Natural Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol Levels
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Heres our process.
Cholesterol is made in your liver and has many important functions. For example, it helps keep the walls of your cells flexible and is needed to make several hormones.
However, like anything in the body, too much cholesterol creates concerns.
Like fat, cholesterol does not dissolve in water. Instead, to move around the body, it depends on molecules called lipoproteins. These carry cholesterol, fat, and fat-soluble vitamins in your blood.
Different kinds of lipoproteins have different effects on health. For example, high levels of low-density lipoprotein results in cholesterol deposits in blood vessel walls, which can lead to (
- heart attack
- kidney failure
In contrast, high-density lipoprotein helps carry cholesterol away from vessel walls and helps prevent these conditions (
Nuts Especially Almonds And Walnuts
Nuts are another exceptionally nutrient-dense food.
Theyre very high in monounsaturated fats. Walnuts are also rich in the plant variety of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat associated with heart health .
Almonds and other nuts are particularly rich in L-arginine, an amino acid that helps your body make nitric oxide. This, in turn, helps regulate blood pressure .
Whats more, nuts provide phytosterols. These plant compounds are structurally similar to cholesterol and help lower cholesterol by blocking its absorption in your intestines.
Calcium, magnesium and potassium, also found in nuts, may reduce blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease.
In an analysis of 25 studies, eating 23 servings of nuts per day decreased bad LDL cholesterol by an average of 10.2 mg/dl .
Eating a daily serving of nuts is linked to a 28% lower risk of both fatal and nonfatal heart disease .
Fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are excellent sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3s bolster heart health by increasing good HDL cholesterol and lowering inflammation and stroke risk.
In one large, 25-year study in adults, those who ate the most non-fried fish were the least likely to develop metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that includes high blood pressure and low good HDL levels .
In another large study in older adults, those who ate tuna or other baked or broiled fish at least once a week had a 27% lower risk of stroke .
Hummus Instead Of French Onion Dip
You probably already know to skip potato chips in favor of vegetables such as celery and carrot sticks, but whats the best choice for dipping? Hint: Its not the favorite high-calorie French onion dip. Hummus, made from mashed chickpeas and heart-healthy olive oil, is just as tasty and has both fiber and protein, unlike saturated fat-rich cream-based dips. You can also pair it with whole grain pita chips, which arent fried like potato chips.
Also Check: Does Shrimp Raise Cholesterol
The Link Between Dietary And Blood Cholesterol
The liver produces as much cholesterol as your body needs. It packages cholesterol with fat in whats called very low-density lipoproteins .
As VLDL delivers fat to cells throughout the body, it changes into the more dense LDL, which carries cholesterol wherever it is needed.
The liver also releases HDL, which then carries unused cholesterol back to the liver. This process is called reverse cholesterol transport, and it protects against clogged arteries and other types of heart disease.
Some lipoproteins, especially LDL and VLDL, are prone to damage by free radicals in a process called oxidation. Oxidized LDL and VLDL are even more harmful to heart health .
Although food companies often advertise products as being low in cholesterol, recent research has shown that dietary cholesterol actually has only a small influence on the amount of cholesterol in the body .
This is because the liver changes the amount of cholesterol it makes depending on how much you eat. When your body absorbs more cholesterol from your diet, it makes less in the liver.
Current guidelines by leading U.S. health organizations for lowering risk of heart disease no longer contain specific recommended levels for dietary cholesterol, including the:
- American Heart Association (
- 7 )
The guidelines do recommend moderating cholesterol consumption, but this is more to limit the saturated fat that often accompanies cholesterol in foods than to limit intake of cholesterol itself .
Sugar: One Of The Very Worstavoid As Much As Possible
Large amounts of added sugar in your diet increase your total cholesterol, lower your good HDL cholesterol, and significantly increase triglyceride levels. High cholesterol is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the damage too much added sugar can do to your body. While American adults consume an average of 77 grams of sugar each day, the American Heart Associations recommendation for a heart-healthy amount of sugar is 36 grams for men and 25 grams for women.
You May Like: Bone Broth And Cholesterol
How The Fat You Eat Affects Cholesterol Levels
The relationship between the fat we eat and our health, particularly our cardiovascular health, has been hotly debated for many years.
Heres what you need to know:
Not all fats are created equally.
The kinds of fat you eat matter more than the amount.
There are different types of fats in our diet:
Polyunsaturated fats: essential and important nutrients
Monounsaturated fats: can come from plant or animal products and are generally considered healthy
Saturated fats: less healthy than mono- and polyunsaturated fats
Trans fats: unhealthy fats
Curb Cholesterol Not Flavor
Itâs no secret that certain foods can help you lower your LDL cholesterol, which causes a buildup of plaque in the arteries that leads to heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. But what may surprise you is that many of these foods are delicious and easy to incorporate into your everyday meals without sacrificing flavor or fun.
Recommended Reading: Does Stress Raise Cholesterol
Ground Turkey Chili Instead Of Beef Chili
If youre a purist, you may not favor ground turkey itself even in burgers, it can taste like, well, turkey. But lean ground turkey, which usually contains 7 percent fat compared with the 20 percent fat content of that 80 percent lean ground beef at the market, is a cinch to disguise. The lower the saturated fat, the less detrimental it is to your cholesterol level. Even better, “no one can tell the difference,” says Gebo, who uses ground turkey all the time to make chili. One more diet tip for lower cholesterol: Ground turkey makes a great substitute for ground beef in dishes like meatballs or meatloaf.
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: Oyster High In Cholesterol
Reduce Your Intake Of Saturated And Trans Fats
Adopt and follow a healthy diet thats low in saturated and trans fats. A diet high in these fats can raise levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood.
Saturated fat is usually solid at room temperature. Its found in animal products such as meat and dairy, but also in palm oil, coconut oil and full-cream milk. Read more about saturated fat-rich foods here.
Trans fats are found in store-bought baked goods, snack foods and deep-fried foods. There is strong evidence that trans fats increase levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood, while decreasing levels of HDL cholesterol.
Some foods contain cholesterol . Foods that contain cholesterol include liver, pate, kidneys, prawns and egg yolks. These types of food are not usually eaten in large quantities, so its OK to include them in your diet in small amounts.
Foods that contain saturated fats have a greater effect on blood cholesterol levels than foods that contain dietary cholesterol.
Roasted Potatoes Instead Of French Fries
French fries are, well, fried and usually doused in fat, so they’re a good food to skip when you’re watching your cholesterol levels. Avoid ordering fries at restaurants whenever possible. Instead, make them at home, where you can control the preparation . Gebos recipe: Cut a potato into sections, brush with olive oil, and bake in the oven 20 minutes at 450 degrees should be enough to render them nice and crispy. Sprinkle them with pepper for more flavor.
Also Check: Cholesterol In Shrimps Good Or Bad
What Causes High Cholesterol
Some causes of high blood cholesterol include:
- Low intake of foods containing healthy fats healthy fats tend to increase the good cholesterol.
- High intake of foods containing unhealthy fats such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, butter, coconut oil, palm oil and most deep-fried takeaway foods and commercially baked products . Foods high in trans-fats include most commercially baked products and deep-fried takeaway foods.
- Low intake of foods containing fibre foods that are high in dietary fibre, particularly soluble fibre, can reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood. Include fibre-containing foods in your diet by choosing vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, nuts and seeds every day.
- Cholesterol in food this has only a small effect on LDL cholesterol -saturated fats and trans-fats in food have a much greater effect.
- You can also eat up to 7 eggs a week as part of a healthy, balanced diet low in saturated and trans-fats, without increasing your risk of heart disease.
Some people will have high cholesterol even if they follow a healthy, balanced diet low in saturated fats and trans-fats. These people may need to take cholesterol-lowering medicine as prescribed by their doctor.
Coffee: Filtered Is Okay
Coffee may affect cholesterol levels due to the diterpenes found in our favorite breakfast drink. These suppress the bodys ability to produce substances that help break down cholesterol. However, research shows that if you use a coffee filter to brew your cuppa, its unlikely to increase your cholesterol.
Don’t Miss: Does Shrimp Have Good Or Bad Cholesterol
Eat More Plant Sources Of Protein
Excellent plant proteins include beans all beans, like lentils, red beans, pinto beans, and soybeans. Rather than raising blood cholesterol levels, as animal sources of protein do, beans actually help lower cholesterol.
Beans also help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, and may even lower cancer risk.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
One of the most important foods in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet is extra virgin olive oil.
One five-year study gave older adults at risk of heart disease 4 tablespoons a day of extra virgin olive oil alongside a Mediterranean diet.
The olive oil group had a 30% lower risk of major heart events, such as stroke and heart attack, compared to people who followed a low-fat diet .
Olive oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, the kind that may help raise good HDL and lower bad LDL cholesterol.
It is also a source of polyphenols, some of which reduce the inflammation that can drive heart disease .
High cholesterol levels are a major risk factor for heart disease.
Thankfully, you can lower this risk by incorporating certain foods into your diet.
You can also practice techniques like mindful eating to make sure youre enjoying your meal and getting full without overdoing it.
Don’t Miss: Shrimp And High Cholesterol
How Do I Know If I Have High Cholesterol
Many Australians don’t know they have high cholesterol, because there are no symptoms. High cholesterol can only be detected through a blood test.
Some people have a condition called familial hypercholesterolaemia where a genetic problem leads to high cholesterol. About one in 500 Australians has this condition and many dont know they have it. If you have a family history of high cholesterol or of heart disease at a young age, ask your doctor about your risk.
What Are The Risks Linked To High Cholesterol
Too much LDL cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of heart and blood vessel disease .
The excess LDL cholesterol leads to fatty deposits called plaque forming in the artery walls. Over time, the plaque causes narrowing and hardening of the arteries .
This can lead to:
- Angina when plaque builds up in the major arteries that supply your heart, known as the coronary arteries, they become narrower and are partially blocked, reducing blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart. This may cause shortness of breath and chest pain.
- Heart attack if a plaque in a coronary artery bursts , a clot may form and block the supply of blood to the heart, starving it of oxygen.
- Stroke if the blood vessels that supply the brain become narrower or blocked by plaque, blood supply to the brain can be severely reduced or cut off, causing a stroke. Strokes can also be caused when a clot from another part of the body travels through the blood and lodges in an artery in the brain.
- Peripheral vascular disease this usually affects the arteries that supply the legs and feet, causing leg pain when walking , and even pain when resting, when the circulation is more badly affected
A high level of HDL cholesterol is good because HDL cholesterol helps remove other forms of cholesterol from the blood, taking them back to the liver where they’re removed from the blood and passed out of the body.
Also Check: Are Shrimp Bad For Cholesterol
Can My Diet Help My Cholesterol
Eating certain foods can help improve your cholesterol and overall heart health.
The best place to start is to eat a wide variety of plant foods. These include:
Eating plant foods will help you get a range of nutrients, heart-healthy fats and fibre. These all promote optimal heart health.
Foods That Lower Cholesterol
A persons diet plays a crucial role in how healthy their cholesterol levels are. Eating foods that keep cholesterol within a healthy range can help prevent health issues, including a heart attack or stroke.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that travels through the bloodstream as a part of two different lipoproteins: low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein .
People sometimes refer to LDL cholesterol as bad cholesterol because it causes fatty deposits to build up in the blood vessels. These deposits can block blood flow and cause heart attacks or strokes.
HDL, or good, cholesterol helps remove cholesterol from the body through the liver. High levels of HDL cholesterol can reduce the risk of heart problems and strokes.
You May Like: Cholesterol In Canned Tuna
Milk: Whole Is Better Than Skim For Higher Good Cholesterol
A six-week, randomized and controlled study on the effects of whole milk and skim milk on cholesterol levels found that drinking a half-liter of whole milk per day significantly increased good HDL cholesterol, while skim milk had little effect. Additionally, neither whole nor skim milk has a statistically significant impact on bad LDL cholesterol or triglycerides.
Dark Chocolate And Cocoa
Cocoa is the main ingredient in dark chocolate.
It may seem too good to be true, but research verifies the claims that dark chocolate and cocoa can lower bad LDL cholesterol .
In one study, healthy adults drank a cocoa beverage twice a day for a month.
They experienced a reduction in bad LDL cholesterol of 0.17 mmol/l . Their blood pressure also decreased and their good HDL cholesterol increased .
Cocoa and dark chocolate also seem to protect the bad LDL cholesterol in your blood from oxidation, which is a key cause of heart disease .
However, chocolate is often high in added sugar which negatively affects heart health.
Therefore, you should use cocoa alone or choose dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 7585% or higher.
The effect seems strongest in people with high cholesterol.
SummaryThere is some evidence that soy foods can reduce heart disease risk factors, especially in people with high cholesterol.
Read Also: Beer Increases Cholesterol
Puree Fruits And Veggies For Baking
Pureed fruits or vegetables can be used in place of oil in muffin, cookie, cake and snack bar recipes to give your treats an extra healthy boost. For many recipes, use the specified amount of puree instead of oil. Check the mixs package or your cookbooks substitutions page for other conversions. You can:
- Use applesauce in spice muffins or oatmeal cookies.
- Include bananas in breads and muffins.
- Try zucchini in brownies.
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
You May Like: Shrimp Cholesterol Good Or Bad