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What Lowers Cholesterol Naturally Mayo Clinic

What Are Hdl Ldl And Vldl

Mayo Clinic Minute: The role of cholesterol in heart health

HDL, LDL, and VLDL are lipoproteins. They are a combination of fat and protein. The lipids need to be attached to the proteins so they can move through the blood. Different types of lipoproteins have different purposes:

  • HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. It is sometimes called “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. Your liver then removes the cholesterol from your body.
  • LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. It is sometimes called “bad” cholesterol because a high LDL level leads to the buildup of plaque in your arteries.
  • VLDL stands for very low-density lipoprotein. Some people also call VLDL a “bad” cholesterol because it too contributes to the buildup of plaque in your arteries. But VLDL and LDL are different VLDL mainly carries triglycerides and LDL mainly carries cholesterol.

Curb Cholesterol Not Flavor

Itâs no secret that certain foods can help you lower your LDL cholesterol, which causes a buildup of plaque in the arteries that leads to heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. But what may surprise you is that many of these foods are delicious and easy to incorporate into your everyday meals without sacrificing flavor or fun.

Tactics To Reduce Cholesterol Quickly

For most of us, there’s really no need to pack our medicine cabinets with pills to reduce cholesterol levels. Natural, lifestyle-based strategies have proven extraordinarily effective in reducing cholesterol quickly and permanently.

Get the top 5 food and fitness tips recommended by the doctors, dietitians, exercise experts, and other faculty at the Pritikin Longevity Center. Pritikin has been helping people lower cholesterol levels since 1975.

Did you know that for every 10% drop in your cholesterol level, your heart attack risk drops by 20% to 30%? Theres more good news: Most of us can reduce cholesterol quickly, and without the need for medications. Simple lifestyle strategies can be very powerful.

Thats what several studies on thousands following the Pritikin Program of diet and exercise have found. Within three weeks, people were able to lower their cholesterol levels on average 23%, which translates into a 46% to 69% drop in heart attack risk.1

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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.

Use Polyunsaturated Fats Especially Omega

vldlcholesterol is bone marrow good for cholesterol?

Polyunsaturated fats have multiple double bonds that make them behave differently in the body than saturated fats. Research shows that polyunsaturated fats reduce LDL cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease.

For example, one study replaced saturated fats in 115 adults diets with polyunsaturated fats for 8 weeks. By the end of the study, total and LDL cholesterol levels were reduced by about 10% .

Polyunsaturated fats also may 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. Especially high amounts occur in fatty fish like:

  • salmon
  • deep sea tuna like bluefin or albacore
  • 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.

Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been modified by a process called hydrogenation. This is done to make the unsaturated fats in vegetable oils more stable.

The resulting trans fats are not fully saturated and are called partially hydrogenated oils .

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How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed

There are usually no signs or symptoms that you have high cholesterol. There is a blood test to measure your cholesterol level. When and how often you should get this test depends on your age, risk factors, and family history. The general recommendations are:

For people who are age 19 or younger::

  • The first test should be between ages 9 to 11
  • Children should have the test again every 5 years
  • Some children may have this test starting at age 2 if there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke

For people who are age 20 or older::

  • Younger adults should have the test every 5 years
  • Men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65 should have it every 1 to 2 years

Green Tea: Antioxidants Help Lower Ldl Cholesterol

All varieties of antioxidant-rich tea can help lower LDL. Green tea, which is particularly rich in the powerful antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate , has shown the best results. EGCG lowered LDL cholesterol levels by about 9 milligrams per deciliter in 17 trials reviewed in the International Journal of Food Science Nutrition in September 2016.

Unlike other teas, which are made from fermented leaves, green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents the EGCG from being oxidized. While some studies have been done with an intake of seven or more cups a day, drinking a few cups of green tea daily should help and will keep you from getting too much caffeine. Preparing your green tea with loose tea, rather than tea bags, provides more EGCG.

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This Food Could Prevent 159 Deaths Every Day

In the US a person dies every 36 seconds from heart disease. That’s over 659,000 deaths every year from heart attack or stroke!

Evidence shows that a 1 mg/dL decrease in bad cholesterol reduces total mortality by 1%.

The information on this page comes from a research paper published in The Journal of Nutrition:

Research Q& A

The trial used a free-living, double blind, cross over, randomized design and was performed by more than one medical institution and in more than one country, meaning the foods were subjected to very vigorous testing, typically reserved for evaluating pharmaceutical drugs. The highly consistent LDL cholesterol reductions seen underscore the power of this food intervention.

The study was conducted at Mayo Clinic and University of Manitoba. Researchers and clinicians from those institutions were responsible for conducting the research and analyzing the results.

Some participants saw LDL cholesterol reductions of 20, 30 even close to 40% in 30 days. Thats similar to what wed expect with medications. However, this was not everyone so its important to check your individual response with a blood test.

LDL-C is a well recognized, potent risk factor for heart disease. Lowering LDL-C has also been shown to lower the risk of heart attack, stroke and death due to heart disease.

If you have any questions about the study or its findings, feel free to contact us.

Consider Plant Sterols And Stanols

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Multiple types of supplements show promise for managing cholesterol.

Plant stanols and sterols are plant versions of cholesterol. Because they resemble cholesterol, they are absorbed from the diet like cholesterol.

However, because parts of their chemistry are different from human cholesterol, they do not contribute to clogged arteries.

Instead, they reduce cholesterol levels by competing with human cholesterol. When plant sterols are absorbed from the diet, this replaces the absorption of cholesterol.

Small amounts of plant stanols and sterols are naturally found in vegetable oils and are added to certain oils and butter substitutes.

A research review reported that clinical studies show that taking 1.53 grams of plant sterols/stanols daily can reduce LDL concentration by 7.512%. Researchers said taking it with a main meal twice per day allows for optimal cholesterol-lowering .

Although research has established the cholesterol-lowering benefit of plant stanols and sterols, it has not yet proved that they decrease the risk of heart disease. Numerous clinical trials have suggested that plant sterols supplements and enriched foods may lower heart disease risk, but hard data is still lacking .


Plant stanols and sterols in vegetable oil or margarines compete with cholesterol absorption and reduce LDL by up to 20%. They are not proven to reduce heart disease.

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Living Better With High Cholesterol

Managing high cholesterol involves making important changes, and that calls for serious commitment. It might take time to switch from a diet based on red and processed meats and full-fat dairy to one built around fish, chicken, low-fat dairy, and fruits and vegetables.

Exercise is a must, but it also brings many benefits beyond heart health, like stress management. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake may be harder to achieve if theyve been a part of your life for a long time, and you might need help from your medical team to reach these goals.

Lifestyle And Home Remedies

Lifestyle changes are essential to improve your cholesterol levels. To bring your numbers down, try the following:

  • Lose extra pounds. Losing even 5 to 10 pounds can help lower cholesterol levels.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. Focus on plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Limit saturated fats, found in red meat and full-fat dairy products, and trans fats, found in many processed foods.

    Monounsaturated fat found in olive and canola oils is a healthier option. Avocados, nuts and oily fish are other sources of healthy fat.

  • Exercise regularly. With your doctors OK, work up to at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five times a week or vigorous exercise five times a week.
  • Dont smoke. If you smoke, find a way to quit.

Read Also: Hdl And Alcohol

What Health Problems Can High Cholesterol Cause

If you have large deposits of plaque in your arteries, an area of plaque can rupture . This can cause a blood clot to form on the surface of the plaque. If the clot becomes large enough, it can mostly or completely block blood flow in a coronary artery.

If the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle is reduced or blocked, it can cause angina or a heart attack.

Plaque also can build up in other arteries in your body, including the arteries that bring oxygen-rich blood to your brain and limbs. This can lead to problems such as carotid artery disease, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease.

What Can Raise My Risk Of High Cholesterol


A variety of things can raise your risk for high cholesterol:

  • Age. Your cholesterol levels tend to rise as you get older. Even though it is less common, younger people, including children and teens, can also have high cholesterol.
  • Heredity. High blood cholesterol can run in families.
  • Weight. Being overweight or having obesity raises your cholesterol level.
  • Race. Certain races may have an increased risk of high cholesterol. For example, African Americans typically have higher HDL and LDL cholesterol levels than whites.

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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.

Beets The Good And The Bad

It’s important to keep in mind that beets have a relatively high sugar content, says Benjamin Hirsh, MD, director of preventive cardiology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York. He says the amount is “similar to the amount of sugar found in a cup of strawberries.”

Another consequence of consuming beets can be a condition called beeturia, which is discolored urine typically ranging from pink to deep red caused by eating beets or other foods colored with beetroot, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. This occurs in 10 to 14 percent of the population, with increased prevalence in people afflicted with iron deficiency or malabsorption, the center says.

Read more:What Are the Side Effects of Eating Beets?

Aside from their role in lowering cholesterol, beets do have other potential benefits, according to Northwestern Medicine. For one, the peels and flesh of beets contain betalains, which are the plant-based nutrients that give the vegetable its color. Studies have demonstrated an association between betalains and a reduced risk for cancer. Betalains also aid the body’s natural detoxification processes.

Northwestern Medicine also cites additional benefits from ingredients in beets. For example:

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What Causes High Cholesterol

High cholesterol can result from factors both within and beyond your control, according to the American Heart Association. High cholesterol can be hereditary, a condition known as familial hypercholesterolemia that affects one in 500 people. More often, lifestyle choices play a role in your cholesterol count, which means that making some tweaks can have a big impact on numbers. Lets explore the things that nudge cholesterol up.

Being Overweight Or Obese

Lowering Triglycerides – Mayo Clinic

Carrying extra pounds or having obesity increases the risk for both high cholesterol and other heart diseases. Having a BMI in the overweight or obese range, or a waist circumference over 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women can raise the risk for high total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, as well as low HDL cholesterol. Use a BMI calculator to determine your number using your height and weight.

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Apples: Rich In Fiber And Beneficial Antioxidants

As with beans, apples are an excellent source of LDL-lowering soluble fiber, primarily pectin. Research published in December 2014 in the European Journal of Nutrition also shows that eating an apple a day can slow the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. This health benefit comes thanks to antioxidant polyphenols found primarily in apple skin . Antioxidants are important because inflammation and plaque buildup in the arteries are more likely to occur when LDL cholesterol interacts with free radicals and becomes oxidized.

Losing Weight If Your Doctor Says You Need To

Shedding a few unwanted pounds can have a positive impact on your cholesterol levels as long as your doctor concurs, and says losing some weight would be healthy for you. The Cleveland Clinic suggests that losing around 10 or 20 pounds can decrease your LDL levels and get your HDL levels up and working. Make sure to work with your physician or a registered dietitian if you are going to go this route.

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Why High Cholesterol Is So Dangerous

A total cholesterol above 200 mg/dL, LDL cholesterol above 130 mg/dL, or triglycerides above 150 mg/dL are each considered high, and these levels increase your risk of cardiovascular problems related to the buildup of cholesterol in your bloodstream.

As with high blood pressureanother heart disease risk factorhigh cholesterol typically has no symptoms. Though arteries could be getting clogged with fatty cholesterol deposits called plaque, youre unlikely to have any idea until its too late.

Without a blood test to measure your cholesterol levels, the warning sign could be chest pain or even a major cardiac event, such as a heart attack or a stroke, states the American Academy of Family Physicians. Thats why regular blood tests are so important. According to the Mayo Clinic, the recommendation is to have a first lipid profile test at age 18, and then every five years, or more frequently if you have certain risk factors.

Foods That Help Lower Your Cholesterol

Mayo Clinic Diet For Lowering Cholesterol

From chocolate and red wine to beans and legumes, food and drink can help you get your cholesterol levels down.

My patients often ask me if there are any foods that can help with reducing high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This is the so-called “bad” cholesterol that can cause plaque to form in your coronary artery walls, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. My answer is a qualified “yes,” since high LDL can be the result of many factors, including poor genes, obesity, and lack of exercise. For this reason, not everyone will react to dietary changes the same way, and optimal LDL levels are different for every individual.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that your body uses to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest food. At normal levels, its essential for health, but if the concentration in the blood becomes too high, LDL, the so-called “bad” cholesterol can build up in your arteries forming plaques that put you at risk for cardiovascular disease, including chest pain , heart attack, and stroke.

Frequently, too much LDL is the result of a diet rich in saturated fats and trans fats . Eliminating these foods from your diet is a good first step in improving your LDL. Then try adding some or all of the following LDL-lowering foods every day. If you’re already on a statin, dietary changes may help you reduce your dosage, but never reduce or stop taking a statin drug without first consulting your doctor.

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