10 ways to naturally lower cholesterol
Cholesterol has many important functions, like keeping the walls of your cells flexible and creating specific hormones for your body. Like fat, cholesterol does not dissolve in water and is instead transported within the body by lipoproteins.
Our bodies produces different kinds of lipoproteins for different functions. When the body has high levels of low-density lipoprotein (or LDL), cholesterol can develop deposits in the blood vessel walls, and result in clogged arteries, strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular and heart issues. In contrast, high-density lipoprotein (or HDL) helps carry cholesterol away from blood vessel walls and can help prevent cardiovascular diseases related to high cholesterol.
1. Consume more monounsaturated fats
Some studies have shown that low-fat diets for weight loss can reduce levels of harmful LDL, but may also reduce levels of the beneficial HDL. Diets that contain high monounsaturated fats have shown to reduce LDL and also protect HDL, as well.
Monounsaturated fats can be a healthy way to decrease harmful LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol.
A few great sources for monounsaturated fats:
- Olives & olive oil
- Canola oil
- Tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts)
2. Use Polyunsaturated fats (especially omega-3s)
In a study where saturated fats were replaced with polyunsaturated fats, by the end of an eight week period, total and LDL cholesterol levels were found to be reduced by 10%. In another study, it was shown that when dietary saturated fats were replaced by polyunsaturated fat, the risk of coronary artery disease dropped by nearly 20%.
Research has shown that polyunsaturated fats reduce LDL cholesterol and also decrease the risk of heart disease. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids are an especially heart-healthy type of polyunsaturated fat.
Some sources of omega-3 fats can be found in:
- Seafood (salmon, mackerel, herring, and deep sea tuna)
- Fish oil supplements
- Seeds and tree nuts
3. Avoid Trans Fats
Partially hydrogenated trans fats are handled differently in the body than other fats, and can increase total and LDL cholesterol, and decrease HDL by as much as 20%. Studies have shown that reducing trans fats can decrease the risk of heart disease.
In the United States, food companies are required to list the amount of trans fats in their products, but some labels can be misleading. To avoid the confusion of the amount of trans fats in a product, read the ingredients in addition to the nutrition label. If the product contains “partially hydrogenated” oil, it has trans fats and should be avoided.
4. Eat Soluble Fiber
Probiotics found in your intestines reduce harmful lipoproteins, and additionally need soluble fiber for their own nutrition. Several studies have shown that intaking soluble fiber through supplements or other food products can reduce LDL cholesterol by 4-18%.
Soluble fibers can can be found in:
- Peas and lentils
- Oats and whole grains
- Fiber Supplements
Exercise is an all-around health booster, improving physical fitness, helping combat obesity, and reducing LDL and increasing HDL cholesterol. Resistance exercise can decrease LDL even at a modest intensity, and at maximum effort can increase HDL.
6. Lose Weight
Your diet is one of the top influencers of how your body absorbs and produces cholesterol. Studies have shown that weight loss diets have correlated with an increase in the absorption of cholesterol from the diet and a decrease in creation of the new cholesterol in the body.
7. Stay away from cigarettes and smoking
It is no surprise that smoke increases the risk of heart disease in several ways. One of these, is by changing how the body handles cholesterol. Smoking appears to increase bad lipoproteins, and decrease HDL.
The immune cells in smokers are unable to return cholesterol from vessel walls to the blood for transport, and this damage is related to tobacco tar. The dysfunctional cells may contribute to the faster development of clogged arteries in smokers.
Giving up smoking can help reverse these harmful effects.
8. When drinking alcohol, do so in moderation
The ethanol in alcoholic drinks can increase HDL and reduce the risk of heart disease, when used in moderation. One study found that drinking alcohol from white wine daily improved HDL by 5% compared to drinking equal amounts of white grape juice.
Alcohol also improves the body’s ability to remove cholesterol from blood and vessel walls, reducing the risk of clogged arteries and heart disease.
While moderate alcohol intake reduces heart disease risk, too much can harm the liver and increases the risk of alcohol addiction. 1-2 drinks per day is the recommended limit for both men and women.
9. Take plant sterols and stanols
Plant stanols and sterols are plant versions of cholesterol and because they resemble cholesterol, they are absorbed from the diet just like it. However, because parts of their chemistry are different from human cholesterol, they do not contribute to clogged arteries.
One study found that consuming yogurt with plant stanols reduced LDL by 15% and in another study, they showed to decrease LDL by 20%.
Plant stanols and sterols are naturally found in:
- Vegetable oils
- Certain oils and butter substitutes
- Supplements to manage cholesterol
10. Try Supplements
Many natural supplements have strong evidence for improving cholesterol levels, including Lipomezin Cholesterol Support by Pure Care Pro.
Lipomezin Cholesterol Support Supplement’s proprietary blend of all-natural ingredients promotes heart health, cardiovascular health, and brain health. Studies have shown that Lipomezin can significantly lower LDL cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy balance of HDL and LDL cholesterol when used correctly.
Other supplements that have been found to improve cholesterol include:
- Fish oil
- Coenzyme Q10
Cholesterol has important functions in the body but can cause clogged arteries and heart disease when levels get out of control. Low-density lipoprotein contributes most to heart disease and cardiovascular issues while high-density lipoprotein helps protect the heart against disease by carrying cholesterol away from vessel walls.
If your cholesterol is out of balance, lifestyle changes are the first line of treatment. If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, have them checked by your doctor.information provided by healthline.com by article written by Matthew Thorpe, MD, PhD