Lower Your Cholesterol Levels Naturally
As you can see, there are plenty of foods that lower cholesterol fast. Your diet may also include nuts, seeds, leafy greens, soy, garlic and high-fiber fruits like berries and apples. Extra dark chocolate is a healthy choice too.
Garlic, for example, may reduce total and LDL cholesterol as well as blood pressure when combined with lemon juice, according to a 2016 clinical trial published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine. Subjects saw major improvements in their blood lipids in just eight weeks.
Remember to cut back on processed foods as well. Sausage, salami, pizza, pastries and junk food are all loaded with trans fats and sugars. They not only clog your arteries and raise cholesterol levels but also affect your waistline. In the long run, they may increase your risk of chronic illnesses and accelerate aging.
Increase The Amount Of Fiber In Your Diet
Most of us do not get enough fiber in our diet. The recommended amount is 25-35 grams of dietary fiber per day. Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. As fiber passes through the body, it affects the way the body digests foods and absorbs nutrients. Fiber can help reduce your LDL cholesterol level. A fiber-rich diet can also help control blood sugar, promote regularity, prevent gastrointestinal disease and help you manage your weight.
There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of all high-fiber foods. Refined foods, like white bread, white pasta and enriched cereals are low in fiber. The refining process strips the outer coat from the grain, which reduces the amount of fiber that’s left.
The best sources of fiber are whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes .
Consider Plant Sterols And Stanols
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 also added to certain oils and butter substitutes.
One study of 60 men and women found consuming yogurt with one gram of plant stanols reduced LDL by about 15%, compared to a placebo. Another study showed they decreased LDL by 20% .
In spite of these benefits to cholesterol, available studies have not proven that stanols or sterols decrease the risk of heart disease. The higher doses in supplements are not as well tested as the small doses in vegetable oils .
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.
There is strong evidence that fish oil and soluble fiber improve cholesterol and promote heart health. Another supplement, coenzyme Q10, is showing promise in improving cholesterol, although its long-term benefits are not yet known.
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Go Low For Heart Health
Cholesterol is an oily, waxy substance that’s a building block for many bodily processes. It serves as the backbone for certain hormones and helps repair cells in our tissues.
But there’s a catch. Our bodies need only a little bit of cholesterol for these housekeeping activitiesand according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , at least 38 percent of Americans have levels that are too high.
Excess blood levels of a specific type called low-density lipoprotein is especially likely to wreak havoc. The more LDL cholesterol you have floating around in your bloodstream, the greater your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
The link is so strong that just a 10 percent decrease in total cholesterol levels can reduce someone’s risk for heart disease .
That’s why doctors want you to know how to lower LDL cholesterol and keep it at a healthy level.
Know Your Numbers And What To Do About Them
When it comes to cholesterol, it’s important to know your numbers. Hyperlipidemia means your blood has too many lipids , such as cholesterol and triglycerides. One type of hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia, means you have too much non-HDL cholesterol and LDL; cholesterol in your blood. This condition increases fatty deposits in arteries and the risk of blockages.
Another way your cholesterol numbers can be out of balance is when your HDL cholesterol level is too low. With less HDL to remove cholesterol from your arteries, your risk of atherosclerotic plaque and blockages increases.
If youre diagnosed with hyperlipidemia, your overall health and other risks such as smoking or high blood pressure;will help guide treatment. These factors can combine with high LDL cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol levels to affect your cardiovascular health. Your doctor may use the ASCVD Risk Calculator to assess your risk of a coronary event in the next 10 years.
The good news is, high cholesterol can be lowered, reducing risk of heart disease and stroke. If youre 20 years or older, have your cholesterol tested and work with your doctor to adjust your cholesterol levels as needed.
Often, changing behaviors can help bring your numbers into line. If lifestyle changes alone dont improve your cholesterol levels, medication;may be prescribed. Lifestyle changes include:
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Eliminate Vices Such As Nicotine And Alcohol
Medicines To Lower Your Cholesterol Level
Medicines called statins are most often used to lower cholesterol levels. There are other cholesterol-lowering medicines that your doctor might prescribe, like resins, fibrates, and niacin. If you need to take a medicine to lower your cholesterol level, your doctor will help you find the one that works best for you.
Estrogen replacement therapy lowers your bad cholesterol level and raises your good cholesterol level. However, studies have not shown that it lowers the risk of heart disease.
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What Are Saturated Fats
Saturated fats are generally solid or waxy at room temperature and are most often found in animal products and tropical oils. The following foods contain saturated fats:
- Fatty cuts of beef, pork, lamb, veal, and the skin of poultry.
- Hot dogs, bacon and high-fat luncheon meats, such as salami and bologna.
- Full fat and processed cheeses, cream cheese.
- High-fat dairy products, such as whole milk, cream, half and half, butter and sour cream.
- Lard, bacon fat, sauces and gravies made from animal fat.
- Most fried foods and fast foods.
- Tropical oils – palm, palm kernel and coconut.
- Baked goods made with lard, butter or tropical oils.
A Guide To Healthy Eating: Strategies Tips And Recipes To Help You Make Better Food Choices
Eat real food. Thats the essence of todays nutrition message. Our knowledge of nutrition has come full circle, back to eating food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it. Based on a solid foundation of current nutrition science, Harvards Special Health Report A Guide to Healthy Eating: Strategies, tips, and recipes to help you make better food choices describes how to eat for optimum health.
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White Blood Cell Count
These cells flood your body when they detect harmful invaders. So a high white blood cell count may be a sign that youâre fighting an infection, allergies, inflammation, or even cancer. A low count may mean bone marrow problems, a weakened immune system from conditions like HIV, or a poor diet. Stress and even too much exercise also can unleash your white blood cells. Normal levels for adults are 3.4 billion to 9.6 billion cells/L.
Eat More Plant Sources Of Protein
Excellent plant proteins include beans all beans, like lentils, red beans, pinto beans, and soybeans. Rather than raising blood cholesterol levels, as animal sources of protein do, beans actually help lower cholesterol.
Beans also help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, and may even lower cancer risk.
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Limiting Saturated And Trans Fats
Here are some ways to lower your intake of saturated and trans fats:
- Maintain a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish and nuts. Also limit red meat and sugar-sweetened foods and beverages.
- Opt for naturally occurring unhydrogenated vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower or olive oil.
- Look for processed foods made with unhydrogenated oil rather than saturated fat or hydrogenated vegetable oils.
- Use soft margarine as a substitute for butter and choose soft margarines over harder stick forms. Look for 0 g trans fat on the Nutrition Facts label.
- Doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies and cakes are examples of foods high in trans fat. Dont eat them often.
- Limit commercially fried foods and baked goods made with shortening or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These foods are very high in fat, and its likely to be trans fat.
- Limit fried fast food. Commercial shortening and deep-frying fats are still made by hydrogenation and contain saturated and trans fats.
Consider using a food diary to keep track of what you eat. Its a handy way to evaluate the healthy, not-so-healthy and unhealthy foods youre making a part of your everyday diet.
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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What Is Insoluble Fiber
Insoluble fiber is generally referred to as “roughage.” Insoluble fiber promotes regularity, adds bulk and softness to stools, helps with weight regulation and helps prevent many gastrointestinal disorders. Good sources on insoluble fiber include:
- Wheat bran and whole wheat or grain bread/bread products, pasta, cereal and crackers.
What Happens When Ldl Cholesterol Is Too High
When these LDL cholesterol particles get into our arteries, they trigger an immune system response. The body sends in inflammatory cells to try and clear the leftover cholesterol, but that very process creates more damage, which can attract more LDL cholesterol particles.
“It becomes a little bit of a vicious cycle,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones says.
He explains that over time, this damage can make it more likely someone will form plaque in their artery walls. That narrows the arteries, limiting blood flow and significantly raising the risk of heart disease.
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Work With Your Doctor On A Lower Cholesterol Plan
Lowering your cholesterol doesnt mean going it alone. Your primary care doctor is a helpful partner along your journey.
Your doctor can work with you to create an action plan just for you one that combines diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes to help you lower and manage your cholesterol.
For example, losing weight and quitting smoking can be big helpers for lowering cholesterol. Quitting smoking can raise your good HDL cholesterol levels, and losing weight can lower your bad LDL cholesterol levels significantly.
But these two tasks arent easy. Fortunately, your primary care doctor can be a great resource to help you get started and find practical ways to stick with it. Plus, help with quitting smoking and losing weight may already be covered if you have health insurance.
Whether you want to quit smoking, lose weight or just learn more about how your personal health would benefit from lower cholesterol levels, regular check-ins with your doctor are key. They can also perform cholesterol tests the only way to actually measure cholesterol to check your progress and help you make adjustments based on the results.
Drinks Containing Sterols And Stanols
Sterols and stanols are plant chemicals similar in shape and size to cholesterol that block the absorption of some cholesterol.
However, vegetables and nuts contain low levels of sterols and stanols that cannot lower cholesterol.
Companies are adding these chemicals to several foods and drinks, including fortified yogurt drinks, milk, and fruit juices.
The FDA state that most people should try to consume 1.3 g or more of sterols and 3.4 g of stanols per day.
Try to consume these sterols and stanols with a meal.
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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
Start Your Day With Grains
Swap granola, energy bars and breakfast cereals for whole grains to bring your cholesterol down. Whole wheat, oats, rye, wild rice and other whole grains are packed with fiber and contain little or no saturated fat. One cup of oats, for instance, boasts 16.5 grams of fiber and large doses of phosphorus, magnesium, iron and B vitamins. These nutrients promote cardiovascular and metabolic health.
According to a 2015 review published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, whole grains especially oats reduce total and LDL cholesterol, but not HDL cholesterol. Even though their hypocholesterolemic effect is lower than that of statins and other drugs, it still matters. A 1 percent reduction in cholesterol levels can lower coronary heart disease risk by as much as 3 percent.
Researchers attribute these benefits to the fiber in grains. Oat and barley, for example, are rich in beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that has been frequently shown to reduce blood lipids. The study also suggests that calorie restriction can help maximize these beneficial effects.
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Lowering Your Total And Ldl Cholesterol Levels
Here are some things you can do:
Lose weight if you are overweight.
Exercise regularly. For example, walk or ride a bicycle for 30 minutes at least three times a week.
Eat fewer high-fat foods, like butter, cheese, meat, and some vegetable fats . Foods that are high in saturated fat should be less than 7 percent of your total daily calories.
Eat more high-fiber foods, like vegetables, fruits, grains, and whole-grain breads, cereals, and pasta.
Your doctor can help you plan a heart-healthy diet. If exercising and changing your diet do not help enough, you might need to take a medicine to lower your cholesterol level.
Saturated Fats Should Be Replaced By Unsaturated Fats
Small adjustments like those described above may not be enough to produce a substantial shift in LDL levels in some individuals. Instead, patients should decrease saturated fat intake from all sources and replace it with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. In reality, this means eating more fish, macadamia nuts, avocado, and olive oil instead of meat, cheese, and cream.
Liquid polyunsaturated fats, such as B. seed oils, continue to be a source of debate. Observational studies indicate little benefit for the heart, whereas randomized controlled trials show that they may decrease LDL levels, but they may also increase cardiovascular events and mortality risk. Furthermore, while clinical trials have not shown it, there is molecular evidence that seed oils may enhance oxidation and inflammation. See our scientific guide on vegetable oils for more details.
A low-carb vegetarian or vegan diet, which usually includes less saturated fat, is another possibility. See our low-carb vegetarian and vegan diet guidelines for additional information.
Many individuals have discovered that following the LCHF diet and decreasing or eliminating saturated fats reduces LDL cholesterol levels. The issue is whether such a feeding paradigm can be maintained indefinitely. The solution is very individualized and requires trial and error.
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