Eating Well + Exercise
For best results with a healthy lifestyle, new research has found that plunging right in with both healthy eating and exercising is the way to go.3
The Stanford University School of Medicine study involved 200 middle-aged Americans, all sedentary and with poor eating habits. Some were told to launch new food and fitness habits at the same time. Others began dieting but waited several months before beginning to exercise. A third group started exercising but didnt change eating habits till several months later.
All the groups received telephone coaching and were followed for one year. The winning group was the one making food and exercise changes together. The people in this group were most likely to meet U.S. guidelines for exercise and healthy eating , and to keep calories from saturated fat at less than 10% of their total intake of calories.
For best results with a healthy lifestyle, new research has found that plunging right in with both healthy eating and exercising is the way to go.3
Can You Lower Cholesterol Through Diet Alone
18-Dec-19·6 mins read
You are what you eat – and what you drink, how much exercise you do and your genetics.
“Cholesterol levels are affected by a number of factors, some you can’t do anything about – for example, family history, age, ethnicity and gender – and some you can,” says Lynne Garton, Dietetic Advisor for HEART UK. “An unhealthy diet high in saturated fat, being overweight, drinking too much alcohol and not being physically active can all contribute to raised ‘bad’ cholesterol.”
Path To Improved Health
There are 2 main types of cholesterol:
- Low-density lipoprotein .This delivers cholesterol to the body. This is called bad cholesterol. You want a low level of this type.
- High-density lipoprotein .This removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. This is called good cholesterol. You want a high level of this type.
A high level of LDL is bad for your body. Likewise, a low level of HDL is bad for you. If your doctor says you need to improve your cholesterol, youll need to lower your LDL and increase your HDL. Medicines can help with this. But the simplest way to improve your cholesterol is through lifestyle changes.
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Can I Use Vitamins To Lower My Cholesterol
The only vitamin that really lowers cholesterol is red yeast rice at 1200 mg twice a day, according to Dr. Cho.
The problem with red yeast rice is that it contains the same chemical compound as lovastatin, which means you would need to have your liver function monitored if you take it, she says. The Food and Drug Administration hasnt approved this supplement for medical use, so talk to your doctor before considering it.
All in all, you can lower your cholesterol naturally. Diet should be the cornerstone of therapy and pills are a supplement, not a substitute, for a good diet. Always talk to your doctor before taking any new supplements.
Can You Lower Your Cholesterol Just By Changing Your Diet
Statins are used to lower cholesterol but how much can be achieved with changes to diet alone, asks Michael Mosley.
Over the many years that I’ve been making science documentaries I’ve covered a huge range of subjects, but there is one that is of particular personal interest. My family tree is riddled with heart disease and I know that, unchecked, my cholesterol scores tend to soar.
I am not alone – 60% of people in Britain have cholesterol levels that are too high and increasingly we are recommended to go on statins. Yet statins have side effects and many people are reluctant to go on a lifetime of pills.
So, for the current series of Trust Me, I’m a Doctor, we wanted to see if you could lower your cholesterol just as effectively by changing your diet.
We asked Dr Scott Harding from Kings College London to help us set up and run a small study. With his help we recruited 42 volunteers, all of whom had concerns about their cholesterol and were keen to see what they could do without taking medication.
We started by taking blood samples to look at their current levels of total cholesterol.
Cholesterol is complicated stuff. Most of it is made in the liver and then sent to the cells that need it, bound to a lipoprotein called LDL .
LDL is often called “bad cholesterol” because high levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. HDL is known as “good cholesterol” because it carries cholesterol away from the arteries to the liver.
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How Can Foods Help Lower Cholesterol
People can often reduce their cholesterol levels dramatically by changing the foods they eat. Diets high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterolfound in meat, dairy products, and eggsraise cholesterol levels, which increases heart attack risk. Foods high in saturated fat are especially dangerous because they can trigger the body to produce extra cholesterol.
Plants do the opposite. They are very low in saturated fat and free of cholesterol. Plants are also rich in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol. Soluble fiber slows the absorption of cholesterol and reduces the amount of cholesterol the liver produces. Oatmeal, barley, beans, and some fruits and vegetables are all good sources of soluble fiber.
It is important to continue to work closely with your health care provider to monitor your health and manage medications, even as you make dietary changes.
What Is ‘bad’ Cholesterol
Whilst cholesterol is seen as the enemy of a healthy diet, we actually need the fatty substance to stay healthy. “It’s needed to make cell membranes, various hormones, certain vitamins and bile salts which are important for the digestion of fat,” explains Garton.
The problem comes when there are high levels of cholesterol in the blood, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and vascular dementia. The risk increases the longer the higher cholesterol is left untreated.
There are actually two main types of cholesterol involved: low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein .
“LDL is the main carrier of cholesterol in the blood and is often called ‘bad’ cholesterol because too much LDL cholesterol can build up in your arteries and cause narrowing,” says Garton. “HDL is often called ‘good’ as it picks up excess cholesterol from the arteries and takes it back to the liver where it can be removed from the circulation. As well as LDL cholesterol, other non-HDL cholesterol is considered ‘bad’ as it can also contribute to fatty build-up in the arteries.
“The ideal situation is to have low non-HDL cholesterol. It’s also important that your HDL cholesterol does not drop too low.”
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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.
Triglycerides In Your Blood
In addition to cholesterol, your blood also contains a type of fat called triglycerides, which are stored in your bodys fat deposits. Hormones release triglycerides to make energy between meals.
When you eat, your body converts any extra energy it doesnt need right away into triglycerides.
Like cholesterol, your body needs triglycerides to work properly. However, there is evidence to suggest that some people with high triglycerides are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
If you regularly eat more energy than you need, you may have high triglycerides .
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Eat Fibre To Lower Cholesterol
Eating high-fibre food can also help to lower your cholesterol. Fibre helps reduce the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed into the blood stream from your intestine.
- Make sure you get at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day as these contain fibre along with other nutrients
- Eat plenty of other high fibre foods like pulses oats and seeds.
- Choose more wholegrain foods when you can, such as brown or granary bread over white.
Practical Tips How To Lower Ldl Cholesterol Fast
Those wondering how to lower LDL cholesterol are not alone. Millions of people struggle with higher than normal LDL numbers, high triglycerides and often, low HDL numbers. In terms of methods to lower cholesterol fast, medications are almost always the first course of action. Drugs like statins and non-statins are the go to treatment to lower cholesterol fast in people who suffer from elevated levels of LDL. But, while the effects of these high cholesterol medications cannot be debated, a percentage of people give them up months following the onset of treatment. This may be because they are simply looking for another answer to how to lower LDl cholesterol, or it could be because of the side effects associated with cholesterol medications, such as frequent muscle spasms.
1. Gobble up Grapefruit: It is so simple, it is so delicious. There are a great many foods that can help to drop LDL levels, but grapefruit is a very impressive option for numerous reasons. Aside from its ability to potentially reduce LDL cholesterol by up to ten percent, it can also reduce blood pressure by as many as five points. Those arterial clogs we discussed above? Grapefruit can help with those two, as studies have shown that the fruit can reduce the amount of blockages in the arteries by up to 46%.
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How Quickly Can You Improve Your Cholesterol Levels
Your cholesterol levels are directly tied to your heart health, so its important to make sure theyre in a healthy range. If theyre not, youll need to work on raising your good cholesterol levels and lowering your bad ones . Medications can also improve your levels, but its best to make healthy changes that will improve your overall health and wellness.
Some of the best ways to lower your LDL levels are by:
- Eating heart-healthy foods and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Reducing your intake of saturated fats and trans fats
- Exercising most days of the week
- Quitting smoking if you smoke
- Losing weight
- Drinking alcohol in moderation
There are many factors that contribute to having high cholesterol levels, and your diet is a major one. However, genetics play a role too. If your levels are still high with a better diet and more exercise, your doctor may recommend medication to keep your levels in check.
How Long Does it Take to Improve Cholesterol Levels?
One of the great things about making healthy lifestyle changes is that you can see improvements fairly quickly. Most people see their levels improve within three to six months. Research shows that it takes longer for women, so dont be hard on yourself if your levels havent gone down as much as you want. Each body is different.
How Often Should I Check My Cholesterol?
Consider Plant Sterols And Stanols
Multiple types of supplements show promise for managing cholesterol.
Plant stanols and sterols are plant versions of cholesterol. Because they resemble cholesterol, they are absorbed from the diet like cholesterol.
However, because parts of their chemistry are different from human cholesterol, they do not contribute to clogged arteries.
Instead, they reduce cholesterol levels by competing with human cholesterol. When plant sterols are absorbed from the diet, this replaces the absorption of cholesterol.
Small amounts of plant stanols and sterols are naturally found in vegetable oils, and are also added to certain oils and butter substitutes.
One study of 60 men and women found consuming yogurt with one gram of plant stanols reduced LDL by about 15%, compared to a placebo. Another study showed they decreased LDL by 20% .
In spite of these benefits to cholesterol, available studies have not proven that stanols or sterols decrease the risk of heart disease. The higher doses in supplements are not as well tested as the small doses in vegetable oils .
Plant stanols and sterols in vegetable oil or margarines compete with cholesterol absorption and reduce LDL by up to 20%. They are not proven to reduce heart disease.
There is strong evidence that fish oil and soluble fiber improve cholesterol and promote heart health. Another supplement, coenzyme Q10, is showing promise in improving cholesterol, although its long-term benefits are not yet known.
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Increase The Amount Of Fiber In Your Diet
Most of us do not get enough fiber in our diet. The recommended amount is 25-35 grams of dietary fiber per day. Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. As fiber passes through the body, it affects the way the body digests foods and absorbs nutrients. Fiber can help reduce your LDL cholesterol level. A fiber-rich diet can also help control blood sugar, promote regularity, prevent gastrointestinal disease and help you manage your weight.
There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of all high-fiber foods. Refined foods, like white bread, white pasta and enriched cereals are low in fiber. The refining process strips the outer coat from the grain, which reduces the amount of fiber thats left.
The best sources of fiber are whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes .
Why Lower Cholesterol
High cholesterol plays a role in worsening heart health.
As more cholesterol circulates in the blood, it may be harder for the heart to pump this blood properly. This cholesterol can also contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries, raising the risk of atherosclerosis.
High cholesterol puts a person at risk of heart disease, as well as heart attack and stroke.
Cholesterol has a lot to do with what a person eats. For that reason, a healthful diet is one of the first things that doctors recommend for people who want to lower their cholesterol quickly.
The following dietary changes may help a person reduce their cholesterol as quickly as possible.
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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.
Dietary And Lifestyle Changes
Dietary and lifestyle changes are key to making lasting changes in cholesterol levels.
Although they do not produce results as quickly as medications do, a person may notice their cholesterol levels drop in just a few weeks or months if they stick to a healthful diet and lifestyle plan.
Increase intake of plant foods
Plant foods are rich in vitamins and nutrients, and they lack cholesterol.
Most plant foods also lack saturated fats, which may increase cholesterol in the body.
A review published in noted that people who ate vegetarian diets had significantly lower cholesterol levels compared with omnivores.
The authors also noted that some targeted diets using plant foods might cause stronger effects.
For example, a diet rich in soluble fiber, plant sterols, and vegetable protein sources, such as soy and nuts, reduced LDL cholesterol by an average of 28.6% in just 4 weeks.
These effects continue over the long term. A review in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases estimated that this type of diet reduces the 10-year risk of coronary heart disease by about 13%.
People who need to reduce their cholesterol quickly can work with a dietitian to create a targeted diet plan.
Increase fiber intake
While adding plant foods to the diet increases fiber intake naturally, it may also be helpful to take a fiber supplement or over-the-counter fiber drink to support the body.
Fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and may help prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol.
Avoid trans fats
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