Why Lowering Cholesterol is Important
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is produced naturally in our body to help build healthy cells. However, high levels of cholesterol can lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and artery damage. Therefore, it is important to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in our body. While medication is one way to lower cholesterol levels, there are also natural remedies that can be employed to manage cholesterol levels.
Eat More Fiber-Rich Foods
Eating foods that are high in fiber is one of the best ways to lower cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in foods such as oats, apples, beans, and barley can help reduce the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. This can lead to lower levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the body. According to studies conducted by the National Cholesterol Education Program, increasing your daily intake of dietary fiber by 5 to 10 grams can lower LDL cholesterol by about 5%.
Add More Omega-3 Fatty Acids to Your Diet
Omega-3 fatty acids found in foods such as fatty fish, flaxseed, and walnuts are known to lower triglycerides and increase HDL or “good” cholesterol levels. Eating at least two servings of fatty fish per week can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. If you are not a fan of fish, consider taking omega-3 supplements after consulting with your doctor.
Make Use of Garlic
Garlic has been found to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. A compound called allicin found in garlic is responsible for its cholesterol-lowering properties. Adding fresh garlic to your meals or taking garlic supplements can help lower LDL cholesterol levels by up to 10%. However, if you are taking blood-thinning medication, consult with your doctor before using garlic as a remedy.
Enjoy Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a rich source of heart-healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Regular consumption of almonds, peanuts, walnuts, and sunflower seeds has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels. The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in these foods can also help reduce inflammation in the body and improve overall heart health. However, try to limit your intake to a handful of nuts per day as they are high in calories.
Try Olive Oil
Olive oil is a staple in the Mediterranean diet, which is known to be one of the healthiest diets in the world. This is because olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats, which can help lower LDL cholesterol levels. Substituting butter, margarine, or vegetable oil with olive oil can help reduce the risk of heart disease. However, use it in moderation as it is high in calories.
Make Time for Exercise
Regular physical activity is not only good for weight management but also for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Exercise can help increase HDL cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise such as brisk walking or cycling, five days a week. You can also try incorporating resistance training into your routine to build muscle mass and improve overall heart health.
Other Ways to Lower Cholesterol Naturally
Apart from the above remedies, there are other lifestyle changes that you can make to lower cholesterol levels. These include quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight, and managing stress levels. Smoking and excessive drinking can increase the risk of heart disease while being overweight or obese can lead to high levels of LDL cholesterol. Stress can also contribute to high cholesterol levels by increasing cortisol levels in the body.
Lowering cholesterol levels naturally may take time and effort, but the results are worth it. By making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and improve your overall health. However, if your cholesterol levels are already high, it is important to consult with your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet or exercise routine.