A lot of people have diets that contain way too much cholesterol. This can lead to a number of really nasty illnesses. Thankfully, there are natural ways that you can lower your cholesterol levels.
It should be mentioned that cholesterol is needed by our bodies and it isn’t quite proper to say that we need to lower all cholesterol. There are two kinds of cholesterol and without spending a lot of time explaining what they are and how they differ, HDL cholesterol is good and LDL cholesterol is bad. The goal is to raise your HDL level and lower your LDL level.
Get away from trans fats
Trans fats are full of LDL and they lower HDL, the opposite of what you want in a healthy diet. The problem is that trans fats are still very widely used, especially in prepared foods. If the ingredients on a package say that the product contains partially hydrogenated oil, it contains high amounts of trans fats.
It goes beyond this, though. Sometimes the only way to get away from trans fats is to find a suitable substitute. This, too, can be done. For example, margarine is typically high in trans fats. Real butter is much lower. Thus, eat butter instead of margarine, but only sparingly.
Likewise, use olive oil rather than vegetable or corn oil. Olive oil has actually been shown to increase HDL and lower LDL, though it contains both. Even Canola oil is lower in trans fats than vegetable and corn oil. In fact, in one study, people who ate extra virgin olive oil instead of other oils dropped their LDL by 15 percent. There is a reason that this oil is listed first, before canola oil.
Increase your soluble fiber intake
Soluble fiber is fiber that can be dissolved. If you increase the amount that you consume, this fiber slows the absorption of cholesterol, which drops LDL levels. There are many foods that are high in soluble fiber, too.
These include apples, bananas, plums, dried beans, pears, peas, grains, cherries, peaches, cantaloupes, grapes, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, carrots, brussels sprouts, spinach, chard, cabbage, sweet potato (preferably baked), broccoli, zucchini, nuts, and kale. You might notice that these all contain vitamins and minerals that promote health, too.
Increase your use of herbs
Many herbs lower LDL cholesterol. Eating a clove of raw garlic each day can lower your LDL by nearly 10 percent! All of the allium vegetables are useful in this way; garlic, onions, leek, chives. Cinnamon, black pepper, ginger, and coriander all lower LDL levels. In fact, most herbs are useful.
Other healthy additions to the diet
Alfalfa sprouts in your diet can help with cholesterol by blocking absorption. Eating globe artichokes can also lower cholesterol. Ginseng can help lower LDL levels, as can green tea.
Tea made from Oregon grape roots can tremendously drop cholesterol if it is consumed daily for two to three months. (Some people have had a drop in LDL of nearly 30 percent by using Oregon grape roots, in different studies.)
At the same time, increasing the intake of plants with high levels of vitamin C, E, and niacin has been shown to drop cholesterol levels. The vitamins can also reverse some of the damage done by having high cholesterol, too. The minerals to consume more of include calcium and magnesium. These should all be in the foods you eat rather than in vitamin supplements, if at all possible.
Eat more fish
Historically, the Japanese people had the lowest LDL to HDL cholesterol levels in the world because a major part of their diet was fish. Only when the amount of fish consumed decreased in comparison to other foods did their LDL levels increase. Today, with the popularity of fast foods in Japan, the Japanese have a problem with high cholesterol.
There is a lesson in this; eat more fish. Eating fish three or four times a week can help lower your levels of LDL. Just avoid trans fats when you are cooking the fish.
Relax and live longer
It is rather absurd on the face of it when doctors tell us to avoid stress. However, believe it or not, people with lots of stress almost always have higher levels of LDL in their blood. In fact, people who laugh a lot usually have the least. What this boils down to is that if you want to lower your cholesterol, relax more often and laugh whenever you can. It is rather amazing that behavior can affect your cholesterol levels so much, but it can.
As an aside, if you have your cholesterol checked when you are stressed out, it is a safe bet that it is going to register quite a bit higher than it would if you were relaxed at the time.
Get out more
Yes, the reference is to exercise. Exercising daily lowers cholesterol while also helping with weight. Most people who are prone to high cholesterol are also overweight. Losing even 10 pounds can have a significant impact on lowering your cholesterol levels.
This means that you benefit twice by exercising more. Exercise lowers cholesterol directly and as you lose weight as well, it helps lower cholesterol in a different way.
If you want to lower your cholesterol, there are ways to do it without taking medications. It starts with diet, but it certainly doesn’t end there. These are just some of the things that can help.