How Can I Lower My Cholesterol
There are two main ways to lower your cholesterol:
- Heart-healthy lifestyle changes, which include:
- Heart-healthy eating. A heart-healthy eating plan limits the amount of saturated and trans fats that you eat. Examples include the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet and the DASH Eating Plan.
- Weight Management. If you are overweight, losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol.
- Physical Activity. Everyone should get regular physical activity .
- Managing stress. Research has shown that chronic stress can sometimes raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol.
- Quitting smoking.Quitting smoking can raise your HDL cholesterol. Since HDL helps to remove LDL cholesterol from your arteries, having more HDL can help to lower your LDL cholesterol.
- Drug Treatment. If lifestyle changes alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol medicines available, including statins. The medicines work in different ways and can have different side effects. Talk to your health care provider about which one is right for you. While you are taking medicines to lower your cholesterol, you should continue with the lifestyle changes.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Why Exercise Is Effective At Lowering Cholesterol
Cholesterol is one of the fatty substances we have circulating in our blood. If we have too much, it can stick to the inside walls of our arteries, narrowing them and increasing risk of cardiovascular disease.
Its not only the amount of cholesterol in the blood that affects our risk, though. Other factors play a part. One of these is the type of protein that carries the cholesterol through the body. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is more likely to cause problems. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol protects the body from cholesterol buildup.
Exercise helps increase levels of HDL good cholesterol. Researchers reported on this in Lipids in Health and Disease. Physically active women had significantly higher levels of HDL cholesterol than sedentary women. Another study published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology found similar results. In men with belly fat, regular endurance exercise increased HDL good cholesterol levels.
Exercise may even change the nature of our cholesterol. In 2002, researchers from Duke University Medical Center found that exercise improved the number and size of the particles carrying cholesterol through the body. Those who exercised more had larger, fluffier particles that were less likely to clog arteries.
The Lowdown On Cholesterol
High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or HDL, is considered “good” cholesterol because it helps your body get rid of some of the bad type: called low-density lipoprotein , according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It “picks up extra cholesterol particles from tissues and blood vessels and brings them back to the liver, where it is broken down and passed from the body,” explains Rajsree Nambudripad, MD, an integrative medicine specialist with St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, California. “The higher your HDL, the better.”
A desirable level of HDL for men and women is 60 milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood or above, according to the Mayo Clinic.
However, HDL only carriers away about a third to a fourth of your bad LDL cholesterol, the American Heart Association says. And it’s LDL that gives cholesterol its bad rap. Too much LDL cholesterol in your blood can cause a buildup of plaque in artery walls, restricting or blocking blood flow and possibly leading to heart problems, according to AHA.
Read Also: Optilipid
Fruits Along With Berries
The benefits of fruits for a healthy heart cannot be counted on fingers. Yes, it does a lot more than you would believe it can.
Rich in soluble fibers, fruits curb the urge to eat more.
One such fiber, pectin is linked with low LDL cholesterol levels and is profusely found in citrus fruits. For instance, grapes, strawberries, apples, and pears.
Moreover, theyre full of flavonoids, a compound is known to bring down the rate of inflammation.
Avoid Smoking And Alcohol
It is advisable to quit smoking and gradually reduce exposure to secondhand smoking to help increase HDL levels in the body. Smoking reduces HDL levels and raises LDL and triglyceride levels. Alcohol in moderation consumption has been associated with greater levels of HDL cholesterol. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to weight gain as well as increased blood pressure and lipid levels.
HDL levels are frequently lower in patients with metabolic syndrome, a group of disorders that includes obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes dietary adjustments and increased exercise levels can assist in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. In some cases, losing extra weight help boost HDL cholesterol levels and reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Daily exercise is beneficial to general health and helps raise HDL levels in the body.
Also Check: Is Canned Tuna Good For Cholesterol
Effects Of Exercise On Reverse Cholesterol Transport
While nutrition may be the most important lifestyle factor in stimulating reverse cholesterol transport, studies have shown that the intervention treatment is best when it is paired with exercise. One of the reasons for this is the positive effect exercise has on our HDL cholesterol levels. Epidemiological and clinical intervention data have consistently shown that low levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The first step in the management of low HDL cholesterol levels is to increase physical activity .
A study done in Czech Republic on obese women indicated that physical activity is required to trigger reverse cholesterol transport . Efflux of cholesterol from prelabeled macrophages to plasma acceptors of tested individuals was used as a reverse cholesterol transport measure. Changes in reverse cholesterol transport were analyzed in 15 obese women after 9-week intervention, which consisted of 5 sessions of increased physical activity per week. Each session lasted 60 minutes long and 3 of the 5 were under controlled conditions in a fitness center. The other two sessions were usually bicycling or brisk walking. At the beginning of the 9-week intervention and at the end blood specimens were obtained.
How Does Exercise Increase Hdl
One of the only studies to examine the effects of acute exercise on HDL function. Found that acute exercise increased the concentration of oxidized HDL lipids in trained endurance athletes. Found that 6 months of endurance exercise training increased the concentration of oxidized HDL lipids in nonmenopausal women.
Recommended Reading: Are Potatoes High In Cholesterol
Ways To Increase Hdl Cholesterol
What many people don’t know is that some diet and lifestyle changes may help to increase HDL cholesterol levels.
Here are some of the contenders:
Foods That Contain Niacin
How To Increase Good Hdl Cholesterol
Its a very common misconception that cholesterol is generally bad and high levels are always cause for serious concern. But what if I told you that there is a type of cholesterol thats not only good at higher levels, but also decreases your risk of major health issues like heart disease? I have great news: This type of cholesterol really does exist. Its called HDL cholesterol, and its our good cholesterol.
So if there is a cholesterol that is actually good for us, how can we naturally increase its levels? The short answer is lifestyle. Your lifestyle actually has the single greatest impact on your HDL cholesterol level. So making changes to daily and completely controllable habits like diet and exercise can equate to healthier HDL cholesterol levels, which can lower your risk for life-threatening health issues.
Lets get started on improving those HDL cholesterol numbers because positive change can literally start today!
Read Also: Vldl Cholesterol Low Levels
Foods That Help Raise Good Cholesterol
Opt for healthy oils and fats to boost your good cholesterol. A good rule of thumb is to stick with liquid cooking fats instead of solid ones. This means that olive oil is a healthier choice than butter, as it is liquid at room temperature. Fats that are solid at room temperature like butter and lard are high in saturated fats and tend to raise LDL cholesterol.
When it comes to protein, reach for lean chicken breast over red meat to keep your saturated fat intake down.
Add Coconut Oil To The Diet
Studies have shown that coconut oil may reduce appetite, increase metabolic rate, and help protect brain health, among other benefits.
Some people may be concerned about coconut oils effects on heart health due to its high saturated fat content. However, it appears that coconut oil is actually quite heart-healthy.
Some studies have shown that coconut oil tends to raise HDL cholesterol more than many other types of fat.
In addition, some studies have shown that coconut oil may improve the ratio of low-density lipoprotein , or bad, cholesterol to HDL cholesterol. Improving this ratio reduces heart disease risk .
One study examined the health effects of coconut oil consumption in 40 females with excess abdominal fat. The researchers found that those who took coconut oil daily had increased HDL cholesterol and a lower LDL-to-HDL ratio.
In contrast, the group who took soybean oil daily had a decrease in HDL cholesterol and an increase in the LDL-to-HDL ratio .
However, more recent reviews suggest that the research into coconut oil and cholesterol is of poor quality, is not conclusive, and often reports that coconut oil can raise the levels of LDL cholesterol. Therefore, more research is needed .
Most studies have found that these health benefits occur at a dosage of about 2 tbsp of coconut oil per day. It is best to incorporate this into cooking rather than eating spoonfuls of coconut oil on their own.
Don’t Miss: Is Shrimp Bad For Your Cholesterol
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.
Talk To Your Doctor About Supplements And Cholesterol
If all other methods of increasing your HDL cholesterol haven’t been effective, you might think of taking dietary supplements. Still, Ahmed cautions that supplements aimed at raising HDL only do so modestly. Also, supplements have not yet been proven to reduce heart attacks or strokes.
Speak to your doctor before taking any supplements to raise HDL cholesterol, because some supplements come with health risks or may interact with medication.
You May Like: How Much Cholesterol In Egg Beaters
Other Ways To Increase Good Cholesterol
Boost your HDL with a everyday supplements such as Bergamot , Healthy Dad essential stack, Blood Pressure RX, designed to complement a healthy diet and support a healthy ratio of the fats within the blood. Revive Lipid is suitable for any gender and contains citrus bergamot and beta-sitosterol, ingredients associated with reducing LDL or bad cholesterol. This helps bring balance back to your cholesterol levels and could even be beneficial in terms of blood sugar and insulin levels.
Have you had your cholesterol checked lately? Keep on top of cholesterol with a healthy diet, lifestyle, and supplements designed with you in mind.
What Is Cholesterol
So, what is the purpose of cholesterol and how does it impact our health? Cholesterol is a waxy substance the body produces to build cells, make vitamins, and other necessary hormones.
The American Heart Association says you get cholesterol from two sources, the liver, and food that comes from animals. We need cholesterol to help blood circulate properly and lower the chance of developing cardiovascular diseases.
You May Like: Is Shrimp Cholesterol Bad
Why Is Hdl Helpful
LDL causes plaque build-up, and, over time, can lead to heart attack and stroke. HDL works in your bloodstream like a scavenger or cleaner. It removes the bad LDL cholesterol from the blood, taking it to your liver to be excreted.
Its critical to keep your LDL low ideally, under 100. You also want to keep your HDL high ideally, 50 milligrams per deciliter of blood or higher.
When HDL levels dip below 40 milligrams per deciliter, your risk of heart disease rises.
High Hdl Cholesterol Issues
Research published by the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology found that people with high levels of C-reactive proteins after having had a heart attack may process high HDL negatively. C-reactive proteins are produced by your liver in response to high levels of inflammation in your body. Instead of acting as a protective factor in heart health, high HDL levels in these people could instead increase the risk of heart disease.
While your levels may still be in the normal range, your body may process HDL differently if you have this type of inflammation. The study looked at blood drawn from 767 nondiabetic people who had recently had a heart attack. They used the data to predict outcomes for the study participants and found that those with high levels of HDL and C-reactive proteins were a particularly high-risk group for heart disease.
Ultimately, more research needs to be done to determine the risks of high HDL in this particular group of people.
Recommended Reading: Is Tuna Good For Lowering Cholesterol
New Dietary Guidelines Tougher On Meat Easier On Cholesterol
Last year, mining the wreckage of Roches failed dalcetrapib study, researchers at the University of Montreal noted that the drug had a marked effect on a subset of patients with mutations to a gene called ADCY9. DalCor Pharmaceuticals, a UK startup, has raised $150 million in venture capital to see if Roches drug can have a second life as a targeted therapy.
Our understanding of the HDL story has changed, said Dr. Bassem Masri, a cardiovascular disease expert at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian who helped run a slew of CETP trials. Its not just increasing HDL it might be that only a specific population will respond to that increase positively.
Elsewhere, scientists are studying novel methods of boosting HDL, whether by stimulating other pathways in the body or injecting patients with synthetic good cholesterol. Considering past failures, it looks like an uphill battle. But anythings possible.
Ive been doing medicine long enough that Ive learned to say you never say never, Nissen said.
These Pricey Cholesterol Drugs Arent Selling And That Has The Biotech Industry Sweating
Instead, it dipped, then hit a plateau people with HDL of about 40mg/dL had roughly the same risk as those with about 80 mg/dL. And death risks actually increased for those with extremely high levels of good cholesterol.
Further muddying the picture, people in the low-HDL group were also more likely to die of diseases unrelated to the heart. And they had lower incomes, higher body weights, and poorer diets than others in the study, all of which correlate with increased mortality on their own.
HDL has been thought to lower cardiovascular risk by cleansing the bloodstream of bad cholesterol and scrubbing the inner walls of blood vessels, so your levels of HDL were thought to predict your risk of heart attack or stroke. But this new data suggests HDL may just be a fatty substance along for the ride.
It may be therefore that its reflecting other health habits that lead to greater risk, rather than actually being a risk factor itself, said Dr. Steven Nissen, a Cleveland Clinic cardiologist not involved in the study.
The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, will sound familiar to the drug industry, which has repeatedly failed to design a pill that might improve patients lives by increasing HDL.
Recommended Reading: How Much Cholesterol In Mussels
Strike A Few Yoga Poses
After all this talk about aerobic exercise and lifting weights, it may seem odd that yoga would show up on the list. After all, yoga is mostly stretching, right?
Studies show, however, that yoga may reduce risk of heart disease. In some cases, it may directly affect cholesterol levels.
Researchers reported in the Indian Heart Journal that a three-month yoga program helped reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. It also improved HDL cholesterol levels in diabetics. The participants practiced for about one hour a day.
In a large study review published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, those who regularly practiced yoga showed significant improvement in LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and blood pressure over those who didnt exercise.