7 Ways to Lower Cholesterol Naturally

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High cholesterol is a common problem today, but it’s one that you can do something about. There are many ways to lower cholesterol naturally, without having to resort to drugs.

In this blog post, we will explore 7 ways to lower cholesterol naturally. From diet and lifestyle changes to supplements and more, read on to learn how you can improve your cholesterol levels and overall health.

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in the fats (lipids) in your blood. Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But if you have too much in your blood, it can stick to the walls of your arteries and form plaque. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, plaque can harden or rupture, causing a heart attack or stroke.

High cholesterol doesn’t usually have symptoms, so you may not know you have it. That’s why it’s important to get your cholesterol checked regularly starting at age 20. You should get it checked every 4 to 6 years after that if your numbers are normal. If your numbers are high, you may need to get checked more often.

Your doctor can tell you what your numbers mean and whether you need to make lifestyle changes or take medicine to lower your cholesterol.

What Causes High Cholesterol?

High cholesterol is caused by a variety of factors, including diet, weight, genetic factors, and other health conditions. Diet plays a big role in cholesterol levels, with saturated and trans fats increasing cholesterol levels more than other types of fat. Weight also contributes to high cholesterol levels, as excess body fat can increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and decrease HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Genetic factors can also contribute to high cholesterol levels, as some people are born with higher levels of LDL cholesterol than others. Finally, other health conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease can also lead to high cholesterol levels.

1. Foods That Lower Cholesterol

woman smiling while cooking
Photo by Jason Briscoe

When it comes to cholesterol, there are two types: LDL (low-density lipoprotein), which is the “bad” cholesterol that can build up in your arteries and lead to heart disease, and HDL (high-density lipoprotein), which is the “good” cholesterol that helps remove LDL from your arteries.

There are a number of different ways to lower your cholesterol, but one of the best ways is through your diet. Here are some specific foods that can help lower your cholesterol:

Soluble fiber: Soluble fiber helps reduce LDL cholesterol by binding to it in the intestine and preventing its absorption. Foods high in soluble fiber include oats, barley, beans, lentils, apples, citrus fruits, and psyllium husk.

Fish: Fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to decrease LDL cholesterol levels and increase HDL cholesterol levels.

Nuts: Nuts contain plant sterols, which have a similar effect to soluble fiber in terms of reducing LDL cholesterol absorption. Additionally, nuts are a good source of monounsaturated fats, which can also help reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Good choices include almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, and pistachios.

Vegetable oils: Vegetable oils high in monounsaturated fats can also help reduce LDL cholesterol levels while increasing HDL cholesterol levels. olive oil , peanut oil , and canola oil are all good choices.

2. Supplements That Lower Cholesterol

Diet and lifestyle changes are the most important things you can do to lower your cholesterol. But sometimes, these changes aren’t enough. If your cholesterol is still high after making lifestyle changes, your doctor may prescribe medication.

There are different types of cholesterol-lowering medication, but the most common are statins. Statins work by blocking a substance your liver needs to make cholesterol. This reduces the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in your blood and helps to prevent heart disease and stroke.

In addition to statins, there are other cholesterol-lowering medications available. These include:

– Bile acid sequestrants: These medications bind to bile acids in the intestine and prevent them from being reabsorbed into the bloodstream. This causes the liver to break down more LDL cholesterol to make new bile acids, which lowers LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.

– Cholesterol absorption inhibitors: These medications block the absorption of cholesterol from food in the intestine. This lowers LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.

– Nicotinic acid (niacin): This vitamin can lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels. It is available as an over-the-counter supplement or by prescription.

If you have high cholesterol, talk to your doctor about whether a supplement might be right for you.

3. Exercise

person running
Photo by Jenny Hill

Exercise has numerous benefits for overall health, including improving cholesterol levels. Regular aerobic exercise can help increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Just 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity most days of the week can make a difference.

In addition to aerobic exercise, strength training is also beneficial for cholesterol levels. Strength-training helps build muscle mass and can help increase HDL cholesterol while reducing LDL cholesterol.

Both aerobic exercise and strength training are important for maintaining a healthy weight, which is also key to managing cholesterol levels. Excess weight, especially around the waist, is a major risk factor for high cholesterol and other conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

4. Stress

If you’re like most people, you probably think of stress as something that causes you to feel tense, anxious, or irritable. But did you know that stress can also take a toll on your physical health?

chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In fact, studies have shown that people who are under chronic stress are more likely to develop heart disease than those who are not.

So how does stress affect cholesterol levels? When you’re stressed, your body produces more of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol helps your body respond to stressful situations by increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. This can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries, which can ultimately cause a heart attack or stroke.

5. Sleep

woman covered in white blanket sleeping on white bed comforter
Photo by Kinga Cichewicz

There are many ways to lower cholesterol naturally. Get enough sleep is one of them. Studies show that people who sleep less than six hours a night have higher levels of LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol. People who sleep more than eight hours a night have higher levels of HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol. The best way to lower your cholesterol is to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

In addition to sleeping, there are other lifestyle changes you can make to lower your cholesterol. Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise are two of the most important things you can do.

6. Alcohol

When it comes to cholesterol, moderation is key. Alcohol can actually help raise HDL “good” cholesterol levels and keep LDL cholesterol in check. But, drinking too much alcohol can have the opposite effect and lead to high cholesterol levels. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation – no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

7. Quitting Smoking

Smoking is a major contributor to high cholesterol levels. In fact, smoking cigarettes is one of the most significant risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease. Cigarette smoke contains harmful chemicals that damage the lining of your arteries, which can lead to a buildup of plaque and eventually blockage. When this happens, it forces your heart to work harder to pump blood through your body, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Therefore, quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your heart health. There are many resources available to help you quit, including nicotine replacement therapy and counseling. Talk to your doctor about which option is right for you.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to lower your cholesterol levels, making some lifestyle changes is a great place to start. Our tips can help you make small changes that can have a big impact on your cholesterol levels. And remember, if you’re not sure where to start or need more help, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian for guidance.

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