12 Natural Ways to Lower Cholesterol Levels
Many people don’t realize just how easy it is to eat your way to dangerously high cholesterol levels. On top of that, in addition to putting yourself at risk of heart disease, you are also setting yourself up for developing other conditions as well. Of course, if you feel that your cholesterol levels are through the roof, you need to see your primary health care provider right away for an appointment. However, it’s important to note that there are also natural ways that you can lower your cholesterol levels as well.
In this blog, we will go into those natural ways, but we will also discuss the foods that help to lower cholesterol, the diseases that can be contracted by having high cholesterol, the dangers, and how to prevent it from happening to begin with.
If you have been worried about your cholesterol levels or if your doctor has told you that you need to lower them, then this blog is for you. With that in mind, let’s delve into a few of the natural ways to lower your cholesterol levels and much, much more.
Causes of High Cholesterol
One of the best ways to lower your cholesterol levels that natural way is to actually know what the causes of high cholesterol are. We will go into a few of the top causes below.
The biggest cause of high cholesterol is the lifestyle choices you make. Unhealthy behaviors are usually the main culprit when it comes to cholesterol that is through the roof. It’s important to note that your body naturally produces all of the bad cholesterol it needs, so bad lifestyle choices just add to that high cholesterol. Behaviors that lead to high cholesterol levels include an unhealthy diet, getting very little physical exercise, being overweight, and smoking or being exposed to tobacco smoke. Luckily, if you change your lifestyle behaviors a bit, you can lower your cholesterol levels pretty quickly.
It Can Be Hereditary
It is highly possible to inherit genes from your parents or even your grandparents that will cause you to have high cholesterol levels. If you are concerned about your levels, check your family history to see if it might be hereditary and then make an appointment with your healthcare provider right away.
High cholesterol levels are nothing to play with and they should not be ignored. It can be dangerous to do so. In our next section, we will go into the diseases that can be caused by high cholesterol.
Diseases That Can Be Caused by High Cholesterol
It’s important to recognize that high cholesterol can lead to a few other diseases that you don’t want to have to deal with. We will list a few of those diseases below.
- Coronary heart disease
- Peripheral Arterial Disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- High blood pressure
None of these is something that you want to have to deal with, because of high cholesterol levels, so it’s important to get those levels under control now before it’s too late.
These are just a few of the things that you need to know in order to realize how serious high cholesterol levels are. If you feel that you have high cholesterol, then it’s time to get to a doctor right away.
In the next section of our blog, we will go into some natural ways that you can reduce those cholesterol levels. Ready to learn? Then, let’s get started.
Natural Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol Levels Revealed
As previously noted, if you have high cholesterol you are at risk for developing heart disease and other conditions as well. However, the good news is that this is a risk you can control and you can control it naturally. Below, we will go into a few of the best natural ways to get your levels under control and where they need to be.
Stay Away from the Trans Fats
Trans Fats are one of the worst things for raising your cholesterol. However, they are a little hard to stay away from, as they are in fried foods, baked goods, and can even be found in a stick of butter. This is why the FDA is trying to ban trans fats, but that hasn’t been accomplished yet. In the meantime, the best you can do is read the package labels on your food carefully and ban anything that has trans fat or partially hydrogenated oil listed as an ingredient. It’s not easy but it can be done.
Eat a Lot of Fiber
Eating a lot of fiber is also a good way to lower your cholesterol levels. Foods such as apples, oatmeal, prunes, and even beans are high in soluble fiber, and in turn, keep your body from absorbing the bad cholesterol. Studies have shown that people who eat just five to 10 grams of fiber a day, see a drop in their cholesterol levels. However, it is important to increase your fiber gradually, as too much can lead to bloating and gas.
Stock Up on the Fish
Fish is full of omega-3 fats and those are good for you. On top of that, replacing the red meat you usually eat with fish will lower your cholesterol levels quickly. Try to eat fish from two to four times a week for the best results. It is important to choose fish that aren’t high in mercury, however, because those are not good for you either. Wild salmon, bluefin tuna, and sardines are your best bet, although any of them are good in moderation.
Use Olive Oil
Studies have shown that using olive oil instead of using butter can lower your cholesterol levels by as much as 15 percent. Olive oil contains good fats which are good for your heart health and also help to prevent disease. It is best to go with extra-virgin olive oil as well for the best results.
Eat More Nuts
Nuts are said to lower cholesterol levels as well, so stock up on whatever kind you like. However, don’t go hog wild on eating them, because most of them are full of calories that you don’t need. A few at a time should suffice to help lower your cholesterol levels to where they are supposed to be.
Pile on the Spices, within Reason, of Course
Try dusting your cappuccino with cinnamon or putting pepper on your pasta or even in your soups to lower those cholesterol levels. Spices like these do more than giving your food and drinks a great flavor, they can also improve your cholesterol levels. Believe it or not, adding extra seasoning to your food can also help with weight loss, as it curbs your appetite. Some of the best spices to use are listed below.
If you love these spices, you have full permission to sprinkle them on your food, as it helps with your weight loss goals, your cholesterol levels, and they taste good at the same time, making this a win-win all around wouldn’t you think?
Institute a Few Lifestyle Changes
One of the best ways to lower your cholesterol is by instituting a few lifestyle changes. We will go into the changes that you should make to your lifestyle below. They aren’t really hard to do, it just takes time and determination to make these changes a habit.
Eat Heart Healthy Foods
We have already talked a little bit about the foods you need to eat above, but it bears touching on once again. Below you can find the ways that you can eat heart-healthy foods listed.
- Reduce saturated fats
- Get rid of trans fats
- Eat foods that have a lot of Omega-3 fatty acids
- Eat more soluble fiber
- Add whey protein to your diet
Get Plenty of Exercise/Increase Your Physical Activity
If you want to lower your cholesterol levels it’s important to exercise on most days of the week and stay as active as you possibly can. It is best to exercise 30 minutes a day for at least five days a week. It is, however, important to make an appointment with your primary health care provider to make sure that your health is able to withstand this exercise schedule. Adding some physical activity, even in short bursts during the day will do a lot for your cholesterol and your overall health as well. Some ideas for exercise include a daily brisk walk during your lunch hour, before breakfast or after dinner, riding your bike, or even participating in your favorite sport. It can be hard to stay motivated when you exercise alone, so consider joining an exercise group or finding a friend or family member to do it with you.
Give Up the Smoking
Sorry, but if you want to lower your cholesterol levels, then you are going to have to give up smoking. Believe it or not, the benefits happen quickly once you give up the cigarettes. Studies show that within 20 minutes of giving up smoking, your heart rate and your blood pressure start to recover, your blood circulation and the functioning of your lungs begin to improve after three months, and your risk of heart disease is cut to half when you have refrained from smoking for a year. These are some pretty powerful reasons to give up the smokes, don’t you think?
Shed Those Extra Pounds
It is said that carrying even a few extra pounds is bad for you and can make your cholesterol levels higher. Try starting small and losing those extra pounds by making a few small changes. Stop drinking sugary drinks and instead drink more water. Try to stay away from the salty and fried foods and keep track of the calories you eat while you’re doing it. You would be surprised at the extra weight you shed, just from staying away from sodas. Try it for a bit and see if you lose the weight you need to and if your cholesterol levels are lower as well.
Drink Only in Moderation
While it’s really not healthy for you to drink at all, it is okay in moderation if you must. Moderate use has been linked to higher HDL, but there aren’t enough studies to warrant it being recommended. If you do drink alcohol do so in moderation as drinking too much can lead to severe health issues, some that are much worse than high cholesterol.
These are just a few of the lifestyle changes that you should make to ensure that your cholesterol levels are in an acceptable range. Remember these lifestyle changes aren’t just about being fit, they are about making sure that you live to see your grandchildren as well, as high cholesterol levels can be extremely dangerous and even fatal.
Below you can find a few foods that will help to lower your cholesterol levels as well.
Foods to Eat to Lower Your Cholesterol Levels
- Other types of grains
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, instead of Vegetable Oil
- Citrus fruits
- Foods that have stanols and sterols in them
- Fatty fish
Foods to avoid are listed below as well.
Foods to Avoid when You have High Cholesterol
- Saturated Fats
- Trans Fats
Putting it All Together to Lower Those Cholesterol Levels
While this may seem like a lot to go through to lower those cholesterol levels, when you think of the alternative, it’s not really that hard at all. Try adding several foods to your diet instead of one or two for the best results and make sure that you at least walk every day. It’s not going to be easy, but it can be done. Your life may very well depend on it.
This concludes our blog on the best natural ways to lower your cholesterol levels. Visit your primary health care provider to determine which of these tips is the right one for you.
- Health Line: 10 Natural Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol Levels
- Mayo Clinic: Top 5 Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Cholesterol
- Heart.org: Causes of High Cholesterol