Putting Together A Low Cholesterol Diet
When it comes to investing money, experts recommend creating a portfolio of diverse investments instead of putting all your eggs in one basket. The same holds true for eating your way to lower cholesterol. Adding several foods to lower cholesterol in different ways should work better than focusing on one or two.
A largely vegetarian “dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods” substantially lowers LDL, triglycerides, and blood pressure. The key dietary components are plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains instead of highly refined ones, and protein mostly from plants. Add margarine enriched with plant sterols oats, barley, psyllium, okra, and eggplant, all rich in soluble fiber soy protein and whole almonds.
Of course, shifting to a cholesterol-lowering diet takes more attention than popping a daily statin. It means expanding the variety of foods you usually put in your shopping cart and getting used to new textures and flavors. But it’s a “natural” way to lower cholesterol, and it avoids the risk of muscle problems and other side effects that plague some people who take statins.
Just as important, a diet that is heavy on fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts is good for the body in ways beyond lowering cholesterol. It keeps blood pressure in check. It helps arteries stay flexible and responsive. It’s good for bones and digestive health, for vision and mental health.
Home Remedy For Lower Cholesterol #4 Add Some Vitamin K2 To Your Diet
In the book Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox, the author explains how vitamin K2 packs a one-two punch when it comes to heart disease.
While K2 can lower serum cholesterol, more importantly, K2 reduces atherosclerois, i.e. plaque accumulation in the arteries. This plaque is the deposits of calcium, fatty substances and scar tissue that together cause hardening of the arteries.
With plaque build up, the arteries either clog up and reduce or stop blood flow entirely, or get fragile and have a blow out. Vitamin K2 is not the same as vitamin K1, which is abundant in leafy greens and great for bone building.
Vitamin K2 works in concert with calcium and vitamin D, making sure the calcium gets where it’s needed in your bones, not your muscles and arteries.
In addition, vitamin K2 can remove calcium buildup in the arteries after it has formed and help restore arterial flexibility.
The best source of vitamin K2 is natto, a fermented soybean concoction with a stringy, slimy texture.
Other sources of vitamin K2 include goose liver pate, hard cheeses , soft cheeses , egg yolk, butter and chicken liver.
Most people in the US are low in vitamin K2, although regular cheese eaters tend to far better than the general population. You can also buy a K2 supplement made from natto.
Drink Alcohol In Moderation
Moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to increase your levels of good cholesterol, which, in turn, can reduce your levels of bad cholesterol.
The effects arent enough to encourage people to start drinking, but it does mean that perhaps its a good idea not to cut all alcohol from your diet just for the sake of reducing calories.
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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.
Easy Ways To Lower Cholesterol Naturally
No prescription required. Medication isn’t the only way to bring those levels down safely.
More than 100 million Americans have high cholesterol levels, which can contribute to a wide range of health problems including stroke and heart disease. While medication can help lower your cholesterol, there are also several lifestyle tweaks you can change right now that can make a big impact on your cholesterol levels. All five of these will also impact your weight, risk for chronic disease and overall health for the better, so they’re worth incorporating into your life regardless.
Here are five research-backed methods for lowering your cholesterol naturally:
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Eat Fibre To Lower Cholesterol
Eating high-fibre food can also help to lower your cholesterol. Fibre helps reduce the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed into the blood stream from your intestine.
- Make sure you get at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day as these contain fibre along with other nutrients
- Eat plenty of other high fibre foods like pulses oats and seeds.
- Choose more wholegrain foods when you can, such as brown or granary bread over white.
If Lifestyle Changes Arent Enough
Take medications, if you need to, to lower your cholesterol into healthy ranges. Drugs like statins can be very effective, says Dr. Danine Fruge, MD, ABFP – Medical Director at the Pritikin Longevity Center, but do continue in your efforts to eat well and exercise because a healthy lifestyle can give you far, far more than drugs alone.
With a healthy living program like Pritikin, youre not only reducing cholesterol quickly, youre also creating changes throughout your body that can profoundly improve your overall well-being. Youre reducing blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Other heart disease risk factors like triglyceride fats are also dropping dramatically. Youre also reducing inflammatory factors that sicken arteries. Youre shedding excess weight. And, quite simply, youre feeling better, much better. Many of our guests at Pritikin tell us, I had no idea I could feel this good again.
Can any pill or combination of pills do all of the above? I highly doubt it. But a healthy lifestyle like Pritikin can.
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Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol Without Medication
Cholesterol is a waxy substance in your blood and is also found in certain foods. Ideally, your total cholesterol levels will fall under 200 milligrams per deciliter . Your LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels should fall under 100 mg/dL. And your HDL, or good cholesterol, should stay at 40 mg/dL or higher. If you have high cholesterol levels, changing your lifestyle can go a long way.
Dr. Javier Sosa and our team at Woodlands Primary Healthcare provide blood tests to help identify cholesterol-related risk factors. We can also make lifestyle recommendations that suit your specific needs.
Here are nine ways you can lower your cholesterol levels without medication:
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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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.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Stress is one of your worst enemies when it comes to keeping cholesterol in check. Stress levels that stay high over a long period of time are associated with an increased risk for heart disease. To lower your LDL, you need a healthy lifestyle, and stress management is a huge part of that equation. See Why Is Stress Management Important.
When were stressed out, our bodies release hormones like cortisol and adrenalinehormones that cause blood pressure to rise and increase our appetite. This often causes us to indulge in unhealthy foods that also play a role in elevating our levels. So if you want to keep your cholesterol down, try taking some time every day for relaxation activities like yoga or meditation. Best Foods For Stress Relief.
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Foods That Lower Cholesterol Fast
A sedentary lifestyle, smoking, obesity and poor nutrition all contribute to elevated cholesterol. Certain factors such as your age, genes and race have an impact too. According to a 2016 review published in the journal Cell, this condition runs in families. Back in 1938, it was named familial hypercholesterolemia.
While you cannot control these factors, you can change your diet and lifestyle habits to keep your heart healthy. Some foods, including olive oil and fatty fish, have been shown to raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol levels. Others, especially those high in trans fats, have the opposite effect.
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It’s important to note that dietary cholesterol has a minimal impact on blood cholesterol levels. In 2018, the journal Nutrients published a review describing the relationship between the two. Researchers point out that trans fats and saturated fatty acids, not dietary cholesterol, increase heart disease risk.
Therefore, a low-cholesterol diet won’t necessarily reduce total cholesterol and LDL levels. What you need to do is to replace deli meats, chips, fries, hydrogenated vegetable oil and other sources of trans fats with whole foods rich in healthy fats.
Watch Your Alcohol Intake
The American Heart Association says if you do drink alcohol, men should consume no more than two drinks per day, and women should stop after one, as drinking too much alcohol can actually raise triglyceride levels in your blood-which are also monitored with your cholesterol levels to determine the health of your lipid profile.
The AHA also says drinking too much increases your risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure and increased calorie intake-all factors that impact cholesterol levels. The one exception here may be red wine-as studies show it has some heart-healthy antioxidant power-but you should still stick to the AHA’s drinking recommendations.
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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.
Choose Your Fats Wisely
You may think of saturated fat and trans fat as bad for your cholesterol but not all fats are bad. Some fats actually show to lower them. Consuming more omega-3 fats found in fatty fish and flaxseed improves your “good” HDL cholesterol levels, which help prevent plaque build-up.
Poly- and monounsaturated fats found in plant foods like avocados and nuts actually reduce the “bad” cholesterol in your body. Plus, these foods also come packaged with fiber, antioxidants and phytosterols, which all assist in lowering cholesterol and protecting the body from inflammation.
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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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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 .
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Focus On Monounsaturated Fats
As opposed to saturated fats, unsaturated fats have at least one double chemical bond that changes the way your body uses them. Monounsaturated fats have only one double bond.
Some recommend a low fat diet for weight loss, but research is mixed on its effectiveness in controlling blood cholesterol.
One research report acknowledged that lower fat intake is an effective way to reduce blood cholesterol levels. However, researchers were concerned over potential negative effects of low fat diets, such as lowering HDL and increasing triglycerides .
In contrast, research has shown that a diet high in monounsaturated fats, such as the Mediterranean diet, helps reduce levels of harmful LDL and increase levels of healthy HDL .
Monounsaturated fats may also reduce the oxidation of cholesterol, according to research. Oxidized cholesterol can react with free radicals and contribute to clogged arteries. This can lead to atherosclerosis or heart disease .
Overall, monounsaturated fats are healthy because they decrease harmful LDL cholesterol, increase good HDL cholesterol and reduce harmful oxidation (
Monounsaturated fats like those in olive oil, canola oil, tree nuts, and avocados reduce LDL cholesterol, increase HDL cholesterol, and reduce the oxidation that contributes to clogged arteries.
How Do I Lower My Cholesterol Your 5 Top Questions Answered
High cholesterol could be caused by things we can control like lifestyle habits, or things we cant like age and family history. Keeping on top of the things you can control with simple changes can help to lower your risk of heart and circulatory disease. We answer your questions with simple tips to help you start making changes today.
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