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.
Eat More Of Certain Foods And Less With Saturated Fats
Changes to your diet can make a big difference in lowering cholesterol, and they dont need to be complicated. According to the National Institute of Health, there are some simple guidelines to follow to get your cholesterol score down:
- Reduce your consumption of saturated fats This is arguably the most common sense action out there, as most people understand that red meat and non-lowfat milk and dairy products are high in saturated fats, which increase your cholesterol level. Eat them only in moderation or eliminate them where possible.
- Eat more high-fiber foods Increasing your intake of soluble fiber helps reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed into your bloodstream. Great sources of soluble fiber include oats, barley and other whole grains, as well as fiber supplements.
- Eat more foods with omega-3 fatty acids Though these may sound bad for you, theyre just the opposite: Omega-3 fatty acids raise your HDL, or good cholesterol, and have other positive effects on heart health. Youll find them in things like fish and certain types of nuts and seeds.
The #1 Best Cereal To Lower Your Cholesterol Dietitians Say
The best breakfast for your particular lifestylewhether you’re highly active or live a little more laidbackcan depend on various factors that go beyond taste and convenience. For instance, if your aim is to lower your cholesterol, then you might want to consider opting for a certain kind of cereal.
Back in 1998, whole-grain oat, ready-to-eat cereals like Cheerios became an ideal choice for those who wanted to manage their cholesterol when food brand General Mills funded a study that found that eating their cereal reduces LDL cholesterol levels by 4.2% and total cholesterol levels by 3.8%. In 2019, this finding was backed up by independent research published in Frontiers of Nutrition, which again, noted that oat products can bring about a reduction in cholesterol.
Why is this cereal beneficial when it comes to cholesterol? “Oat cereal has fiber which binds to cholesterol in your digestive systemas a result, dietary cholesterol comes out with a bowel movement instead of being reabsorbed by your body,”Elizabeth Barnes, a registered dietitian nutritionist and the owner of nutrition and wellness practice Weight Neutral Wellness, tells Eat This, Not That!.
To find out more about what to eat in order to keep your cholesterol level in check, be sure to read 17 Foods That Lower Cholesterol.
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Simple Ways To Naturally Lower Cholesterol Levels
What is cholesterol and how do you lower cholesterol without taking drugs prescribed from your doctor?
Cholesterol, a waxy substance that the body uses to make hormones and other important substances. Its also found in some foods such as eggs, meat, poultry, and whole-milk dairy products.
The level of cholesterol in your blood is called blood cholesterol. If its too high over time, you may develop heart disease or stroke.
We have all heard that having a high cholesterol level can lead to many life-threatening conditions, but did you know that there is good and bad cholesterol?
The good cholesterol is called HDL Cholesterol, while the bad is called LDL Cholesterol.
How To Measure Cholesterol
How do physicians know when your cholesterol is too high? Cholesterol is measured using a lipid panel, a relatively simple blood test that measures HDL, total cholesterol, and a few other related levels. It also provides an estimate of LDL, as the Johns Hopkins Medicine team explains.
Measuring cholesterol is an important part of our Heart Health program for Forward members, giving you an important indicator for understanding if your cholesterol is high enough that it presents a health risk. Fortunately, even if that turns out to be the case, physicians agree on some solid, straightforward actions anyone can take to lower cholesterol.
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Q& a ‘if Cholesterol Is So Bad Why Do We Have It’
Why do we need cholesterol if it can be so bad for our bodies?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the liver and used to build cell walls, create a protective glove around nerves and to make other chemicals such as hormones.
Cholesterol gets round our bodies by combining with protein to form a protective coating around tiny balls of fat absorbed from our diet termed lipoproteins. The purpose of this coating is to hold fat together, so we dont have oil slicks of fat in our bloodstream.
The two lipoproteins usually measured are low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein . LDL is like a juggernaut big clumps of fat and protein that trundle along the arteries and can only be cleared from our system by the liver. As it travels, fat can break away and enter the artery walls, becoming embedded. This build-up called atherosclerosis causes artery walls to narrow so blood cannot get through, resulting in blood clots that can trigger a heart attack or stroke.
HDL is known as good cholesterol. It is much smaller in size and hoovers up fat deposits from the artery wall as it moves around the body. This is why its important to know how much LDL and HDL are in your blood, as the ratio between these two types of fat is what really matters when it comes to risk.
What causes levels to rise?
How is cholesterol measured?
Good news: You do not have to give up on steak, red wine and dessert to lower your cholesterol
How often do I need to get a test?
How Can Foods Help Lower Cholesterol
People can often reduce their cholesterol levels dramatically by changing the foods they eat. Diets high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterolfound in meat, dairy products, and eggsraise cholesterol levels, which increases heart attack risk. Foods high in saturated fat are especially dangerous because they can trigger the body to produce extra cholesterol.
Plants do the opposite. They are very low in saturated fat and free of cholesterol. Plants are also rich in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol. Soluble fiber slows the absorption of cholesterol and reduces the amount of cholesterol the liver produces. Oatmeal, barley, beans, and some fruits and vegetables are all good sources of soluble fiber.
It is important to continue to work closely with your health care provider to monitor your health and manage medications, even as you make dietary changes.
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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.
Triglycerides In Your Blood
In addition to cholesterol, your blood also contains a type of fat called triglycerides, which are stored in your bodys fat deposits. Hormones release triglycerides to make energy between meals.
When you eat, your body converts any extra energy it doesnt need right away into triglycerides.
Like cholesterol, your body needs triglycerides to work properly. However, there is evidence to suggest that some people with high triglycerides are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
If you regularly eat more energy than you need, you may have high triglycerides .
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Alcohol And Ldl Levels
Although moderate consumption of alcohol can significantly raise HDL levels, it can also lower LDL, according to studies. Moderate consumption means one serving a day for women and one to two servings per day for men.
However, drinking more alcohol doesnt necessarily equal better results in terms of improving your heart health. Studies have also indicated that drinking more than three alcoholic drinks a day could actually increase your chances of heart disease.
How To Lower Cholesterol And Triglycerides
Triglycerides are a type of lipid, or fat, your body produces to store extra calories and provide energy. Cholesterol is another lipid that circulates in your blood. Your body uses cholesterol to build cells and produce hormones.
Both triglycerides and cholesterol are essential for your health but having levels that are too high puts your health at risk. Living a healthy lifestyle helps to keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels within a normal range.
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Why You Want To Lower Your Cholesterol
Problems occur when there is too much LDL to handle. When theres an excess of LDL, it joins with other chemicals to form plaque, which can then build up in deposits on the walls of arteries. This is especially bad when it takes place in the arteries of the heart, where it can cause the slowing or prevention of blood flow to the heart, resulting in conditions from angina to heart attacks.
When doctors talk about a high cholesterol score, theyre saying that your LDL level is too high, putting your heart health at risk.
Why Should I Lower My Cholesterol
Evidence strongly indicates that high cholesterol can increase the risk of:
- narrowing of the arteries
- transient ischaemic attack often known as a “mini stroke”
- peripheral arterial disease
This is because cholesterol can build up in the artery wall, restricting the blood flow to your heart, brain and the rest of your body. It also increases the risk of a blood clot developing somewhere in your body.
Your risk of developing coronary heart disease also rises as your blood’s cholesterol level increases. This can cause pain in your chest or arm during stress or physical activity .
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Foods Rich In Unsaturated Fats
- vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, nut and seed oils
- avocado, nuts and seeds
- fat spreads made from vegetable oils, such as sunflower and olive oil
- oily fish
Oily fish are a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, specifically a type called omega-3 fats. Aim to eat two portions of fish per week, at least one of which should be oily. A portion is 140g, but you could have two or three smaller portions throughout the week. Tinned, frozen or fresh all count e.g. salmon, sardines, pilchards, trout, herring and mackerel.
Avoid coconut and palm oil as, unlike other vegetable oils, they are high in saturated fat.
How To Lower Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medications or both.
Here are some ways to manage your cholesterol.
Eat heart-healthy food
What you eat can make a big difference to your cholesterol levels.
Cut back on foods high in saturated fats like:
- oily fish.
Drink less alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can increase your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. So drinking less is a good way to lower your cholesterol.
The Ministry of Health recommends no more than 10 standard drinks per week for women and no more than 15 for men. One standard drink is equal to:
- a standard can of 4% beer
- a small glass of wine
- a small single shot of spirits
If you have high cholesterol or you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition, you may need to drink less than this.
Smoking makes your LDL cholesterol stickier and reduces the amount of HDL cholesterol in your blood. It also damages the artery walls. This increases the build-up of plaque in your arteries and can cause risk of heart attack and stroke.
Quitting smoking is a great way to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Sitting less and being more active are great ways to reduce high cholesterol.
This doesnt mean you have to join a gym or take up running it just means you need to move your body more throughout the day. Ideally you should do 30 minutes of activity a day.
You could try:
Read more about the benefits of exercise.
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Are There Any Treatments For High Cholesterol Levels Caused By Genetics
Usually, the first line of treatment for high cholesterol is lifestyle modification, but if you have FH youll need more advanced treatment. Its always important to eat a low-fat diet, exercise and control your weight. Having a healthy lifestyle is crucial for heart health and for overall health, says Martin. However, people with FH could eat an extremely low-fat diet and still not be able to control their cholesterol because theyre genetically unable to handle it. For them, cholesterol is going to build up in the bloodstream regardless of what they eat.
Fortunately, there are medications that can substantially lower LDL cholesterol levels. The most common treatment for FH is statin drug therapy. Statin drugs work by blocking an enzyme that produces cholesterol in the liver and increases your bodys ability to remove cholesterol from the blood. They can lower your LDL cholesterol levels by 50 percent or more. Statins have been safely used to reduce the risk of heart disease for 30 years and continue to be the number one option when it comes to helping people with FH.
Other treatment options include medications that block cholesterol from being absorbed from your intestines into your bloodstream, or drugs that block an enzyme called PCSK9, which reduces the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood.
Lower Ldl Cholesterol With Diet And Nutrition
According to experts, eating patterns have a big influence on the levels of LDL cholesterol in your body.
Although some people absorb dietary cholesterol into their bodies from food more easily than othersand therefore are more affected by that extra egg yolk in their omeletdoctors say that there are general dietary guidelines that help lower LDL cholesterol.
Eat less saturated fat
“The typical recommendations are to start with decreasing saturated fats,” Dr. Ippisch says. This type of fat is known to raise LDL cholesterol levels and is one of the worst foods for cholesterol.
Limiting saturated fat means making dietary choices like choosing:
- Lower-fat dairy
- Seeds, like flax and pumpkin
Eat more fiber
Soluble fiberfound in fruits and veggies, whole grains like oats, and legumesis a heart-healthy choice. According to a 2019 analysis published in The Lancet, a higher intake of dietary fiber is associated with lower levels of total cholesterol.
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Foods With Added Sterols And Stanols
Sterols and stanols are plant chemicals which are a similar size and shape to cholesterol. They are absorbed from the intestines into the blood stream and block some cholesterol from being absorbed, lowering the cholesterol in your blood.
We get a small amount of sterols from plant-based foods such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, but its not enough to lower cholesterol. So, food companies have developed foods with plant sterols or stanols added to them, such as mini yogurt drinks, fat spreads, milk and yogurts.
These fortified foods lower your cholesterol gradually, over a few weeks, and how much depends on the amount you eat. Some experts believe they are the most effective single food for lowering cholesterol.
Who should eat foods with sterols and stanols added?
Sterols and stanols have been thoroughly researched, so they can be added to foods and are safe to eat.
They are suitable for:
- People with high cholesterol theres no real benefit if you dont have high cholesterol.
- Children with inherited high cholesterol such as familial hypercholesterolaemia with support from a doctor or dietitian.
- People taking statins sterols and stanols will help to lower your cholesterol further because they work in a different way to the statin.
They are not suitable for:
Aim for: one to three servings of fortified foods a day. This will give you 1.5 to 3g of stanols and sterols.
Three servings of: OR
- 1 glass of milk
One product a day:
Is Diet The Only Way To Improve My Cholesterol Levels
While diet is one of the best ways to improve cholesterol levels, there are other lifestyle modifications that can also help!
- Weight loss: If you are above a healthy weight, losing 5-10% of your body weight can reduce total and LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol.
- Exercise: Aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity on most days can improve your cholesterol levels. Try starting off with improving your daily step count!
- Quitting smoking: Smoking lowers HDL cholesterol. Quitting smoking is important to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, especially if you have high cholesterol.
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Natural Remedies And Lowering Cholesterol
Its very important to talk to your health professional before using any:
- natural remedies
- or complementary therapies.
Sometimes they can do more harm than good. They may interact with any medication that youre taking, which can be dangerous. They can also make your medication less effective. Your doctor needs to know everything that you are taking to ensure that the combination is safe.
If youve been prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication, make sure you take it as directed by your doctor. This is one of the most effective ways to keep your cholesterol levels down.