natural ways to reduce cholesterol levels

Natural Ways to Lower Cholesterol Levels

Most people are afraid of cholesterol, but the truth is your body needs it to make several hormones. It also helps keep the walls of your cells flexible. But like everything else in life, too much cholesterol is harmful. Low density lipoprotein, or LDL can lead to clogged arteries, heart attacks and kidney failure. Therefore, let us list down natural ways to lower cholesterol levels.

Avoid Trans Fat Rich Foods

Trans fat is a kind of dietary fat that can damage your overall health and increase the risk of heart disease. Trans fat is made by changing unsaturated fats to make the fat in vegetable oil a bit more stable. This is done through something called hydrogenation. The fats you get from this process are not fully saturated, and are referred to as partially hydrogenated oils. These fats can be solid at room temperature, and work well with spread and pastries. It also increases the shelf life of these products. But, what is good on the shelf is not necessarily good for your body. Eating trans fats through fast food and other products increases LDL cholesterol. At the same time, they also decrease HDL, which is your good cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is dangerous because it can stick to arteries, collect in the vessel lining and block blood flow. HDL cholesterol is good because it takes cholesterol away from the body and returns it to the liver. You may not even know that the foods you eat regularly have trans fats. You should check the labels of the food you eat to see if they have trans fat.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

When you are obese, there is a greater chance of high cholesterol in your body. For every 10 pounds of extra fat on your body, around 10 milligrams of cholesterol is produced each day. But, there is a way to reduce these cholesterol levels. Research suggests that those who reduce their weight by 5 to 10% can bring their LDL cholesterol levels down significantly. It also brings down triglycerides, reducing your risk of stroke or heart attack.

Exercise Regularly

Exercising regularly is one of the effective, natural ways to lower cholesterol levels. Exercise has many benefits, including improving physical fitness and reducing weight. It also helps bring down LDL levels and increase HDL cholesterol in your body. Experts suggest that around 150 minutes of exercise every week will be enough to reduce your cholesterol levels. Low intensity exercises such as walking can improve your HDL levels. But, doing more intense exercises for a longer period can be even better. If your exercise levels increase your heart activity to 85%, it maximizes the benefits of HDL and reduces LDL by a much larger margin.

Reduce Alcohol Intake

Watch your alcohol intake if you want to keep your cholesterol levels under control. When you drink higher amounts of alcohol, it increases your LDL and triglyceride levels. Research suggest that high alcohol consumption will damage your heart long before you start seeing symptoms. If you need to drink alcohol, it is recommended that men restrict themselves to just two drinks in a day. For women, they should only have one. These limitations should be for special occasions. This way, you do not go overboard and hurt your cholesterol levels.

Stop Smoking

You need to stop smoking immediately as it is one of the most important natural ways to lower cholesterol levels. When you smoke cigarettes, the tobacco changes the way your body processes cholesterol. The immune cells in your body will not be able to get the cholesterol in your blood to take it back to the liver, leaving them on the vessel walls. The more this happens, the faster you end up with clogged arteries. Another problem with cigarettes is a chemical called acrolein which is toxic. This chemical gets into your bloodstream from your lungs. Experts suggest acrolein weakens the process where HDL is transported through your body, increasing LDL and causing heart related diseases.

Low Cholesterol Diet

Your diet plays a vital role in improving your good cholesterol levels, and reducing LDL. Instead of focusing on one or two foods to help moderate your cholesterol, you should nave a wide variety. This will increase the benefits. A mostly vegetarian diet can help reduce your LDL and triglyceride levels. It can also bring down your blood pressure. Make sure to eat lots of fruits and vegetables daily. Go for whole grains instead of the highly refined types. There is a wide variety of foods you can choose from to increase soluble fiber in your diet. Oats, okra, barley and eggplants are all packed with soluble fiber. Soy protein, walnut and almonds are other good choices. It may be easier to pop a pill to reduce LDL levels. But focusing more on your diet is one of the best natural ways to lower cholesterol levels and also have long term benefits.

Eat plenty of Fiber

Fill up on fiber if you want to see your cholesterol levels drop. Eating high fiber foods like oatmeal, apples and prunes can keep your body from absorbing cholesterol. Focus on eating soluble fiber. The beneficial bacteria living in your gut can digest it. Experts believe these good bacteria, also known as probiotics can lower your bad cholesterol levels significantly. Some of the good sources of fiber are beans, lentils, flaxseed and peas.

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