Keep your heart healthy by taking advantage of these natural ways to lower cholesterol.
What is cholesterol?
The waxy, fat-like substance known as cholesterol is produced in the liver and circulates throughout the body. With the terms “waxy” and “fat-like,” cholesterol may not sound particularly healthy for your body, but it does offer certain benefits.
It’s one of the components required by the body to produce new cells. Moreover, it is necessary for producing bile acids, progesterone, oestrogen hormones, and vitamin D and bile.
Yet, having too much cholesterol increases your chance of developing heart disease and stroke. It is crucial that you are aware of your level and, if it is high, take action. You may naturally lower your cholesterol by following these nine lifestyle recommendations.
It takes a multifaceted approach
Cholesterol reduction requires a diverse strategy. Switching from doughnuts to porridge for breakfast or from butter to olive oil is insufficient.
You must choose a healthy lifestyle every day if you want to lower your high cholesterol results. This entails closely examining every part of your daily routine, including your diet, level of exercise, and undesirable habits.
One word of caution: if you are already taking medicine, now is not the time to stop abruptly. Keep taking your medication as prescribed and on the same schedule.
Get plenty of soluble fibre
There are two forms of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both varieties are necessary for a balanced diet. Yet, studies have shown that soluble fiber, which is present in foods high in fibre, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and legumes, can lower LDL cholesterol by 5% to 10%.
Water and other biological fluids can be used to dissolve soluble fibers. They sort of accompany cholesterol to the bathroom, but they don’t hang around for very long. Dr. Colleen Tewksbury, senior study investigator and manager of the bariatric program at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, claims that soluble fiber binds to cholesterol in the intestines and causes the cholesterol to be expelled in the stool.
Contrarily, insoluble fiber absorbs water and other substances to create regular stools. You need both types, so be sure you get half of each, totalling about 25 to 30 grams per day.
Eat unsaturated fats
We know that consuming too much saturated fats can increase blood levels of harmful cholesterol. But we should also increase our consumption of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Unsaturated fats are far better for the heart than saturated fats and can be found in foods like fatty fish, olive oil, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
As an illustration, a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics revealed that diets high in unsaturated fats can generally lower blood cholesterol levels. Higher intakes of monounsaturated fats were also connected to healthier HDL levels and healthier total cholesterol levels and polyunsaturated fats. Interestingly, you might be surprised by the healthiest high-fat meals you should consume. For instance, eggs are generally recognized for having high cholesterol, but the fact about eggs is that, for most people, saturated fats—not cholesterol—cause health issues.
Sprinkle on spices to flavour food
Isn’t it a delightful surprise to learn that a food you almost certainly already consume may help lower cholesterol? You probably already sprinkle cinnamon in your coffee or cereal and use garlic in your cooking without realizing it could lower your cholesterol. According to Tewksbury, research indicates that eating spices like cinnamon and garlic may help decrease cholesterol. Garlic may control slightly raised cholesterol levels, and cinnamon’s active ingredient, cinnamaldehyde, enhances lipid and glucose metabolism.
Try a plant-based diet
You might want to switch to a plant-based diet to lower those high cholesterol scores. The use of a plant-based diet to cure and prevent numerous chronic conditions, including heart disease and excessive cholesterol levels, is widely supported by research, according to nutritionist Dana Hunnes.
The 2019 ACC/AHA Guidelines on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease are probably included. According to the recommendations, a diet high in plant-based protein has lower cholesterol (and salt) levels than one high in animal protein. So, switching from animal proteins like meat and chicken to plant proteins like tofu, beans, and quinoa can lower your risk of developing arterial plaque, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Ditch the processed foods
Saturated fat, which raises LDL levels, is frequently found in processed foods. But, they also include a further caution. According to cardiologist Dr. Neel Chokshi, trans fats, refined sugars, and carbs in processed foods cause inflammation in the body. Atherosclerosis, or blockages in the walls of your arteries, is caused by high cholesterol combined with inflammation, he claims.
You might be surprised to learn that exercise is almost as crucial to naturally decreasing cholesterol as your diet. Many studies have shown that exercise lowers LDL and triglyceride levels, two harmful blood lipids. The fuel for your body is cholesterol and fat, according to Dr. Chokshi. Activity increases your body’s energy, which causes more of these lipids to be burned. Despite the data, exercising is not frequently chosen to lower cholesterol. Some people can find it tedious, uncomfortable, or difficult to fit into their hectic schedules. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to drag yourself to the gym to see results. Get some relatives or friends for fun and accountability, or even better. Consistency is the secret to decreasing cholesterol. He suggests that either 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise or at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week are ideal. Beginners can start with 30 minutes of daily walking comfortably before progressing to moderate-intensity exercise. According to Dr. Chokshi, performing two 20-minute resistance exercise sessions per week can also lower cholesterol by boosting metabolism and muscle mass.
Shed some weight
Aim to lose some weight if you’re overweight or obese. Lower cholesterol can be attained with even modest weight loss. According to research published in Translational Behavioral Medicine, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides decreased in patients who lost 5 to 10% of their body weight. And when folks dropped more than 10%, the statistics improved even more. Your risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease will drop along with your cholesterol level as you lose weight.