Natural Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol Levels
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Heres our process.
Cholesterol is made in your liver and has many important functions. For example, it helps keep the walls of your cells flexible and is needed to make several hormones.
However, like anything in the body, too much cholesterol or cholesterol in the wrong places creates problems.
Like fat, cholesterol does not dissolve in water. Instead, its transport in the body depends on molecules called lipoproteins, which carry cholesterol, fat and fat-soluble vitamins in the blood.
Different kinds of lipoproteins have different effects on health. For example, high levels of low-density lipoprotein result in cholesterol deposits in blood vessel walls, which can lead to clogged arteries, strokes, heart attacks and kidney failure .
In contrast, high-density lipoprotein helps carry cholesterol away from vessel walls and helps prevent these diseases .
This article will review 10 natural ways to increase the good HDL cholesterol and lower the bad LDL cholesterol.
How To Lower Cholesterol: Low
Low-carbohydrate diets may help improve HDL cholesterol levels. The National Institutes of Health conducted a study that found while both low-fat and low-carb dieters lost weight over the two-year study period, low-carb dieters also improved their HDL cholesterol levels. The problem with low-carb diets is that they may be difficult to adhere to. Consult your doctor about the best healthy eating plan to manage your cholesterol.
About Your Cholesterol Result
A cholesterol test can measure:
- total cholesterol the overall amount of cholesterol in your blood, including both “good” and “bad” cholesterol
- good cholesterol this makes you less likely to have heart problems or a stroke
- bad cholesterol this makes you more likely to have heart problems or a stroke
- triglycerides a fatty substance similar to bad cholesterol
When you get your result, you may just be told your total cholesterol.
You might be able to get separate results for your good and bad cholesterol and triglycerides. Ask your doctor or nurse.
Don’t Miss: Is Shrimp Cholesterol Bad
Your Diet Plays A Vital Role In Building Up The Plaque Which Blocks The Blood Circulation Further Raising Cholesterol Levels In Order To Keep Your Cholesterol Levels Down And In The Recommended Range You Need To Pick The Right Food And Avoid Some
- Sarika Rana
- Not just diet, but obesity and stress may up the chances of cholesterol
- Your diet plays a vital role in building up the plaque
- You need to pick the right food and avoid some to maintain cholesterol
Our stressful lifestyle and increasing dependency on convenient processed and packaged food has made high cholesterol a common problem these days. Not just our diet, but obesity and stress may also up the chances of high cholesterol. Cholesterol is found in every cell of the body and has important natural functions in stimulating various activities in the body that include digesting foods, producing hormones and others. Out of the two types of cholesterol, good and bad , high levels of bad cholesterol can take a toll on your body and cause various health hazards that may include the risk of cardiovascular diseases, stroke and even heart attack. Your diet plays a vital role in building up the plaque which blocks the blood circulation further raising cholesterol levels. In order to keep your cholesterol levels down and in the recommended range, you need to pick the right food and avoid some. Here’s a quick guide to an ideal cholesterol diet that you may follow.
How To Lower Your Elevated Ldl Cholesterol
Cholesterol is naturally produced by your body and is essential to its function throughout your everyday life. However, excessively high levels of cholesterolin particular, LDL cholesterol are bad and can lead to serious health problems such as clogged arteries, heart disease, and stroke.
What is LDL Cholesterol?
LDL stands for Low-Density Lipoproteins. This type of cholesterol is produced by the liver and is instrumental in the creation of cell walls, hormones, and digestive juices. However, when your LDL level is high, it can start to form a plaque-like substance on the walls of your cardiovascular system, blocking the natural flow of blood and leaving you at severe risk for heart attack and stroke. Put simply, LDL is the bad kind of cholesterol. But fear not there are several ways in which you can lower your LDL cholesterol and encourage the development of High-Density Lipoproteins , which actually function to limit the level of LDL cholesterol in your system.
Consider Screening for Familial Hypercholesterolemia ?
Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic disorder that causes dangerously high levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol from birth. If you have a family history of heart disease and very high cholesterol, you may have FH. FH can be diagnosed with a simple blood test, or lipid panel. Learn more here.
Check out more Diet & Lifestyle Tips for a healthier life.
About the Author
Also Check: Does Baked Potato Have Cholesterol
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 .
How To Lower Your Cholesterol
Your doctor can measure your cholesterol levels using a blood test. A high cholesterol level means you might be at risk of heart disease and stroke. You wont necessarily have any symptoms of having high cholesterol, so you doctor might test it regularly to keep an eye on your levels.
A cholesterol test looks at the amount of both HDL and LDL cholesterol in your body. It will also show your triglyceride level, which is a type of fat in your bloodstream, as high triglyceride levels can also indicate a higher risk of heart disease.
If youve had a test showing you have high cholesterol levels, lifestyle changes might help you to lower your levels. Reduce your cholesterol by:
You May Like: How Much Cholesterol In Mussels
What Can Affect My Ldl Level
Things that can affect your LDL level include
- Diet. Saturated fat and cholesterol in the food you eat make your blood cholesterol level rise
- Weight. Being overweight tends to raise your LDL level, lower your HDL level, and increase your total cholesterol level
- Physical Activity. A lack of physical activity can lead to weight gain, which can raise your LDL level
- Smoking.Cigarette smoking lowers your HDL cholesterol. Since HDL helps to remove LDL from your arteries, if you have less HDL, that can contribute to you having a higher LDL level.
- Age and Sex. As women and men get older, their cholesterol levels rise. Before the age of menopause, women have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After the age of menopause, women’s LDL levels tend to rise.
- Genetics. Your genes partly determine how much cholesterol your body makes. High cholesterol can run in families. For example, familial hypercholesterolemia is an inherited form of high blood cholesterol.
- Medicines. Certain medicines, including steroids, some blood pressure medicines, and HIV/AIDS medicines, can raise your LDL level.
- Other medical conditions. Diseases such as chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS can cause a higher LDL level.
- Race. Certain races may have an increased risk of high blood cholesterol. For example, African Americans typically have higher HDL and LDL cholesterol levels than whites.
The Composition Of Ldl Cholesterol: Why It Matters
While it was traditionally thought that high LDL cholesterol as a whole was bad and a predictor of heart disease complications, new research, including a 2019 study from Ohio University, suggests that the real predictor of complications may be a particular subclass of LDL.
LDL is comprised of three subclasses of low-density lipoproteins, A, B, and I. According to researchers, one subclass subclass B was found to be the most damaging and a much better predictor of potential heart attacks than the total measurement of LDL.
While this type of research is new and evolving, if you are concerned about your LDL numbers and the possibility of complications, talk with your doctor.
If youve been diagnosed with high LDL, the good news is that there are ways to lower it to a healthier range.
If your doctor is concerned about your LDL levels, they may prescribe medication, such as:
Each drug has its own side effects, so its important to talk with your doctor about why theyre prescribing a specific medication and what the possible side effects might be.
Your doctor will also likely recommend specific lifestyle changes regardless of whether youre prescribed medication.
If your lipid test shows high or borderline-high LDL levels, your doctor will most likely recommend some lifestyle changes that can make a positive impact on your cholesterol as a whole based on your specific situation.
You May Like: Does Tuna Have Good Or Bad Cholesterol
What Exactly Is Cholesterol
Despite its association with health problems, cholesterol is something the body needs. Cholesterol is necessary to make certain hormones. Its involved in making vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Cholesterol also plays a role in making some of the substances required to digest food.
Cholesterol travels in the blood in the form of lipoproteins, which are tiny molecules of fat wrapped in protein. There are two major types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein .
LDL is sometimes referred to as bad cholesterol. This is because its the kind of cholesterol that can clog your arteries. HDL, or the good cholesterol, helps bring LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream to the liver. From the liver, the excess LDL cholesterol is removed from the body.
The liver plays another key role in cholesterol. Most of your cholesterol is made in your liver. The rest comes from the food you eat. Dietary cholesterol is found only in animal food sources, such as eggs, meat, and poultry. Its not found in plants.
Cholesterol Diet: What Foods To Avoid
According to Nutritionist and Wellness Expert Sonia Narang, It is important to look after your diet and eat healthy. Avoid saturated fats like oil, ghee and hard margarine. Avoid Trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils as they go through a lot of processing. You will find these fats in cookies, chips and other packaged snacks. Try to have less fatty meat and meat products like sausages and egg yolks. You should also avoid too much alcohol as it raises your blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
Recommended Reading: Cholesterol In Shrimp Good Or Bad
White Bread Rice And Pasta
When you eat simple carbohydrates that are stripped of fiber your body breaks them down just like sugar, and both inflammation and LDL cholesterol rise as a result. Overeating refined carbs such as white rice, white-flour pasta, and white bread can have the same effect on your body as drinking soda, says registered dietitian Amy Shapiro, who is based in New York.
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.
You May Like: Cholesterol Deficiency Symptoms
Checking Your Blood Cholesterol Level
A cholesterol screening is an overall look at the fats in your blood. Screenings help identify your risk for heart disease. It is important to have what is called a full lipid profile to show the actual levels of each type of fat in your blood: LDL, HDL, triglycerides, and others. Talk with your healthcare provider about when to have this test.
You Need A Little Not A Lot
Cholesterol is in every cell in your body. You need cholesterol to help your brain, skin, and other organs do their jobs. But eating too much fat and cholesterol is a bad idea.
Cholesterol floats around in your blood and can get into the walls of the blood vessels. This can cause the blood vessels to get stiffer, narrower, or clogged. If the clogging gets worse over many years, it can cause a heart attack or stroke in adults.
Cholesterol can start to build up in childhood. Doctors can find out what your cholesterol level is by taking a little of your blood and testing it.
Recommended Reading: Are Mussels High In Cholesterol
How Can A High Ldl Level Raise My Risk Of Coronary Artery Disease And Other Diseases
If you have a high LDL level, this means that you have too much LDL cholesterol in your blood. This extra LDL, along with other substances, forms plaque. The plaque builds up in your arteries this is a condition called atherosclerosis.
Coronary artery disease happens when the plaque buildup is in the arteries of your heart. It causes the arteries to become hardened and narrowed, which slows down or blocks the blood flow to your heart. Since your blood carries oxygen to your heart, this means that your heart may not be able to get enough oxygen. This can cause angina , or if the blood flow is completely blocked, a heart attack.
Learn The Warning Signs Of Serious Complications And Have A Plan
High blood cholesterol can lead to serious cardiovascular complications, such as heart attack or stroke. If you think that you are or someone else is having the following symptoms, Every minute matters.
Heart attack symptoms include mild or severe chest pain or discomfort in the center of the chest or upper abdomen that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. This discomfort can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, heartburn, or indigestion. There also may be pain down the left arm or in the neck. Although both men and women can experience these symptoms, women are more likely to have other, less typical symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, unusual tiredness, and pain in the back, shoulders, or jaw. Read more about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and perform the following simple test.
FFace: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
AArms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
SSpeech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
TTime: If you observe any of these signs, . Early treatment is essential.
Read more about the signs and symptoms of a stroke.
You May Like: Pork Cholesterol Amount
What Is A Healthy Cholesterol Level
According to the NHLBI, your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes, increases if you have an HDL cholesterol level of 40 milligrams per deciliter or less for men and 50 mg/dL or less for women. The institute recommends that total daily cholesterol intake be less than 200 mg/dL, and that LDL cholesterol be less than 100 mg/dL.
The Dietary Guidelines For Americans Summarized
Heres a summary of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
Avoid industrial trans fats.
Replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats, and aim to get less than 10% of your calories from saturated fats.
Reduce calories from solid animal fats with plant oils when possible.
Prioritize seafood , lean meats, poultry, eggs, legumes , nuts, seeds, and soy products over red and processed meats as sources of protein.
You May Like: How Much Cholesterol In Canned Tuna
What Are Good And Bad Cholesterol
Rather than two different kinds of cholesterol that are good and bad, there are two different types of lipoproteins that cholesterol travels in. Having some of both types of lipoproteins is essential for good health.
High-density lipoproteins, called HDL cholesterol, are often thought of as good because they remove cholesterol from your arteries and take it back to your liver to process and eliminate.
Low-density lipoproteins, called LDL cholesterol, are thought of as the bad cholesterol, because they leave cholesterol in your arteries. While you need some LDL and HDL cholesterol for your body to work properly, too much cholesterol in total can lead to health problems, as the extra LDL cholesterol builds up in your arteries.
Food Supplements That Do Not Help With Cholesterol
Many extracts and supplements have been promoted for their overall health benefits and lipid-lowering effects, but do they work?
We reviewed the available scientific research and found that the following supplements had no good evidence to support those claims:
Selenium: Supplements may help lower cholesterol in people with low levels of selenium, but not in people with normal levels of selenium. There is not enough scientific evidence to say that selenium protects against cardiovascular disease.
Calcium: Results here are mixed, but the bottom line is calcium supplementation does not improve cholesterol levels.
Garlic supplements: Raw, powdered, and aged garlic supplements had no effect on cholesterol levels.
Policosanol: This substance, which is extracted from sugar cane wax, did not improve cholesterol.
Coconut oil supplements: There is mixed evidence about the cardiovascular benefits or harm of coconut oil. It is not an evidence-based alternative treatment for high cholesterol levels.
Coconut water: There is no high-quality data about coconut water improving cholesterol levels.
Resveratrol supplements: There is no evidence that these improve cholesterol levels in humans.
Soy isoflavones supplements: Taking supplements of soy isoflavones does not improve cholesterol levels.
You May Like: Is Canned Tuna Good For Cholesterol