Cut Back On Added Sugar
A sugary diet can cause your liver to make more LDL cholesterol while lowering your HDL levels. Excess sugar can also raise your triglycerides and inhibit an enzyme that breaks them down. To prevent this, replace sugary fare with naturally-sweet alternatives. Instead of a bowl of candy, for example, have unsweetened applesauce or a baked pear. When you do indulge in high-sugar treats, stick to modest portions.
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
Who Can Take Supplements
Researchers are still seeking to confirm the benefits of supplements in treating high cholesterol. For this reason, it remains unclear who can or cannot take them. In general, they are considered safer to use in younger people with no history of serious heart-related illness or risk.
However, all people should speak to a healthcare provider before taking supplements.
One reason for this is because your own medical history may include other health conditions that may be affected by taking an herb or nutritional supplement.
Another concern may be the potential for interaction with any drugs you already take.
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How Can I Lower My Cholesterol By Making Lifestyle Changes
You can lower your cholesterol levels by making lifestyle changes, and through taking medicines if that’s what your doctor advises. Some people will only need to improve their lifestyle and diet to get their cholesterol to a safe level. Others may need to take cholesterol-lowering medicines, as well.
What Foods Will Lower My Cholesterol
The best way to eat a better diet is to swap your saturated fats with foods that are high in unsaturated fat like vegetable oils , nuts seeds and avocado and oily fish.
A few small swaps can make a big difference to your cholesterol level. Many people say they dont notice the difference. Try:
- swapping butter to vegetable oil spreads like sunflower, olive or rapeseed oil spreads
- switching whole milk to skimmed milk
- using natural yogurt instead of sour cream or double cream
- replacing regular mince with leaner, lower fat options
- swapping red or processed meat for fish, turkey or chicken without the skin, or plant-based proteins such as lentils, soya or Quorn
- switch your crisps for unsalted nuts
- having reduced fat cheese instead of regular cheese
- ordering less takeaways. Instead try our healthy comfort foods for delicious heart-healthy options.
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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 .
How Often Should I Have My Cholesterol Tested
Adults should have their blood lipids measured every 5 years, starting at 45 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should start lipid blood tests at 35, because on average heart and blood vessel disease such as heart attacks and stroke happen 10 to 20 years earlier in Indigenous people.
All Australians in these age groups are eligible for a regular 20-minute heart health check with their doctor. This checks your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Your doctor can then assess your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 5 years.
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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.
Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
Continue managing a normal cholesterol range for life with regular doctor checkups, exercise, and healthy food choices. These lifestyle changes can help you to reduce the risk of disease and promote longevity. Work with your health care professionals to get tips to improve your cholesterol by changing your routine.
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.
Cut Back On Animal Fats
Forgo fatty, processed meats such as bologna, salami, pepperoni and hot dogs, as well as fatty red meats like ribs and prime cuts of beef, pork, veal or lamb. Also, skip skin-on chicken or turkey. Avoid full-fat dairy products such as whole milk, cheese, cream, sour cream, cream cheese and butter. These foods contain saturated fat as well as cholesterol, which are both associated with higher blood cholesterol and plaque buildup.
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Avoid Artificial Trans Fats
While trans fats occur naturally in red meat and dairy products, most peoples main source is artificial trans fat used in many restaurants and processed foods .
Artificial trans fats are produced by hydrogenating or adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats such as vegetable oils to change their structure and solidify them at room temperature.
Trans fats make a cheap alternative to natural saturated fats and have been widely used by restaurants and food manufacturers.
However, substantive research shows that eating artificial trans fats increases bad LDL cholesterol, lowers good HDL cholesterol and is linked to a 23% greater risk of heart disease (
Summary Artificial trans fats are linked to higher LDL cholesterol levels and an increased risk of heart disease. Recently, the US banned their use in restaurants and processed foods, making them easier to avoid.
What Happens If I Incorporated Dietary Changes And My Cholesterol Is Still Not Within Recommended Ranges
If youve made some dietary changes and you still havent seen results, try incorporating phytosterol into your diet. Phytosterol is similar to the bodys cholesterol and can block cholesterol from being absorbed into your body.
Phytosterol can lower your cholesterol by 10% and your LDL by 14%, she says. Aim to get about 2 grams of phytosterol a day. Some common food and dietary supplements include high sterol or stanol esters be sure to read the labels.
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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.
Eat A Variety Of Unsaturated Fats
Two main kinds of fats are found in food: saturated and unsaturated.
On a chemical level, saturated fats contain no double bonds and are very straight, allowing them to pack together tightly and stay solid at room temperature.
Unsaturated fats contain at least one double bond and have a bent shape, preventing them from joining together as tightly. These attributes make them liquid at room temperature.
Research shows that replacing most of your saturated fats with unsaturated fats can reduce total cholesterol by 9% and bad LDL cholesterol by 11% in just eight weeks .
Longer-term studies have also found that people who eat more unsaturated fats and fewer saturated fats tend to have lower cholesterol levels over time .
Summary Eating more unsaturated fats and fewer saturated fats has been linked to lower total cholesterol and bad LDL levels over time. Avocados, olives, fatty fish and nuts are especially rich in unsaturated fats.
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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:
What Are The Negative Effects On The Body From High Ldl Cholesterol Levels
There are many illnesses and health concerns that stem from having high total cholesterol levels.
Some health conditions that can be triggered by high cholesterol include:
- Atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries and vascular dementia, which can lower brain function.
- Increased risk of heart disease and strokes from plaque buildup on artery walls.
- Angina chest pain that is a result of atherosclerosis restricting blood flow to the heart muscle.
- Peripheral Vascular Disease
And that is to name a few.
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Ditch The Fizzy Drink
Instead of drinking sugary fizzy drinks, drink water. Sugary drinks contain lots of refined sugar, which is bad for your heart and overall health. Another bonus tap water is free!
If you would like a cholesterol test or have any questions or concerns about your heart health, please contact your GP or healthcare provider for advice.
Keep Cholesterol In Check
If you have high cholesterol, your doctor will likely recommend medication and healthy lifestyle changes.
When it comes to high cholesterol and other chronic conditions, small lifestyle changes can have a big impact. In fact, some lifestyle changes can reduce LDL cholesterol in as little as two weeks.
What changes give you the most bang for your buck?
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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.
Ask About Cholesterol Medication
Cholesterol medications such as statins may be the fastest way to lower cholesterol for some people usually within 6 to 8 weeks. This allows a person to quickly reduce their heart disease risk while cultivating a healthy lifestyle. During this period, a person can focus on lowering cholesterol over time with lifestyle and dietary changes.
Because high cholesterol is a risk factor for serious heart health issues, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology recommend statins for many groups of people with high LDL cholesterol.
If LDL cholesterol does not drop enough with diet and lifestyle changes and statins, a person might need additional medications.
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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 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.
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Try Taking Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring compound that helps lower LDL cholesterol in the body.
This is because they help reduce inflammation and blood pressure which can lower your risk for heart disease over time.
Studies show that taking Coenzyme Q-CoQ pills may lower LDL cholesterol levels by up to 15%. The best part about this supplement is it does not have any side effects unless you are allergic to seafood!
This is one of many supplements created from natural sources as well, so be sure to speak with a doctor before beginning any new medication or supplementation regimen.
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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