your gut health.
Lower cholesterol isnt the only benefit of getting enough fiber. Other benefits include reducing your risk of diseases, preventing constipation and keeping you full longer.
Eat Whole Food Limits Process Food
we are now living in a world that is surrounded by Process foods that are almost available everywhere especially in western society.
Heavily processed foods often include unhealthy levels of added sugar, sodium and fat. These ingredients make the food taste much better, however, too much of them leads to serious chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease which are caused by high cholesterol levels.
foods such as bread, Refined white flour, white pasta, and white sugar are highly processed and you must limit them as possible and in fact, this food doesnt have any benefits at all.
you can instead eat whole food which is good and give you lots of benefits.
whole food lists to help you lower LDL cholesterol
- Barley and other whole grains
- Apples, grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits
- Fatty fish
- Eggplant and okra, Broccoli, Carrots, Cucumber, Garlic, Asparagus
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Will A Keto Diet Lower Triglycerides And Cholesterol
No, keto diets have been shown to increase cholesterol levels. The Mediterranean diet, however, has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiac events.
The Mediterranean diet promotes eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats daily eating fish, poultry, beans, and eggs weekly reducing portions of dairy and limiting red meat.
How Long Does It Take To Lower Triglycerides
Depending on whats causing your high triglyceride levels, you may be able to lower them in just a few days. A night out drinking or eating foods high in sugar can cause a spike in your triglyceride levels. Limiting alcohol and sugar intake can bring your levels back to normal within a few days.
If you have consistently high triglycerides, it may take a few months for them to return to a healthy range. How fast they lower depends on the lifestyle changes, diet, and medications youre taking.
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Try To Reduce The Amount Of Saturated Fat You Consume
There is a controversy about the role of saturated fats on your cholesterol levels. The medical establishment talks about the great damage of saturated fat that increases the level of cholesterol in your blood. The American Heart Association recommends to limit the amount of saturated fats you eat to less than 7% of your total daily calories.
That means, for example, that if you need about 2,000 calories a day, then maximum 140 of them should come from saturated fats. Thats about 16 grams of saturated fats a day.
Common foods that contain saturated fat come mainly from animal sources, for example: butter, fatty beef, lamb or pork, poultry with skin, lard and cream. Also pastries and many baked and fried foods can contain high levels of saturated fats. Some plant foods, such as palm oil and coconut oil also contain saturated fats, but dont contain cholesterol.
However newer research claims that its true that saturated fats mildly increase the bad cholesterol , but only the large particles which are not associated with cardiovascular conditions. In any case, eat saturated fat in moderation.
You Can Begin To Reduce Your Bad Ldl Cholesterol Naturally By Making A Few Simple Changes In Your Diet
If your cholesterol is creeping upward, your doctor has probably told you that diet and exercisethe traditional cornerstones of heart healthcould help to bring it down. And if you’d prefer to make just one change at a time to lower your cholesterol naturally, you might want to begin with your diet. A major analysis of several controlled trials involving hundreds of men and women found that dietary changes reduced LDL and total cholesterol while exercise alone had no effect on either.
The people in the studies followed a variety of diets, from Mediterranean to low-fat to low-calorie. However, the most effective diets substituted foods with the power to lower cholesterol for those that boost cholesterol. According to Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, eating with your LDL in mind doesn’t have to be an exercise in self-deprivation. While you may have to say goodbye to a few snacks and fast foods, you can replace them with others that are equally satisfying. “You don’t have to follow an all-or-nothing approach. It’s really a matter of common sense,” she says. She suggests a few ways to start getting your cholesterol under control and keep it normal.
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What Is Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance thats found in your body and that travels through your bloodstream. Your body needs a certain amount to function properly, but it produces all it needs. Cholesterol travels through your body with lipoproteins, which are soluble proteins that transport fats through the body.
LDL, the bad cholesterol, carries cholesterol to your bodys tissues and blood vessels. If your body has too much LDL, it will deposit the excess along the walls of your blood vessels, putting you at risk of a heart attack and stroke.
High-density lipoprotein , also called good cholesterol, takes excess cholesterol from your tissues and blood vessels back to your liver, where its removed from your body. HDL helps protect you from heart disease. So unlike LDL cholesterol, the higher the levels of HDL, the better.
Triglycerides are another type of fat that can build up in your body. A high level of triglycerides combined with a low level of HDL cholesterol also raises your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
These levels can help determine which treatment options are best, along with helping to establish your overall risk of heart disease.
Can I Eat Fish
Oily fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and herring are best. Dr. Cho recommends aiming for 2 servings per week.
You can supplement with fish oil, but be careful because very high doses of pure fish oil can lower your triglyceride levels and increase your good cholesterol, she says. It doesnt lower your LDL, though. Be sure to read your fish oil supplement label.
When reading the label of your fish oil bottle, look out for the EPA plus DHA in each serving since those are the effective ingredients. For example, if your fish oil says 1000 mg of fish oil but only contains 300 mg of EPA and DHA, know that youre taking 700 mg of unnecessary fish blubber. Make sure youre choosing fish oil with the highest amount of EPA plus DHA in each pill.
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Why Does A Raised Cholesterol Increase The Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease
Having too much cholesterol in your bloodstream leads to fat being deposited within your artery walls, where they form fatty plaques. This is a disease process known as atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis damages the artery wall, meaning it is more likely to rupture or become blocked. When this happens, the blood supply to this tissue is cut off, and the tissue, now starved of oxygen, will die.
- A blocked coronary artery leads to the death of heart muscle in a heart attack.
- A blocked cerebral artery leads to the death of brain tissue if you have a stroke.
In fact, atherosclerosis can have many far-reaching consequences including causing blindness, kidney failure, gangrenous limbs, and ruptured aortic aneurysms which are most often fatal.
Raised cholesterol is not the only cause of atherosclerosis there are other contributory factors, such as raised blood pressure, obesity, and smoking. However, to stay healthy, its vital to keep your blood level of cholesterol within normal limits.
Putting Together A Low Cholesterol Diet
When it comes to investing money, experts recommend creating a portfolio of diverse investments instead of putting all your eggs in one basket. The same holds true for eating your way to lower cholesterol. Adding several foods to lower cholesterol in different ways should work better than focusing on one or two.
A largely vegetarian “dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods” substantially lowers LDL, triglycerides, and blood pressure. The key dietary components are plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains instead of highly refined ones, and protein mostly from plants. Add margarine enriched with plant sterols oats, barley, psyllium, okra, and eggplant, all rich in soluble fiber soy protein and whole almonds.
Of course, shifting to a cholesterol-lowering diet takes more attention than popping a daily statin. It means expanding the variety of foods you usually put in your shopping cart and getting used to new textures and flavors. But it’s a “natural” way to lower cholesterol, and it avoids the risk of muscle problems and other side effects that plague some people who take statins.
Just as important, a diet that is heavy on fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts is good for the body in ways beyond lowering cholesterol. It keeps blood pressure in check. It helps arteries stay flexible and responsive. It’s good for bones and digestive health, for vision and mental health.
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Watch Your Alcohol Intake
The American Heart Association says if you do drink alcohol, men should consume no more than two drinks per day, and women should stop after one, as drinking too much alcohol can actually raise triglyceride levels in your blood-which are also monitored with your cholesterol levels to determine the health of your lipid profile.
The AHA also says drinking too much increases your risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure and increased calorie intake-all factors that impact cholesterol levels. The one exception here may be red wine-as studies show it has some heart-healthy antioxidant power-but you should still stick to the AHA’s drinking recommendations.
Try The Mediterranean Diet
One of the best ways to decrease levels of LDL cholesterol is through your diet! A common diet that is recommended when trying to lower LDL cholesterol is the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet is a diet that is high in fat due to the lower consumption of sugar and meat.
Foods like nuts, olive oil, fruits, and vegetables are at their highest levels when eating a Mediterranean diet which means youre less likely to have an increased cholesterol level.
People who eat this way also tend to lose weight over time because they are not consuming as many calories from sugars or fats since they get most of those essential nutrients through foods rich in protein and fiber.
Eating more healthy fats by including avocados with every meal will lower your risk for heart disease along with lowering LDL cholesterol levels! Avocado lovers can rejoice knowing that guacamole isnt just tasty, but its good for them too!
Mediterranean diets are commonly consumed in some of the healthiest places in the world called the Blue Zones.
Here is the typical Mediterranean diet pyramid:
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Focus On Monounsaturated Fats
As opposed to saturated fats, unsaturated fats have at least one double chemical bond that changes the way they are used in the body. Monounsaturated fats have only one double bond.
Although some recommend a low-fat diet for weight loss, a study of 10 men found a 6-week, low-fat diet reduced levels of harmful LDL, but also reduced beneficial HDL .
In contrast, a diet high in monounsaturated fats reduced harmful LDL, but also protected higher levels of healthy HDL.
A study of 24 adults with high blood cholesterol came to the same conclusion, where eating a diet high in monounsaturated fat increased beneficial HDL by 12%, compared to a diet low in saturated fat .
Monounsaturated fats may also reduce the oxidation of lipoproteins, which contributes to clogged arteries. A study of 26 people found that replacing polyunsaturated fats with monounsaturated fats in the diet reduced the oxidation of fats and cholesterol (
Monounsaturated fats like those in olive oil, canola oil, tree nuts and avocados reduce the bad LDL, increase the good HDL and reduce the oxidation that contributes to clogged arteries.
Work In Some More Movement To Your Daily Tasks
Do you need to start running every day? Do you need to join a gym or buy a bunch of home fitness equipment? If you want to, go ahead! But there are many other choices, and finding a routine that works for you is whats most important.
Ideally, you want to aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity every week. You can break that up however you like. You might focus on doing something every day, or you could dedicate yourself to just a few days per week. The key is to just get started.
For example, do you usually take the elevator? Take the stairs instead. Do you walk your dog every day? Go a little farther than usual, or walk at a faster pace. Need to go shopping? Park farther away than you normally do. Catching up on your favorite TV series? Try stretching, dumbbells or kettlebells while youre watching rather than just sitting on the couch. Also look for chances to bring motion into your daily life, such as walking while you talk on the phone.
If youre feeling good, work up to more intense physical activity, like lap swimming, jogging or hot yoga. Dont overexert yourself, but remember that regular and consistent exercise has benefits beyond managing your cholesterol. It also helps reduce blood pressure and builds your overall physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Even if you just go a little farther or a little faster than you usually do, that extra activity will be a big step in the right direction for your health.
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Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally
- To lower your cholesterol naturally, you can improve your diet, get more physical activity, lose weight, quit smoking, and limit alcohol.
- If you’re not able to effectively lower your cholesterol with natural treatments, you can also talk to your doctor about medications like statins.
- This article was medically reviewed by John Osborne, MD, PhD, and the Director of Cardiology for Dallas-based State of the Heart Cardiology.
- This article is part of Insider’s guide to High Cholesterol.
There are a few different measurements for cholesterol. You’ll actually want higher levels of high density lipoprotein the good cholesterol and lower levels of low density lipoprotein , triglycerides, and total cholesterol.
That’s because HDL helps get rid of LDL cholesterol and can lower your overall levels. Here’s what healthy cholesterol levels should look like:
If your cholesterol is too high, there are many lifestyle changes your doctor will recommend before or alongside medication. Here’s how to lower your cholesterol naturally.