Who Should Be Tested
Your GP may recommend that you have your blood cholesterol levels tested if you:
- have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, stroke or mini-stroke , or peripheral arterial disease
- are over the age of 40 people over 40 should have their estimate of CVD risk reviewed regularly
- have a family history of early cardiovascular disease for example, if your father or brother developed heart disease or had a heart attack or stroke before the age of 55, or if your mother or sister had these conditions before the age of 65
- have a close family member who has a cholesterol-related condition, such as familial hypercholesterolaemia
- are overweight or obese
- have high blood pressure or diabetes
- have another medical condition, such as kidney disease, an underactive thyroid, or an inflamed pancreas these conditions can cause increased levels of cholesterol or triglycerides
Eat To Lower Your Cholesterol
Cholesterol isnt all bad news. Follow these tips to lower your cholesterol, the natural way.
Chances are, youve heard a thing or two about cholesterol. Having high blood cholesterol is a risk factor for developing heart disease.
But did you know that you can reduce your cholesterol level by making smart food choices? Its true!
Before we get to the details, lets be clear on what were talking about. For years, cholesterol has had a bad rep that it doesnt really deserve. The truth is, we need cholesterol to function. Your body makes most of the cholesterol it needs. The rest comes from foods you eat.
Heres the important thing: Dietary cholesterol found in meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products has less impact on increasing your blood cholesterol level. Foods that contain lots of saturated fat are the true culprits.
Now heres how to make nutritious choices to lower your blood cholesterol.
Keep eating simple
In the last 20 years, the rules on healthy eating have shifted. Super restrictive diets arent sustainable or the healthiest choice. Rather than zeroing in on a single nutrient, nutrition research shows the quality of your diet matters more. A diet filled with the right portions of whole, unprocessed foods can help decrease heart disease and stroke. What does that look like? For a healthy, balanced eating plan:
Cook at home
Choose more fibre
Each of these options will provide you with two grams:
- ½ ripe avocado
Cholesterol And Healthy Eating
What we eat has an impact on our cholesterol levels and can help reduce our risk of disease. Try to eat a wide variety of foods from each of the five food groups. Not only does this help to maintain a healthy and interesting diet, but it provides essential nutrients to the body.
The Heart Foundation recommends:
- Plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains.
- A variety of healthy protein sources , legumes , nuts and seeds. Smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry can also be included in a heart healthy diet. If choosing red meat, make sure it is lean and limit to 1-3 times a week.
- Unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese. Those with high blood cholesterol should choose reduced fat varieties.
- Healthy fat choices nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking
- Herbs and spices to flavour foods, instead of adding salt.
Also, be mindful on how much you are eating and whether you are filling up on unhealthy foods. Portion sizes have increased over time and many of us are eating more than we need which can lead to obesity and increase our risk of cardiovascular disease.
Ideally, a healthy plate would include servings of ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrates and ½ vegetables.
Serving size can vary depending on age, gender and specific nutrition needs.
Don’t Miss: How Much Cholesterol In Crab
What Diet Is Best For Lowering Cholesterol
Studies have found that plant-based diets lower cholesterol levels more effectively than other diets. In 2017, researchers reviewed 49 studies that compared plant-based diets with omnivorous diets to test their effects on cholesterol. Plant-based diets lowered total cholesterol, LDL, and HDL levels when compared to omnivorous diets. Low-fat, plant-based regimens typically reduce LDL levels by about 15 to 30 percent.
Some recommendations for lowering cholesterol still include consuming chicken and fish. However, a number of studies have shown that heart disease patients who continue to eat these foods still tend to get worse over time. Those who adopt a low-fat, plant-based diet, get daily exercise, avoid tobacco, and manage stress have the best chance of reversing heart disease.
High Cholesterol: Prevention Treatment And Research
Cholesterol is a natural component in everyones blood, and supports normal function of cell membranes, hormone levels and more. However, having too much, is considered hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia or high blood cholesterol a major risk factor for heart attack, heart disease and stroke. About 71 million Americans have high cholesterol.
Heres what happens in your body when you have high cholesterol: The waxy cholesterol builds up in artery walls and contributes to plaque, a hard deposit that narrows and clogs the arteries.
When plaque builds up, it becomes harder for the heart to circulate blood and oxygen, which can cause chest pain or shortness of breath with increased exertion . If a blood clot forms at the site of a disrupted plaque in a narrowed artery, it can block blood flow to the brain or to the heart .
There are actually several different types of cholesterol, one of which is high density lipoprotein cholesterol. High levels of some kinds of cholesterol, including low density lipoprotein cholesterol, can be harmful to your heart and blood vessels.
Recommended Reading: How Much Cholesterol In Egg Beaters
Ldl Cholesterol: How Low Can You Go
- By Dara K. Lee Lewis, MD, Contributor
Elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is a clearly established risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease . Lowering LDL with medications and/or lifestyle changes has been shown to lower CVD risk. Just how far to lower LDL, however, has remained controversial.
Current guidelines developed by the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, and several other professional organizations recommend lowering elevated LDL levels to 70 milligrams per deciliter in people with high-risk CVD. However, recent studies have suggested that CVD risk may continue to drop as LDL is lowered beyond these targets, leading some cardiologists to believe that our current guidelines are not aggressive enough. Others are concerned that lowering LDL too much may lead to harm.
One Food Alone Will Not Lower Cholesterol
In the same way that no single food will cause you to have high cholesterol, theres no one food that can save the day, either. There are no magic foods. You have to look at the overall diet, says Judith Wylie-Rosett, RDN, doctor of education, professor of epidemiology and population health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. The key to lowering cholesterol levels is to eat a generally healthy diet of lean protein, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy, and to limit saturated and trans fat.
Research has shown that adopting a plant-based diet can be a powerful way to lower LDL cholesterol. A meta-analysis of 96 studies on the health impacts of vegan and vegetarian diets, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, found that a plant-based diet significantly reduced both total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol numbers. In another study, Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers compared their own findings to what previous research on heart disease and diet found. Just as previous research suggested, the new study also found that people who ate less meat and whose diet most resembled a vegetarian way of eating had lower overall risk of heart disease.
Recommended Reading: Is Canned Tuna Bad For Cholesterol
Why Are We Even Trying To Lower Our Cholesterol So Quickly
The crux of this entire article rests on this answer.
- Maybe you wish to show your health or life insurance company a certificate of health. It certainly involves a blood test.
- Is it ethical? That is not for us to decide. However, lowering your cholesterol in a week or less can actually end up inspiring you to pursue fitness and healthy eating afterwards.
Some People Will Still Need Medication
Make the changes and work closely with your doctor to monitor your levels. Wiley-Rosett says, There are ways to bring down cholesterol levels through healthy changes, but in the end, you may need medication as well.
Diet and exercise can go a long way toward improving high cholesterol and, in many cases, can alleviate the problem entirely, but this isnt the case for everyone. Some people will need to take cholesterol-lowering medication in addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Work with your doctor to figure out whats best for you.
Because other factors including, sometimes, the medication you take contribute to cholesterol levels in addition to your diet, hitting your health targets can be complicated. If youre not sure where to start, pick one or two changes that you know you can stick with. Small adjustments to your diet, more physical activity, or other lifestyle changes can go a long way to lowering cholesterol levels.
Additional reporting by Kaitlin Sullivan
You May Like: Are Clams High In Cholesterol
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:
- oily fish
- fruits and vegetables
Different Ways For Lowering Cholesterol
There are four major ways people lower their bad cholesterol: diet, exercise, supplements, and medications. The first three methods have no side effects while lowering LDL, but all will take time to work effectively, so patience is key!
Here we will break down seven completely natural ways that you can help lower your cholesterol levels.
Also Check: Blue Crab Cholesterol
Exercise For 30 Minutes Nearly Every Day
A Journal of the American Medical Association study credited NFL players’ high level of physical activity with helping to mitigate the heart risks associated with being overweight. You don’t need to be a professional athlete to benefit from exercise. Moderate exercise will help to keep your heart healthy.
This Morning’s Dr Chris Discusses The Signs Of High Cholesterol
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
You might have high cholesterol without even knowing it as it doesnt cause many symptoms. But too much of this fatty substance can lead to your blood vessels getting blocked, making you prone to heart problems and stroke. Heres one way to lower levels.
Recommended Reading: Snow Crab Cholesterol
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.
Eat At Least 25 Grams Of Fiber Daily
Studies link a high-fiber diet with a lower risk of heart disease-one reason Bonci suggests reaching for fiber-rich foods all day. Soluble fiber in oats, beans and citrus fruits, like oranges, helps reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. Opting for whole grains, such as brown rice and whole wheat pasta, boosts your intake of total fiber and can decrease levels of triglycerides, another “unhealthy” fat in the blood, as a diet rich in refined carbohydrates may stoke the body’s production of triglycerides.
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.
Becoming More Physically Active
A sedentary lifestyle lowers HDL cholesterol. Less HDL means theres less good cholesterol to remove bad cholesterol from your arteries.
Physical activity is important. At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week is enough to lower both cholesterol and high blood pressure. And you have lots of options: brisk walking, swimming, bicycling or even yard work can fit the bill.
Don’t Miss: Is White Rice High In Cholesterol
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of High Cholesterol
High cholesterol generally doesnt have obvious symptoms, but it can increase the risk of serious health conditions if left untreated. Thats why its important to get a blood test and regular check-ups. If you are 45 or older , see your doctor for a cholesterol test as part of a Heart Health Check. If you have a family history of high cholesterol, speak to your GP about your heart disease risk.
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 added to certain oils and butter substitutes.
A research review reported that clinical studies show that taking 1.53 grams of plant sterols/stanols daily can reduce LDL concentration by 7.512%. Researchers said taking it with a main meal twice per day allows for optimal cholesterol-lowering .
Although research has established the cholesterol-lowering benefit of plant stanols and sterols, it has not yet proved that they decrease the risk of heart disease. Numerous clinical trials have suggested that plant sterols supplements and enriched foods may lower heart disease risk, but hard data is still lacking .
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.
You May Like: Is Cholesterol A Hydrophobic Or Hydrophilic Molecule
What Should My Cholesterol Levels Be
Blood cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, often shortened to mmol/L.
As a general guide, total cholesterol levels should be:
- 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults
- 4mmol/L or less for those at high risk
As a general guide, LDL levels should be:
- 3mmol/L or less for healthy adults
- 2mmol/L or less for those at high risk
An ideal level of HDL is above 1mmol/L. A lower level of HDL can increase your risk of heart disease.
Your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL may also be calculated. This is your total cholesterol level divided by your HDL level. Generally, this ratio should be below four, as a higher ratio increases your risk of heart disease.
Cholesterol is only one risk factor. The level at which specific treatment is required will depend on whether other risk factors, such as smoking and high blood pressure, are also present.
How Can I Lower My Cholesterol With Medicines
As well as making lifestyle changes, some people will need to take cholesterol-lowering medicines to reduce their risk of heart and blood vessel disease, known as cardiovascular disease. The medicines most commonly used are called statins.
Your doctor will consider all your risk factors for cardiovascular disease before suggesting medication not just your cholesterol and lipid results. If youve already had a heart attack or stroke, taking statins can substantially lower your risk of having another one.
Statins work by slowing the amount of cholesterol made in your liver. In response, your liver uses the cholesterol already in your blood to make up for the deficit. This lowers the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood.
If statins alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may need additional medicines.
Contact your doctor if your medicines are causing any side effects.
Also Check: Normal Ldl Levels Female
Alcohol And Ldl Levels
Although moderate consumption of alcohol can significantly raise HDL levels, it can also lower LDL, according to studies. Moderate consumption means one serving a day for women and one to two servings per day for men.
However, drinking more alcohol doesnt necessarily equal better results in terms of improving your heart health. Studies have also indicated that drinking more than three alcoholic drinks a day could actually increase your chances of heart disease.
How Can I Lower My Cholesterol And Blood Sugar Naturally
Medications can assist your cholesterol and lower blood sugar levels. However, isnt it better to manage both naturally without the help of medications and treatment? Changes in your diet and lifestyle can play a major role in lowering cholesterol and blood sugar. Eating heart-healthy foods, practicing hearthealthy living can improve your cholesterol without a doubt. #lowerbloodSugarandcholesterolnaturally
9 Tips to Cholesterol-lowering and lower Blood Sugar naturally
Read Also: For Cholesterol Testing Fasting Is Needing