10 Natural Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol Levels – Cholesterol starts being useful in your body from the moment you are born. This is because cholesterol is essential for the proper functioning of your cells and hormones.
Cholesterol also assists the liver to process fats by enabling it to create acids. Infants receive cholesterol from their mothers via breast milk. As adults we receive cholesterol through our foods.
The problem starts creeping in when your cholesterol levels start rising. This is when your body starts developing health concerns that are associated with high amounts of cholesterol in the body.
The body is made up of two types of cholesterol, Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) also referred to as bad cholesterol and the High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL) commonly known as good cholesterol.
Cholesterol is not soluble in water and so the accumulation of cholesterol in the body specifically LDL poses a threat to your health.
This is because it has the ability to block your blood vessels, which could lead to a number of health conditions such as kidney failure, stroke and heart disease.
Studies indicate that about 74 million Adults in the USA suffer from high cholesterol levels and less than half of those individuals seek medical attention.
Did you know that your diet affects your cholesterol levels?
Over the years, there has been a vivid relationship between nutrition and cholesterol. Research suggests that the foods you consumes can be directly linked to increasing levels of cholesterol within your body.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that your diet has a big influence on cholesterol. To understand this better you need to know the functioning of the body in relation to cholesterol.
The liver is known to be the main regulator of cholesterol in the body. It produces cholesterol needed by the body and packs it with fats in Very Low-Density Lipoproteins (VLDL).
The function of the VLDL is to make sure fats are transported in the bloodstream to the places it is needed most. As it distributes fats, it changes to dense LDL which transports cholesterol.
The liver also produces the HDL whose main purpose is to perform what is known as reverse cholesterol transport. As the name suggests, this means carrying cholesterol that has not been used back to the liver for processing.
This is how the two lipoproteins end up being named bad and good. The bad one (LDL) deposits cholesterol in blood vessels while the good one (HDL) collects the deposited cholesterol and brings it back to the liver.
The liver also gauges the amount of cholesterol consumed and determines the numbers to produce. This means that if you consume too much cholesterol, the liver will produce less.
And if you consume less cholesterol, the liver will produce more to fill up to the required amounts.
Not every food with high Cholesterol will raise a persons levels!!
There are some specific foods that are more harmful than others. There are other factors such as genetics, smoking and sedentary lifestyle that are known to be among some of the reasons why people have high level of cholesterol in the body.
According to research, 75% of people suffering from cholesterol-related conditions are because of genetics and only 25% is dietary. A normal functioning body has the ability to get rid of the excess cholesterol you consume.
However, there are some cases where people who suffer from a genetic condition called Familial hyperchdesterdemia (FH) lack the ability to get rid of the excess cholesterol.
How are cholesterol levels are measured?
Cholesterol levels are measured through a blood test referred to as the lipoprotein panel. Before going for the test, you will be advised by your doctor not to consume any food or rather fast for the next 9 to 12 hours.
This is so that they can get the most accurate result. The lipoprotein panel will show your total cholesterol which is determined by the number of Low-Density Lipoproteins and High-Density Lipoproteins in the body.
Other information that will be derived from the panels are your non-HDL as well as Triglycerides level which are prevalent in women. How often you should take the cholesterol test is dependent on a number of factors.
These include the risk factors, your age and your family history.
10 Natural ways to lower your cholesterol levels
Once you discover that your cholesterol levels are high, you need to act fast before it leads to other health concerns. Some people go to their doctors for advice.
Some will even get a trainer who will advise them on how to safely lower their cholesterol. The good news is that you can go through the journey all alone and still achieve the best results.
But first, you will need to understand that you are doing it for your health. You should also know that your lifestyle is about to change drastically.
Once you prepare yourself mentally, you can now go ahead and start reducing the amount of cholesterol in your body.
There are so many methods that you can use to lower your cholesterol levels, but it is often a good idea to go do it naturally.
This implies doing it without the use of harmful chemicals or compounds, or other elements that might be hazardous to your body. All you have to do is switch your lifestyle!
So far some of the top ten natural ways to lower your cholesterol levels include.
10 Natural Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol Levels
1.Stay away from trans fats.
This will be a very hard step if you are the type of person who can’t go a day without eating from confectioneries. This is because trans fats can be found in several types of junk food, fast food and processed foods; this includes frozen pizzas, cookies, cakes, pie crusts and margarine among many others.
Reducing and eliminating trans fats from your diet is an easy way of lowering your cholesterol and by eliminating some of the above food from your diet will help significantly.
The food noted above are known to increase the levels of your LDL while reducing the levels of HDL in the body. Due to these health risks, the FDA has started taking the necessary steps involved in eradicating this type of fat in the market.
There are two types of trans fats, the naturally occurring ones and artificial ones, naturally occurring trans fats are produced in the gut of some animals, while artificial trans fats are produced in factories by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils in order to solidify it.
To confuse the consumers, the companies that produce foods with trans fats change the name on the label to partially hydrogenated oils’ ( it is just a fancy name used to refer to trans fats).
The human body handles trans fats different than it handles the other fats and this is why they cause a significant decrease in a persons number of HDL in the body.
Further research indicates that a lot of people die yearly due to consuming products that contain trans fat, you might be wondering why companies are still using partially hydrogenated oils despite their negative effects on human health.
This is because trans fats are easy to use, their production cost is relatively lower, they last quite a long time, and they are known to give food the desirable taste and texture.
For you to differentiate products that have trans fats from those that lack, check on the ingredient label. Every company is required to indicate the ingredients they have used in the production of the commodity.
If you see the name partially hydrogenated oils, this means that the product contains trans fats. It is best to avoid foods that contain theses ingredients, because this will be your first positive step towards lowering your cholesterol levels.
2.Go for fiber.
Foods that are rich in soluble fiber will play a very important role in helping you reduce the cholesterol levels in your body. You should always remember that higher amounts of fiber equals less cholesterol.
But focus more on the soluble types since there are other fibers that are not soluble. When soluble fibers are consumed they form gel-like textures on your small intestines.
Here the tiny bacteria called probiotics assists in the digestion and use the soluble fiber for their own benefit. The soluble fiber also binds with the bile acids produced by the liver.
This leads to the secretion of fiber with the acid, this ensures that LDL from the blood is used to digest fats. This action minimizes the amount of the bad Low-density Lipoproteins and hence reduces the amount of cholesterol in the body.
Research indicates that no matter how small the amount of soluble fiber consumed, it will go a long way in lowering the level of cholesterol in your body. According to studies 25 grams of soluble fiber can reduce the amount of LDL by 18%.
This is quite a big margin considering that it is a small amount consumed. There are quite a number of supplements available that contain soluble fibers, but it is always good to stick with natural foods.
This is because these foods contains even more nutrients than the supplements and they can also go a long way in ensuring that your health is well taken care of.
Some of the foods that are known to contain soluble fibers include.
Fruits such as bananas and berries which contain soluble fibers although in different quantities. The most common soluble fibers in fruits include pectin and certain varieties of hemicelluloses.
Vegetables and mushrooms are also incredible sources of soluble fibers. You should, however, make sure that you don’t add dressings, spreads and fattening dips to your vegetables when consuming them, this will increase the cholesterol that you are busy trying to lower thus nullifying your efforts.
Legumes such as lentils, peas and beans among others contain these fibers. You should also consider eating nuts and seeds as well as whole grain such as oatmeal, millet, barley, amaranth and Guinea.
3. Keep your weight in check.
Losing weight impacts different aspects of your life positively and among these aspects is the amount of calories. It has been known that losing weight increases the amount of cholesterol absorbed by your body.
Different age groups and gender react differently to weight loss in relation to their cholesterol levels. Studies indicate an adult man who has undergone weight loss will be able to increase his levels of HDL while maintaining the level of LDL and this will impact health tremendously.
You should know that even the smallest amount of weight loss can play a very big role in impacting your cholesterol levels, Doctors have established that losing as little as 10% of your weight is enough to cause a shift in the levels of cholesterol and triglyceride in your body.
They have also noted that where you hold your weight affects your health condition.
If you carry additional weight around your middle, then you are at risk of experiencing a number of health conditions such as liver disease, diabetes and heart diseases among many others.
You will however not have these conditions is you carry weight throughout your body or on your thighs and hips.
Losing weight can be quite a hard task, but through dedication and consistency you will end up getting healthier at the end of the day.
You are often asked to watch your food portions, your diet, and if need be, you can enroll for a fitness program where you will be taken through the weight loss process swiftly. Any amount of weight you lose will pull you a step further from the health dangers that come with cholesterol.
4. Quit smoking.
The number of smokers across the globe is enormously high. Most of these people have no idea of the risks they are underestimating how fatal the habit can be.
If you are a smoker and you are having high cholesterol threatening your life, then you should consider quitting smoking. This is regardless of whether you are a long term smoker or you just picked up the habit recently.
Research indicates that smoking hinders the immune cells from carrying the cholesterol from the blood vessels back to the heart. This means that there will be a very low amount of HDL in your system and you will be risking high levels.
You will find that your blood vessels can easily get clogged with cholesterol deposits, this can end up causing heart attack and other heart diseases. It has been noted that this effect is caused by tar which is among one of the most harmful substances in cigarettes.
The good news is that the conditions are salvageable, all you have to do is drop the habit, your system will heal itself and start taking the necessary steps of restoring the process of taking cholesterol from the bloodstream back to the liver for processing.
This will also increase the levels of HDL which is very significant in ensuring that your cholesterol levels remain low. You should, however, be cautious when quitting smoking, many people replace the habit with eating and if this is not put into consideration you might end up gaining too much weight.
So be gentle and cautious on the amount of food you eat and if you feel like you can’t keep yourself from eating than consider taking in only healthy foods and not those that will raise your cholesterol levels.
It is often a tight spot, but once you have it under control, you will enjoy all the benefits of living smoke-free.
5. Be Active
Normally exercises should be done whether you are trying to lower your cholesterol levels or not. This is because doing exercise has been linked to a number of health benefits as well as physical benefits. It is one of the best ways to keep your body in shape.
So how does exercising impact your cholesterol levels positively?
Studies have shown that doing exercise a couple of times in a week can help raise your HDL levels. With your HDL levels up, the levels of cholesterol in your blood vessels will decrease greatly.
This is because there will be enough HDL to transport the cholesterol back to the liver. You should note that you don’t have to get involved in rigorous exercises to achieve all these, you just have to do what you can, a couple of days a week.
Research noted that women who were involved in aerobic exercises for a number of days in a week ended up with reduced levels of LDL. It was also recorded that women who got involved in a low-intensity exercise, this includes taking a timed walk, or a short run increased their heart rates significantly.
Once you start exercising, you will notice that you are not just be taking care of your cholesterol levels but your fitness as well. You will feel your whole body make a great transformation which will be a plus on your part.
You should dedicate a few days a week for exercising. For those who can handle much more exercise than just aerobics, you can go ahead and do more. It will play a much bigger role in increasing your heart rate and reducing your chances of contracting numerous heath conditions that come with cholesterol.
6. Gauge the amount of alcohol you consume.
You should know that your alcohol drinking habits matter a lot when it comes to regulating the levels of cholesterol in your body.
Unlike smoking, drinking a certain amount of alcohol can actually be very beneficial in keeping your cholesterol levels in check.
Studies indicate that women who consume the utmost of 24 grams of alcohol from white wine a day boosted their HDL levels. HDL is known to be very important in initiating the process of transporting unused cholesterol back to the liver for processing.
This is one of the major processes that help in preventing your blood vessels from clogging and thus causing heart attacks and other health problems.
However, when alcohol is abused, it may lead to harmful conditions. Those people who have more than enough alcohol tend to destroy nearly every organ in their bodies including their livers.
When you drink too much alcohol, you increase the number of triglycerides in your body and you will end up hardening the walls of your arteries a condition that can be fatal.
You should also stop being idle as this is known to affect a number of alcohol consumers. And if you must drink alcohol, check your limit. A man is only allowed to drink a beer or two in a day while a woman is only allowed to take a single bottle in a day.
Such amounts are just enough to ensure that you don’t miss out on the fun of enjoying alcohol and still keep your levels of cholesterol low.
7. Your diet should have polyunsaturated fats
Polyunsaturated fats are known to be among the list of healthy fats, that includes monounsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats are not only known to add value to your diet but also play a vary big role in ensuring that your cholesterol levels are low.
This is because polyunsaturated fats decrease the LDL which are bad Lipoproteins and increase the levels of HDL in your body which are good Lipoproteins.
This means that there will be very low amounts of cholesterol in the blood vessels and the rate of reverse cholesterol transport will be increased rapidly.
Unlike Trans fats, polyunsaturated fats have a number of health benefits that makes them very essential. The main sources of polyunsaturated fats include foods that have both omega 3 and omega 6.
Having foods rich in omega 3 and omega 6 as part of your diet will not only increase your proteins but will keep your cholesterol levels low.
Some of these foods include soya beans, sunflower, fish, linseed and chia seeds, tahini, pine nuts and Brazil nuts. Omega 3 fats will help reduce heart diseases by preventing blood clots in the body.
They lower triglycerides, they reduce blood pressure and improve blood vessels function. Omega 6 on the other hand will enable you to lower your LDL and increase your HDL.
The heart foundation recommends you to take a total of 250mg to 500mg of Omega 3 per day in your diet. This will play a big role in ensuring your cholesterol levels remain low throughout. It will also keep you safe from numerous heart diseases.
8. Take supplements.
Supplements are known to be the best alternative if you want to reduce your cholesteral levels and neither diet nor exercise is working.
This is often considered as the easy way out, supplements are designed to achieve the specific results via a certain formula induced in pills and capsules. There are quite a number of supplements that can give you effective results without any problems whatsoever.
All you have to do is ensure you observe your dosage to completion.
Some of these supplements include.
Niacin. Niacin is a supplement that contains vitamin B and is required to be taken in heavy doses like 1 mg to 3 mg daily.
You need to observe the dosage carefully until completion. What the drug does is that it lowers LDL and increases the levels of HDL significantly. This drug also reduces triglycerides. This supplement is given over the counter.
Red Yeast rice extract.
This supplement is mostly found in Asia and its capabilities to reduce the levels of cholesterol is impressive. What this supplement does is that it reduces the production of cholesterol in the liver. Its main compound is Monacolin K which is very important in the process of lowering your cholesterol.
Coenzyme Q10 is a very notable chemical found in foods and produces energy for cells. This enzyme is naturally produced by the body but having the supplement to boost its presence in the body makes it reduce the amount of cholesterol in the body without changing the levels of LDL and HDL.
It is thus a very effective method of ensuring you keep your cholesterol levels in check. The above supplements are just a few of the many supplements in the market. Their sole purpose is to control the levels of cholesterol in the body.
Some raise the levels of HDL, some lower the levels of LDL while others boost the production of cholesterol by the liver.
Despite the different methods and techniques they use, supplements are known to be very effective, and they often produce notable results within a very short period of time. You are however recommended to consult the doctor before going for any supplements.
9. Make use of Sterols or Stands.
Sterols and stands have been found to be very effective when it comes to reducing the amount of cholesterol the body absorbs from food.
This is because these plants are structured like cholesterol and when they are consumed, the body treats them as cholesterol. This tends to reduce the actual amounts of cholesterol the body absorbs from food.
What makes them even more effective is that they compete with human cholesterol and thus prevents the production of more cholesterol from the bile. With their effective disguise, they end up reducing the amounts of cholesterol in the body.
The FDA approves Sterols and Stands as one of the best ways to curb cholesterol. Research has been done on the plants, and the results have been very impressive.
Use of Sterols and Stands is thus just the best way to reduce the amounts of cholesterol in the body while keeping the levels of LDL and HDL constant.
10. Drink more Green Tea.
Green Tea has been attributed to a number of health benefits including treating anxiety and depression.
Among the many capabilities and benefits that you can get from green tea, it can lower the levels of cholesterol effectively in the body.
Green tea is known to be rich in antioxidants and catechins which are very vital in the body. Green tea reduces the levels of cholesterol and LDL in your system.
This means that there will be no cholesterol in the blood vessels which can end up causing high blood pressure and a number of heart diseases.
Final thoughts. High cholesterol is a very fatal condition if left untreated it can lead to a number of health conditions that can end up shortening your life span.
It is thus best if you combat it as soon as it is detected. We are also advised to taking cholesterol tests so that you may be fully aware of what is happening with your body and the steps to take.
The above list contains natural solutions that can help you deal with your cholesterol levels. Consider each of the solutions and ensure that you always exercise for the sake of your health.
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