When Habits Need A Helping Hand
If lifestyle changes havenât helped enough, your doctor may suggest adding a prescription medicine. Fibrates, niacin, statins, and high-dose fish oil are a few of the options. Your doctor will look at all your blood fats â triglycerides and all types of cholesterol â to decide the best way to protect your heart.
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Q& A If Cholesterol Is So Bad Why Do We Have It
Why do we need cholesterol if it can be so bad for our bodies?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the liver and used to build cell walls, create a protective glove around nerves and to make other chemicals such as hormones.
Cholesterol gets round our bodies by combining with protein to form a protective coating around tiny balls of fat absorbed from our diet termed lipoproteins. The purpose of this coating is to hold fat together, so we dont have oil slicks of fat in our bloodstream.
The two lipoproteins usually measured are low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein . LDL is like a juggernaut big clumps of fat and protein that trundle along the arteries and can only be cleared from our system by the liver. As it travels, fat can break away and enter the artery walls, becoming embedded. This build-up called atherosclerosis causes artery walls to narrow so blood cannot get through, resulting in blood clots that can trigger a heart attack or stroke.
HDL is known as good cholesterol. It is much smaller in size and hoovers up fat deposits from the artery wall as it moves around the body. This is why its important to know how much LDL and HDL are in your blood, as the ratio between these two types of fat is what really matters when it comes to risk.
What causes levels to rise?
How is cholesterol measured?
Good news: You do not have to give up on steak, red wine and dessert to lower your cholesterol
How often do I need to get a test?
Exercise For 30 Minutes At Least 5 Days A Week
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Replace Saturated Fats With Healthier Fats
Replacing foods that contain mainly saturated fats with foods that contain unsaturated fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats will help reduce your cholesterol level.
For example, instead of butter and cream in cooking, use olive oil, nut butters or avocado.
Healthy unsaturated fats are found in:
- fruits and vegetables
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.
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How Long Does It Take To Bring Cholesterol Down
In general, if your cholesterol levels dont pose an immediate risk of heart attack or stroke, your primary care physician will give you three months to bring your cholesterol down to normal or near-normal levels naturally. How long it takes for you depends on a whole slew of factors, including your level of overall health, your genes and biology, how high your cholesterol is, and your sexit typically takes women longer to see changes than men.
Although these are things you cant change, in many cases, high cholesterollike many health conditions and chronic diseasesis largely the result of three overarching lifestyle factors: diet, exercise, and stress management. How quickly you can lower your cholesterol is highly dependent on the choices you make in these areas.
Dementia And Other Memory Loss
Since your arteries are so blocked up from your hypertension, that can sometimes restrict the flow of blood to the brain. This puts you at a higher risk of stroke, which could lead to the onset of vascular dementia. Even without stroke, having high blood pressure could cause vascular dementia.
You may notice that you struggle to learn new things, remember, and think, which is also tied to your hypertension even if its not quite dementia.
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Sunday: Oatmeal For Breakfast
Start your week with a cholesterol-lowering food superstar: Choosing oatmeal for breakfast is a simple way to lower cholesterol fast. Oatmeal is high in fiber, and the TLC diet recommends increasing your fiber intake to get to healthy cholesterol levels. Oatmeal contains more soluble fiber than other grains you can actually imagine it sopping up the bad LDL cholesterol. Getting 5 to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber a day decreases your total and LDL cholesterol, according to the Mayo Clinic, which recommends having 1 1/2 cups of oatmeal for 6 g of soluble fiber. And oatmeal doesnt have to taste bland sprinkle on some fruit or cinnamon for extra flavor.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol can increase your levels of triglycerides. Along with LDL cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides raise your risk of heart disease.
Excess alcohol consumption also increases blood pressure and can lead to obesity both additional risk factors for heart disease.
To reduce the risk of heart disease and other risks from alcohol, limit your intake to no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 drinks per day.
Can Exercise Help To Lower Cholesterol
Yes it can. Getting your blood pumping by doing exercise will reduce your cholesterol. Being active helps your body move the bad cholesterol to your liver where it can be removed out of your system.
You dont have to join a gym or go on long runs if you dont enjoy it, just look for chances to move more every day. Many people find that being active improves their mood so they make healthier food choices. You could try:
- taking the stairs instead of the lift
- a brisk walk instead of a slow walk
- doing two-minute bursts of jumping jacks several times a day
- yoga or pilates if you cant get out
- our exercises to do if youre stuck at home.
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:
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Talk To Your Doctor About Medication
May Be Beneficial For Heart Health
Heart disease is currently the worlds biggest killer .
Its known that various health markers are associated with either an increased or decreased risk of heart disease.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve numerous different risk factors, including:
- blood sugar levels
The effects of fasting on heart health need to be studied more in-depth in humans before recommendations can be made.
Studies show that intermittent fasting can improve numerous risk factors for heart disease, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and inflammatory markers.
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Stress Substance Abuse And Cholesterol
Stress is a well-known factor for substance abuse that can lead to all sorts of unhealthy behaviors, including smoking, drinking, using drugs, or overeating in an attempt to self-medicate the physical and mental discomfort stress causes.
While these vices may provide short-term relief, they can do serious damage to your physical and mental health over timeincluding increasing your blood pressure and cholesterol and contributing to anxiety, depression, or addiction.
Smoking cigarettes, cigars, and pipes is a major cause of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Thousands of harmful chemicals in cigarettes change your blood chemistry, which increases the amount of plaque that builds up in your arteries. Smoking thickens the blood and hardens the plaque, making your heart work extra hard to get the oxygen-rich blood where it needs to go. Blood clots form more easily and can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Excessive alcohol consumption
While alcohol doesnt contain cholesterol, it adds extra calories andin some casescarbs to your diet. The excess calories and carbs turn into triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. While moderate alcohol usedefined as no more than one drink per day for women or two per day for menis linked to higher good HDL cholesterol levels, heavy use is associated with numerous health problems, including high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
Friday: Enjoy A Blueberry Yogurt Parfait Dessert
I consider blueberries one of my superfoods, says Crandall, who eats them any chance he gets. All berries contain antioxidants, but certain berries contain more fiber. One serving size of blueberries contains 5 g another reason they’re a good choice to help lower cholesterol fast.
You can eat blueberries dried, and you can cook with them, too. If theyre not in season, you can buy packs of frozen blueberries just be careful to use them as soon as they thaw out, so they’re still firm. An excellent way to enjoy blueberries is to layer them with fat-free or low-fat yogurt for a tasty parfait as a desert.
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Consider The Following Options:
- Eat more fiber. Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole-grain foods like oats or barley may help to lower your bad LDL cholesterol levels.
- Saturated fats typically found in beef, pork, cheese, butter, chicken skin and coconut oil can increase your bad LDL and total cholesterol levels. For better health, gravitate away from red meat , aiming for leaner cuts of meat, fish and skinless chicken.
- Avoid trans fats. To help lower your bad LDL cholesterol levels, reach for heart-healthy oils like olive oil or avocado oil, instead of cooking with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils like margarine. Look at food labels and avoid cookies, crackers and other baked goods containing trans fat
- Go Mediterranean. Increasing nuts, avocados and olive oil , may help to lower bad LDL cholesterol levels. Also increasing fish , walnuts, flaxseeds and leafy green vegetables may help to lower bad LDL cholesterol levels.
While most think that dieting is equivalent to weight loss, the above recommendations are all diets, but focus on replacing components of what you eat with healthier alternatives and are not aimed at primarily reducing weight. That being said, maintaining a healthy weight is also very important for your cardiovascular fitness and health.
The age-old advice of routine exercise coupled with limiting your portion size remains the best long-term solution for obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight.
Increase Plant Protein Sources
Introducing variety into the diet may help people manage some risk factors for heart disease.
Many people get their protein mainly from animal sources. However, it may help for them to include plant protein sources in their diet too.
A number of vegetable foods that contain substantial amounts of protein include:
- beans and legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils, and peas
- grains, such as rice, quinoa, and amaranth
- tree nuts, such as almonds and cashews
- seeds, including pumpkin, sunflower, and hemp seeds
Adding plant-based proteins to the diet can help the body meet its protein needs without adding cholesterol.
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Statins Can Only Do So Much
Ultimately, what many of these studies tell us is that taking care of our arteries involves a lot more than just swallowing a statin drug to lower LDL bad cholesterol. Sure, getting LDL levels down to 100 and below is wonderful. But if youre still eating fatty meals, your arteries are going to suffer.
This is likely part of the reason why most people who take statin drugs to lower their LDL cholesterol levels still have arteries that get progressively more clogged up over time, explains Gomer. Statin drugs do little to alter the production of pro-atherosclerotic and pro-inflammatory HDLs and remnant cholesterol. Nor do they lower the pro-clotting effects of Clotting Factor VII, which are elevated after every high-fat meal.
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 youâd 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 Womenâs Hospital, eating with your LDL in mind doesnât 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. âYou donât have to follow an all-or-nothing approach. Itâs really a matter of common sense,â she says. She suggests a few ways to start getting your cholesterol under control and keep it normal.
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- Research health conditions
- Prepare for a doctorâs visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
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How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally In 28 Simple Steps
There are tons of natural remedies out there for how to lower cholesterol levels, often promising quick results with next to no effort required on your part. But while its true that there are tons of options to keep cholesterol levels in check, it can actually be as simple as swapping out a few foods in your diet for healthier options, switching up your workout routine or adding a supplement or two into the mix.
Ready to get started? Lets take a look at 28 simple methods for how to lower cholesterol and how it can impact your health.
Good Cholesterol Turns Bad
Compared to the polyunsaturated fat meal, the saturated fat meal essentially turned good HDL cholesterol into bad HDL cholesterol particles.
Lets back up a bit and explain HDLs role. HDL is supposed to be anti-inflammatory, that is, its supposed to inhibit the proliferation of molecules that promote inflammation and cause other molecules to stick to the artery wall. These molecules can destabilize atherosclerotic plaques, triggering plaque rupture and heart attacks.
They can also thicken the blood and slow its flow through the arteries, like congealed fat attempting to flow through kitchen pipes.
Shortly after eating one meal high in saturated fat, the blood in arteries slows down like sludge.
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