Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that exists every cell in your body. The liver produces cholesterol and it has many bodily functions.
However, the problem starts when this type of fat (cholesterol) is too much in your arteries.
Even though high levels of cholesterol accumulation in the blood vessels doesn’t cause any symptoms, it can significantly increase the risk of heart disease and stroke by blocking the blood vessels, according to the British Heart Foundation.
Unhealthy lifestyle, your genetics, certain medical conditions (such as obesity, diabetes) or your age may have increased your bad cholesterol (LDL).
Since high cholesterol level can cause serious health conditions such as heart attack or stroke, you need to lower your high cholesterol.
There are certain medications to lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood vessels. But, in the meantime, it is also possible to lower cholesterol levels with certain lifestyle changes, according to experts.
In this article, we have compiled 8 natural ways that can lower your (bad) cholesterol. Keep reading to find out these effective methods.
1- Eliminate Trans Fats
Since foods play a huge role in determining the cholesterol level in the blood, talking about them in detail is a necessity.
If your goal is to reduce bad cholesterol in your blood, then you need to eliminate or minimise trans fat consumption. Because according to the American Heart Association: trans fat consumption is one of the chief causes of a high level of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood.
As we mentioned above, too much bad cholesterol accumulation in the arteries sets the stage for heart disease and stroke. Therefore, removing the foods that contain trans fats from your diet list will make a difference for your health.
The problem is that trans fats used in several foods, thereby, it isn’t too easy to avoid them.
According to WebMD, the best way to avoid foods that contain trans fats is to check the label and see if written ” partially hydrogenated oil” that means trans fats.
Baked goods, shortening, frozen pizza, fried foods such as chicken or french fries, stick margarine and microwave popcorn are only a few examples of the foods, containing trans fats.
2- Reduce Saturated Fats Intake
It is important to know that, saturated fats that are mainly found in the animal source of foods such as full-fat dairy products, red meat and poultry, may increase your bad cholesterol and pave the way for stroke and heart disease as a result.
However, rather than completely omitting saturated fats from your life, reducing their intake is the best option. According to Cleveland Clinic: adults should limit their daily saturated fats intake with 10% of their total calories.
Decreasing saturated fats consumption will help you lower your cholesterol. In this way, you can avoid high-cholesterol related health problems.
Based on the list taken from American Health Association; fatty beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, beef fat( tallow), larn and cream, butter, cheese and other dairy products, palm oil and coconut oil are foods with saturated fat.
3- Eat more Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats
These names may perplex you, but providing the name of the foods that are rich in Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats will simplify your job.
Experts recommend individuals consume more Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats to protect their heart health by lowering cholesterol levels.
According to MedlinePlus: The following are a good source of Polyunsaturated fats ..
- Sunflower seeds
- Flax seeds or flax oil
- Fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, albacore tuna, and trout
- Corn oil
- Soybean oil
- Safflower oil
Once Again According to MedlinePlus; the following are a good source of Monounsaturated fats
- Canola oil
- Olive oil
- Safflower oil (high oleic)
- Sunflower oil
- Peanut oil and butter
- Sesame oil
4- Eat Soluable Fiber
You can hit two birds with one stone if you eat soluble fibre more often. That is because, foods that contain soluble fibre improve your digestion and also reduce your LDL – bad cholesterol – levels by lowering the absorption of cholesterol into your blood stream, according to MayoClinic.
Nevertheless, doctors warn individuals over too much soluble fibre consumption. Because, eating too much soluble fibre at one time can cause digestive problems such as bloating, constipation, stomach pain and so on. Therefore, increase your intake slowly to avoid the problems in question.
According to WebMD: dried beans, oats, oat bran, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, apples, strawberries, peas, and potatoes are rich in soluble fibre.
5- Exercise Regularly
Doing physical exercise and being active can contribute to your life in many ways. It is not only improves your physical appearance but also provide many health benefits from protecting heart to lower cholesterol and blood sugar.
According to doctors, exercise is an effective way to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol in the blood vessels.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommend individuals doing exercise 150-300 minutes moderate-intensity of exercise a week.
It is sensible to choose an exercise you enjoy doing such as bicycling, running, walking or swimming.
However, before starting an exercise routine you should to consult your doctor about your exercise plan, especially if you have already a cardiovascular problem.
6- Lose Weight
As the beginning of the article, we said that being overweight is a risk factor for high cholesterol. In this regard, it is safe to say that losing pound can help you lower your LDL level.
Losing weight not only decrease your cholesterol level but also reduces the risk of cancer, diabetes and blood pressure, if you are overweight.
According to HeartUk: Losing only 10% of your body weight will help you lower your cholesterol. Plus, losing weight will enable you to do different form of exercises.
7- Quit smoking
You are already aware of the fact that smoking negatively affects your health in many ways. Related to our topic, smoking is also a risk factor for high cholesterol level, according to experts.
Smoking or being exposed to secondhand tobacco for a long time damages your arteries and blood vessels, and this cause cholesterol to build up in the arteries.
The good news is you can reverse the situation by quitting. A study suggests the positive effect of quitting on cholesterol levels.
8- Reduce Stress
No one wants to be stressed out. However, there are too many factors that lead us feeling stressed in this modern world. Therefore, knowing how to manage and reduce stress can make a big difference in our lives.
If you suffer from high cholesterol, you have one more reason to manage your stress.
Even though there is a correlation between stress and cholesterol, scientists don’t know how exactly stress increases LDL . It is thought that under-stress the liver is triggered to produce more cholesterol.
But what’s certain is stress can increase your cholesterol level indirectly by making you susceptible to eat more or having bad habits like cigarettes and alcohol.
For these reasons, knowing the ways to manage your stress can make a big difference in lowering your cholesterol level.
Tarkan is an experienced health writer ( currently more than 600 articles ) and also the founder of this website namely www.neededforhealth.com. His expertise in health stems from in-depth medical research and knowledge which he obtained over the course of many years.
Tarkan enjoys sharing factual knowledge on health, psychology and nutrition. He always aims to deliver evidence-based recommendations, provide links to related scientific studies.