Natural Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol Levels
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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 or cholesterol in the wrong places creates problems.
Like fat, cholesterol does not dissolve in water. Instead, its transport in the body depends on molecules called lipoproteins, which carry cholesterol, fat and fat-soluble vitamins in the blood.
Different kinds of lipoproteins have different effects on health. For example, high levels of low-density lipoprotein result in cholesterol deposits in blood vessel walls, which can lead to clogged arteries, strokes, heart attacks and kidney failure .
In contrast, high-density lipoprotein helps carry cholesterol away from vessel walls and helps prevent these diseases .
This article will review 10 natural ways to increase the good HDL cholesterol and lower the bad LDL cholesterol.
Foods Rich In Unsaturated Fats
- vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, nut and seed oils
- avocado, nuts and seeds
- a medium sized vegetable such as a turnip, parsnip, sweet potato, leek, tomato or carrot
- a medium sized fruit for example, an apple, orange or banana
- 2 small fruits such as plums or satsumas
- a handful of berries or grapes and other small fruits like strawberries and prunes
- a good-sized slice of a larger fruit such as a melon, mango or pineapple
- a tablespoon of dried fruit
- a 150ml glass of fruit juice
- a bowl of salad
Fruits and vegetables can be fresh, tinned, frozen or dried. They all count. If you choose tinned, choose options in juice or water, without added sugar or salt.
Potatoes, yams, cassava and plantains are exceptions. They dont count because they count as a starchy food, like rice or pasta.
Unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies count too, but only one portion. More than one doesnt count because the loose sugar and acid in them can damage your teeth.
Medications Can Lower Ldl And Triglycerides
To get cholesterol and triglycerides into the target zone, many people with diabetes need to add medications to their healthy eating and exercise plans. Reducing elevated LDL cholesterol is typically the top priority. To achieve the target goals, many people need to take a medication in the statin category.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that statin therapy be added for people who have:
- a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and whose LDL cholesterol doesn’t hit the target of 100 mg/dl or less with healthy lifestyle change.
- cardiovascular disease and who don’t reach the LDL cholesterol target of 70 mg/dl or less.
Statin medications are most effective at lowering LDL cholesterol. All medications should be prescribed and monitored by a health care provider.
Common statins include:
Other medications that lower both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides:
- Prescription-strength niacin
Other medications prescribed to lower LDL cholesterol:
- Bile acid sequestrants, such as Questran or Colestid
- Welchol , a bile acid sequestrant that can also lower blood glucose
Other medications prescribed to lower triglycerides:
- Prescription-strength fish-oil pills
Other medications to lower cholesterol and blood pressure:
Medications that have been found to increase triglycerides:
- Birth-control pills
- Tamoxifen, a breast cancer drug
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Weight Loss Can Lower Triglycerides And Ldl Cholesterol
It doesn’t take dramatic weight loss to lower LDL and triglyceride levels. Just 5 to 10 pounds can make a difference, says Jerry Blaine, M.D., who specialized in cholesterol management, lipid disorders, hypertension, and preventive medicine, including at the Lipid Clinic at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts, before retiring in 2013.
The same applies to triglycerides. The more calories you eat and don’t burn off, the more you store, which can lead to higher-than-normal triglyceride levels.
Additionally, there are other trim-down steps you can take to lower your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides:
— Set a goal to lose 5-10 percent of your total body weight. For example, a 200-pound adult would aim to lose 10-20 pounds. Once the weight is off, keep up your healthy lifestyle to maintain your new weight.
— Cut 200-500 calories a day from the number of calories it takes to maintain your weight. Reducing caloric intake will lower both LDL and triglycerides.
Beans: Healthy Pintos And Garbanzos Stand Out
All types of beans and other legumes pinto, red, white, navy, black, garbanzo, lima, and lentil, for example are excellent sources of soluble fiber. Fiber binds to cholesterol-laden bile salts in the small intestine and promotes their excretion along with waste. When this happens, the liver must use more cholesterol to produce more bile salts, therefore lowering the amount of cholesterol available to make LDL.
Still, results of nutrition surveys published in January 2016 in PLoS One show that awareness of the cholesterol-lowering benefits of beans is low. Eating as little as one half cup of cooked pinto beans per day may lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol significantly, noted a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in June 2007.
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List Of High Cholesterol Foods Must Avoid :
Cholesterol is good but only decisive level. It is needful by the body to keep producing healthy cells, have got high cholesterol puts you at risk of heart disease. To keep cholesterol nether check, it is essential to knowing high cholesterol foods that you can deflect for your good health. Saturated fats are available in meats and dairy products, and they instruct the liver to produce more bad cholesterol. Trans fats, you will get fried food, baked foods. To reduce cholesterol, avoid trans fats and consume saturated fat, but to a limit.
1) whole-fat dairy products, drink fat-free milk
2) Avoid junk foods like burgers, pizza, packed chips
3) Red meat and fishes are good for health when taken in limited quantity
4) Egg yolk is loaded with cholesterol and cause harm
7) Deep fried food, ghee
8) Processed meats, fried chicken
What Is Hdl Cholesterol Versus Ldl Cholesterol
Cholesterol is important for the body because it helps make the hormones and other substances that help regulate important body functions. HDL cholesterol is good for your heart because it helps lower bad LDL cholesterol in the blood.
HDL removes excess amounts of LDL from cells while also reducing inflammation in the arteries, which may cause atherosclerosis or hardening of artery walls.
On the other hand, LDL Cholesterol clogs up arteries over time by increasing plaque formation with its deposits this leads to high-risk factors such as increased chances of stroke, heart attack, angina, and vascular dementia, among others.
The level of cholesterol in your bloodstream is called blood lipid levels. High levels can lead to coronary disease and strokes if not managed well.
Since HDL has a positive effect on lowering LDL levels, if we have more of this good kind , thats better for us!
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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.
Focus On Monounsaturated Fats
As opposed to saturated fats, unsaturated fats have at least one double chemical bond that changes the way they are used in the body. Monounsaturated fats have only one double bond.
Although some recommend a low-fat diet for weight loss, a study of 10 men found a 6-week, low-fat diet reduced levels of harmful LDL, but also reduced beneficial HDL .
In contrast, a diet high in monounsaturated fats reduced harmful LDL, but also protected higher levels of healthy HDL.
A study of 24 adults with high blood cholesterol came to the same conclusion, where eating a diet high in monounsaturated fat increased beneficial HDL by 12%, compared to a diet low in saturated fat .
Monounsaturated fats may also reduce the oxidation of lipoproteins, which contributes to clogged arteries. A study of 26 people found that replacing polyunsaturated fats with monounsaturated fats in the diet reduced the oxidation of fats and cholesterol (
Monounsaturated fats like those in olive oil, canola oil, tree nuts and avocados reduce the bad LDL, increase the good HDL and reduce the oxidation that contributes to clogged arteries.
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Meal Ideas To Lower Ldl Cholesterol
Adjusting to follow a cardiologists diet does come with flexibility in the types of meals you can make. With emphasis on eating the right amounts of specific food groups, without entirely cutting out other groups, you can easily find meals that work for you. For a cholesterol-free breakfast, consider a bowl of oatmeal topped with some fresh strawberries and a sprinkle of flaked almonds. Other great low cholesterol breakfast ideas can include whole-grain toast topped with avocado, smoked salmon on a whole-wheat bagel or apple bran muffins.
There are other options for fast and easy low-cholesterol lunches. Some people like to make quinoa salad, three-bean chili or whole-wheat pasta and limit themselves to one serving each day. You can also do quick, on-the-go options like a whole-wheat tuna wrap, a niçoise salad or nut butter sandwich. Snacks like carrot sticks, roasted cashews, mandarin oranges, or apples all provide a filling snack in between meals and contribute to lowering cholesterol.
For delicious, satisfying dinners, you can try a simple and versatile option using a fillet of fish, seasoned to your liking, and served alongside a hearty helping of roasted vegetables. You can also experiment with fun choices like lentil curry over brown rice or a hearty chicken minestrone soup.
Good health starts with a trusted Primary Care provider.
How To Swap Unhealthy Fats For Healthy Fats
- Choose to buy foods containing healthy fats such as olive oil, or other unsaturated fats.
- Read the product labels. Green and amber colour codes are used for low and medium saturated fat content.
- What is low fat? For each 100g of food, low fat is 3 g or less. Low saturated fat is 1.5 g or less.
- What is high fat? For each 100g of fat, 17.5 g or more is high-fat. 5g or more is high-saturated fat.
- Cook with small amounts of healthy fat such as 1-calorie olive oil cooking spray.
- Boil, bake, steam, or grill, using small amounts of healthy fat only.
- Cut the fat off meat before you cook it and get rid of the skin. Use the best quality, leanest meat you can find. If you use cooking oil from a bottle, measure out your cooking oil so you use no more than a teaspoon.
- Bulk-out recipes with vegetables, beans, and pulses.
- Look for healthy alternatives. You can swap standard chocolate brownies for example for healthy chocolate and avocado brownies, made with avocado instead of butter.
- Use plant-based spreads on bread rather than butter.
- Choose skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, and low-fat yoghurts.
- Avoid high-fat takeaway foods, often containing fatty meat, high-fat cheese, sauces, and fried accompaniments such as chips and fried rice.
- Avoid biscuits, cakes, and chocolates choose healthy snacks such as fruit and nuts instead.
For more information
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Use Polyunsaturated Fats Especially Omega
Polyunsaturated fats have multiple double bonds that make them behave differently in the body than saturated fats. Research shows that polyunsaturated fats reduce bad LDL cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease.
For example, one study replaced saturated fats in 115 adults diets with polyunsaturated fats for eight weeks. By the end, total and LDL cholesterol levels were reduced by about 10% .
Another study included 13,614 adults. They replaced dietary saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat, providing about 15% of total calories. Their risk of coronary artery disease dropped by nearly 20% .
Polyunsaturated fats also seem to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Another study changed the diets of 4,220 adults, replacing 5% of their calories from carbohydrates with polyunsaturated fats. Their blood glucose and fasting insulin levels decreased, indicating a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes .
Omega-3 fatty acids are an especially heart-healthy type of polyunsaturated fat. Theyre found in seafood and fish oil supplements .
Omega-3 fats are found in high amounts in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and deep sea tuna like bluefin or albacore, and to a lesser degree in shellfish including shrimp .
Other sources of omega-3s include seeds and tree nuts, but not peanuts.
All polyunsaturated fats are heart-healthy and may reduce the risk of diabetes. Omega-3 fats are a type of polyunsaturated fat with extra heart benefits.
Dietary Factors That Tend To Elevate Ldl Cholesterol
Dietary saturated fat intake has been shown to increase LDL cholesterol. Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods dairy products, meat/seafood, and eggs contain both saturated fat and cholesterol. Dairy products are the leading source of saturated fat in Western diets. Avoidance of even low-fat dairy products is helpful for control of lipids, given that these cause small but significant increases in LDL.
Plant-based foods that contain saturated fats include coconut, coconut oil, coconut milk, and cocoa butter, as well as palm oil and palm kernel oil. Despite intense commercial promotion of some of these products, their effect on blood lipids is similar to that of animal-derived saturated fat. Coconut oil proponents try to argue that coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides which are shorter-chain saturated fats that arent as bad as the longer-chain saturated fats in meat and dairy. But you cant apply the MCT research to coconut oil. MCTs make up only about 10% of coconut oil. The majority of coconut oil is the LDL-raising longer-chain saturated fats, lauric and myristic.
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Try Having One Vegetarian Meal Every Week
Dont let the word vegetarian scare you. By choosing a smartly prepared vegetarian meal, youre hitting multiple cholesterol-lowering goals at the same time, like eating healthier fats and getting more soluble fiber. Plus, many vegetarian meals are just as flavorful and filling as their meaty cousins.
Heres one idea for a low-cholesterol recipe: Try a freshly prepared salad with a sesame vinaigrette and some grilled, spiced tofu. For dessert, add some fresh blueberries, strawberries and oats to low-fat vanilla yogurt.
The key here is to build up a routine, like making every Tuesday night vegetarian night. Once that becomes the norm, try expanding to different nights, or add a weekly vegetarian lunch, too. You can also be flexitarian by just eating smaller portions of meat. Over time, these modifications can really add up and pay off.
What Exactly Is Low
LDL is one of the two main lipoproteins in the body, with the other one being HDL.
Lipoproteins are substances made up of fat and protein that carry cholesterol throughout the body.
LDL contains the largest amount of cholesterol. This is because it carries fats and cholesterol produced in the liver into the cells and peripheral tissues. HDL, on the other hand, removes any excess cholesterol from the cells back to the liver. This is where its metabolized into salts and bile, and finally cleared through the intestines.
This shows that both LDL and HDL are needed in the body, but having the right balance between the two is essential.
While its healthy to have too much HDL, high levels of LDL are life-threatening.
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Are You Afraid Of Cholesterol Lowering Medication
I would not be surprised if you were. After all, the side effects can be quite unpleasant.
The common drugs used for lowering cholesterol are from a group known as statins. There are many different brand names but all from the same group. Some of the medication prescribed by the doctor, although very effective, can have some serious side effects. There is also the matter of the costs related to these prescriptions although some of them are now available in the generic form .
Muscle pain and damage
One of the most common complaints of people taking cholesterol reducing statins is muscle pain. The pain can be a mild discomfort, or it can be severe enough to affect your daily activities.
Occasionally, people using statin will see an increase in the level of liver enzymes in the blood. This signals liver inflammation. The doctor may allow you to continue with the drug if the increase is not too high. However, if the increase in liver enzymes is high, the doctor will have to take you off that drug.
There are other side effects that may result from drug medication but all these side effects are removed altogether when you choose the natural way to lower your LDL cholesterol.
Oats And Oat Bran: Just A Little Every Day
Oats and oat bran contain beta-glucan, a water-soluble fiber that helps reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol circulating in the blood. A meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in December 2014 found that a daily intake of at least 3 grams of oat beta-glucan reduces total cholesterol and cuts LDL cholesterol levels. That’s the amount in ¼ cup of uncooked oat bran or 1½ cups of cooked steel-cut oatmeal.
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