Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol Level
If you have been diagnosed with or suspect you suffer from high cholesterol, it is important for you to talk to a physician to find out what you can do to reduce your levels of cholesterol.
Very often doctors advise medication to control the cholesterol. You should know, however, that your improvement is not exclusively dependent on taking medicine. There are simple and natural alternatives to not only treat but also prevent the problem.
People who do not get enough regular exercise are more likely to have high levels of cholesterol in their blood. Since their metabolism is a lot slower, the rate at which their body converts cholesterol into energy reduces as well.
This increases the amount of cholesterol that builds up in their systems, causing a spike in their cholesterol levels. One of the most effective methods of keeping your cholesterol within healthy limits is to exercise more regularly.
You do not have to register in a gym in order to start exercising, although this can also come in handy. A brisk walk for about 30 minutes a day, tending to your household chores, or yard work may provide you with the necessary exercise to boost your body’s metabolism rate.
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Changes will also need to be made to what you eat. Make a list of foods rich in soluble fiber and those high in bad fats. Eat the foods that are high in fiber in copious amounts and reduce or eliminate the consumption of processed foods and trans fats. This is because soluble fiber assists your body in lowering your cholesterol, while bad fats increase the amount of cholesterol formed in your body.
Whole grain foods, fruits, and vegetables such as berries, apples, broccoli, and carrots are high in soluble fiber. Eat them in abundance. Avoid fried or processed food. It will also help to take natural supplements to further tone down the cholesterol level in the body. Omega-3 fatty acid capsules and garlic pills are some of the many supplements that lower cholesterol levels.
In addition to adding more exercise to your day and eating better, it is essential that you try to be as relaxed as possible. If you are often stressed, no amount of exercise and good diet can keep you healthy. As a matter of fact, often stressed people find it difficult to lead an active life, much less pay attention to their diets.
Once you start feeling drained, anxious, or depressed, stop what you are doing and rest. Do something fun with your family or partake in one of your favorite hobbies. It is also beneficial to practice prayer, meditation, or yoga. Find a church or support group. It is in your best interest to work toward establishing the proper mindset to enable you to succeed in lowering your cholesterol level.
Quit smoking. There is nothing healthy about smoking, including the fact that it can make your high levels of cholesterol worse. Smoking also diminishes good cholesterol. You gain nothing at all by smoking.
How to Lower Cholesterol level Naturally With Diet
Make these changes to your health, diet, and life slowly and gradually. Each small change will result in not only lower cholesterol, but in better overall health. So what’s the point in waiting? Start today.
What Exactly is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells in your body. Your liver makes cholesterol, and it is also in some foods, such as meat and dairy products. Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But having too much cholesterol in your blood raises your risk of coronary artery disease.
Cholesterol is any of a class of certain organic molecules. A cholesterol is a sterol, a type of lipid. Cholesterol is biosynthesized by all animal cells and is an essential structural component of animal cell membranes. When chemically isolated, it is a yellowish crystalline solid.
Moreover, just fat, cholesterol does not dissolve in water. Instead, to move around the body, it depends on molecules called lipoproteins. These carry cholesterol, fat, and fat-soluble vitamins in your blood. However, different kinds of these lipoproteins have different effects on health.
For instance, high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) results in cholesterol deposits in blood vessel walls, which can lead to stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, etc. On the other hand, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) helps carry cholesterol away from vessel walls and helps prevent these conditions. However, there are many simple and natural ways to increase HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Here are the 7 tips:
- Choose healthier fats.
- Limit foods with cholesterol.
- Eat plenty of soluble fiber.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Eat fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Limit salt.
- Limit alcohol.
1. Choose Healthier Fats
You should limit both total fat and saturated fat. No more than 25 to 35% of your daily calories should come from dietary fats, and less than 7% of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. Depending upon how many calories you eat per day, here are the maximum amounts of fats that you should eat:
Calories per Day Total Fat Saturated Fat
1,500 42-58 grams 10 grams
2,000 56-78 grams 13 grams
2,500 69-97 grams 17 grams
Saturated fat is a bad fat because it raises your LDL (bad cholesterol) level more than anything else in your diet. It is found in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods.
Trans fat is another bad fat; it can raise your LDL and lower you HDL (good cholesterol). Trans fat is mostly in foods made with hydrogenated oils and fats, such as stick margarine, crackers, and French fries. Instead of these bad fats, try healthier fats, such as lean meat, nuts, and unsaturated oils like canola, olive, and safflower oils.
2. Limit Foods With Cholesterol
If you are trying to lower your cholesterol, you should have less than 200 mg a day of cholesterol. Cholesterol is in foods of animal origin, such as liver and other organ meats, egg yolks, shrimp, and whole milk dairy products. If you have risk factors for heart disease, you should not consume more than 200 milligrams of cholesterol a day. If you do not have risk factors for heart disease, you should limit your cholesterol intake to no more than 300 milligrams a day.
3. Eat Plenty of Soluble Fiber
Foods containing high levels of soluble fiber include dried beans, oats, oat bran, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, apples, strawberries, peas, and potatoes. Moreover, foods high in insoluble fiber include wheat bran, whole grains, cereals, seeds, and the skins of many fruits and vegetables. Foods high in soluble fiber help prevent your digestive tract from absorbing cholesterol. These foods include:
- Whole-grain cereals such as oatmeal and oat bran
- Fruits such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and prunes
- Legumes such as kidney beans, lentils, chick peas, black-eyed peas, and lima beans
4. Eat Lots of Fruits and Vegetables
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can increase important cholesterol-lowering compounds in your diet. These compounds, called plant sterols, work like soluble fiber. A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar, which can help keep appetite in check.
5. Eat Fish That are High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These acids won’t lower your LDL level, but they may help raise your HDL level. They may also protect your heart from blood clots and inflammation and reduce your risk of heart attack. Fish that are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna (canned or fresh), and mackerel. Try to eat these fish two times a week.
Good omega-3-rich fish options include:
- Atlantic mackerel.
- Lake trout.
- Canned, light tuna.
6. Limit Salt
You should try to limit the amount of sodium (salt) that you eat to no more than 2,300 milligrams (about 1 teaspoon of salt) a day. That includes all the sodium you eat, whether it was added in cooking or at the table, or already present in food products. Limiting salt won’t lower your cholesterol, but it can lower your risk of heart diseases by helping to lower your blood pressure. You can reduce your sodium by instead choosing low-salt and “no added salt” foods and seasonings at the table or while cooking.
Americans eat on average about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. However, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends adults limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day—that’s equal to about 1 teaspoon of table salt!
7. Limit or Use Alcohol in Moderation
Some research indicates that the moderate use of alcohol has been linked with higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. But these benefits aren’t strong enough to recommend alcohol for anyone who doesn’t already drink.
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Cholesterol has important functions in the body, it supports many essential bodily functions, such as cell membrane formation and hormone production. But it can cause clogged arteries and increases a person’s risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke when it gets out of control.
People can naturally lower their cholesterol levels through dietary and lifestyle changes. Replacing trans fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help lower levels of LDL cholesterol and raise levels of HDL cholesterol.
However, in most cases healthy lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower cholesterol levels. If your doctor recommends medication to help lower your cholesterol, take it as prescribed while continuing your lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes can help you keep your medication dose low.