20 Tips to Lower Cholesterol
If your doctor has prescribed medication to lower cholesterol levels I would like to urge you try to do so naturally. High cholesterol levels are caused by inappropriate dietary and lifestyle factors and the flip side of that coin is that it may be possible to lower your levels by changing the way you eat and your level of physical activity.
LDL cholesterol levels should be below 160 mg/dL. Let’s take a look at 20 great ways to get yours in range:
1. Eating Red Yeast Rice
Red yeast rice has gained tremendous support as a cholesterol fighter. The rice seems to function similarly to a low dose statin. The active ingredient Monacolin K contains lovastatin and has caused some controversy with the FDA forcing the temporary removal of this food from supermarket shelves so that it may be more effectively regulated for our safety.
2. Omega 3
Highly recommended to reduce cholesterol, these fatty acids can be found in oily fish like tuna, mackerel and salmon. The American Heart Association recommends eating them at least twice a week. A good source of quality Omega 3 can be purchased at VitaBase. (plus you can’t beat their potency and price).
3. Monounsaturated Fats
I also recommend the use of oils like avocado, peanut, sunflower sesame and canola in cooking and salad dressings as these fats actually help treat cholesterol levels.
4. Hibiscus Flowers
The Shan Medical University’s Institute of Biochemistry in Taiwan have determined that hibiscus flower extract can lower levels of LDL cholesterol. It would appear that this is the result of the high antioxidant levels found in the flowers.
5. Cocoa Extract
Researchers have found that cocoa can help raise levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. It is thought that dark chocolate may help treat cholesterol levels in this way, but avoid chocolate which has a high fat and sugar content.
6. Avoid Fried and Processed Foods
Lipoprotein A is closely linked to cholesterol. It occurs in the body as a result of free radical damage and ultimately forms arteriosclerotic plaques. It is found in large amounts in fried and processed foods and these are best limited or completely avoided if you are trying to reduce cholesterol.
7. Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Niacin has the wonderful ability to both raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol in the body. It can lower cholesterol levels by about 10%, raise HDL cholesterol by 15%-30% and lower triglycerides by 25%. It also lowers Lipoprotein A levels. I definitely recommend niacin supplementation if you have high cholesterol.
8. Increasing Soluble Fiber
Fiber reduces LDL cholesterol by decreasing its absorption in the intestine. Fiber binds cholesterol and assists with its elimination from the body. Try Acacia fiber, flaxseed and carob as good natural fiber to help lower cholesterol levels.
9. Plant Sterols and Stanols
These are naturally occurring substances found in plants. They are also added to salad dressings, margarines and orange juice. These compounds can lower LDL cholesterol and enhance the effect of the prescription medications used to treat it.
10. Artichoke Leaf
The food our mothers always told us to eat turns out to be pretty excellent at lowering cholesterol levels too. Artichokes contain cynarin which increases bile production in the liver and helps the gallbladder excrete it more quickly. This helps decrease LDL cholesterol by increasing its excretion.
11. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is important in managing cholesterol. Ensure that your body mass index is within range.
12. Avoid Saturated and Trans Fats
Meat and dairy products contain saturated fats, and while these can be included in the diet they should be limited, if you want to moderate their effects on cholesterol. Try skim milk and limit meat to a few times a week to lower cholesterol.
Always good advice, increasing your level of exercise also helps lower LDL cholesterol levels. Aerobic exercise can help lower cholesterol by 5%-10%.
14. Stop Smoking
If there aren’t already enough reasons to quit the habit, your cholesterol will also improve. Oxidised LDL levels increase when we smoke. Smoking is so damaging to the health it should never even be considered as a lifestyle option.
15. Moderate Consumption of Alcohol
Moderate alcohol consumption can actually raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels significantly and lower LDL by 4%-8%. This does not mean drinking excessively is good for the heart. Consuming more than three drinks a day actually increases your risk of heart disease so moderation is key to obtaining this cholesterol benefit.
16. Increase Complex Carbohydrates
Eating more complex carbohydrates can help lower cholesterol. 50 to 60% of our daily food choices should be complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
17. Choose Healthy Snacks
Eat nuts, seeds and dried fruits at snack time. Healthy unsaturated fats are contained in these foods. Learn to create delicious healthy snacks like wheat crackers with heart healthy guacamole, for example.
18. Manage Stress Levels
When high stress levels combine with high cholesterol it could lead to a heart attack. Adrenalin and cortisol are increased when the body is stressed and these hormones increase our cholesterol levels. Learn to manage your stress with yoga, biofeedback, or therapy.
19. Reduce Salt Intake
High sodium diets aggravate cholesterol levels. Avoid using too much salt in your cooking and watch out for hidden salt in sauces, packaged foods and fast foods.
20. Treat Menopausal Hormonal Imbalances
Women have naturally lower levels of cholesterol due to the impact of hormones. During menopause these hormones drop and cholesterol levels may rise. If hormone replacement therapy is required and appropriate, make use of it to help keep your cholesterol levels in check.
Reduce Cholesterol Levels
There are several natural cholesterol lowering products on the market to choose from. All of these products promise fantastic results in normalizing you LDL and HDL levels. The one I found that works the best is “CholesLo”. From my experience, it helps about 85% of the people who use it. I started using it about three year ago and has lowered my LDL to 120.
For more information on lowering cholesterol levels, read:
“Tips To Lower Your Cholesterol Without Drugs”
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