10 Ways to Naturally Lower Your Cholesterol
As we grow and as we age, cholesterol is one pesky thing that we have to start watching out for. Over the years, this waxy, fatty substance can build up in our arteries which causes a blockage of blood flow and results in a plethora of negative effects.
High levels of cholesterol increase the risk of heart disease which is the leading cause of death in the US. Having high cholesterol can sometimes come without any early symptoms, so it is very important to ask your doctor to check your levels.
The good news about cholesterol is that there are tons of completely natural and simple ways to improve the flow in your arteries and regain your health. Here are ten things you can start doing today.
Eat more fiber. Oatmeal, oat bran, and other high fiber foods are all in the “soluble fiber” family. These soluble fibers reduce the amount of bad cholesterol (lipoproteins, or LDL’s), and improve the levels in your blood. Many breakfast foods contain fiber, and if you add fruit to your oats in the morning, you’ll be getting an extra healthy and extra big dose of fiber. Even changing your morning routine to include this little fiber-boost can do a lot to improve your cholesterol levels.
Include fish in your diet. Fish is a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids which promote blood health. These omega-3 fatty acids won’t reduce your LDL levels like fiber, but they reduce both blood pressure and one’s risk for blood clots. Fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines, and halibut are great sources of healthy, omega-3 fatty acids, and eating more of these fish will help you to lower your cholesterol.
Avocados are another great source for helpful fatty acids. Monounsaturated fatty acids are the healthful ingredient in avocados. These fatty acids help to lower LDL levels, and avocados are a great way to add a rich ingredient to your dish. By adding avocados to your menu, you could even skip out on those cholesterol-heavy ingredients. Avocados are a rich and hearty addition to your diet and will provide a lot of beneficial nutrients in addition to these monounsaturated fatty acids. Try eating a few a week!
For an extra dose of monounsaturated fatty acids, make sure to get a daily dose of olive oil. This simple hack will not only make your food taste great, but will help you to replace harmful oils and fats with a more healthful substance. Use olive oil to make your own delicious salad dressings by adding a little vinegar, salt, pepper, and lemon. You can also saute your vegetables and prepare your meats with olive oil, and by doing this, you can cut out the use of less healthy fat sources.
Liven up your meal and improve your overall health with garlic. By adding at least a half clove to your favorite recipe, you can reduce the absorption of LDL’s. It’s delicious and healthful, so make sure to keep it in stock in your kitchen!
Drink tea! By adding a little more tea to your routine, you’ll not only replace less healthful, sugary, and processed options, but you’ll also be fortifying your health with antioxidants AND reducing your LDL’s. Black tea is especially helpful in reining in your cholesterol. Morning is a great opportunity to drink a cup of tea and get a gentle caffeine lift while you enjoy the rewards of it also lowering your cholesterol. It’s as simple as heating up some water, so start today!
Nuts are also great to decrease your cholesterol level, especially walnuts and almonds. Since they are high in sterols, these nuts prevent cholesterol from being absorbed. Walnuts are rich in mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids which promote blood vessel health. Nuts make a great snack alone or in a medley of dried fruit. Grab a handful for a healthy snack, or top your salad off with a sprinkling of them.
Speaking of salads, spinach is a great way to add luteins to your diet. Luteins prevent the accumulation of cholesterol and also provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits to the arteries. Spinach also provides a bevy of healthy nutrients and vitamins, so you’re whole body will thank you for upping your intake. Make it a habit to have spinach at the ready in your kitchen and throw it into your sandwich, your eggs, and of course, into your salad bowl. Dress it all up with a few walnuts and your very own olive oil-based dressing, and you’ll be enjoying an anti-cholesterol meal in no-time.
Exercise. Finding the time to walk, run, swim, or even just get a healthy stretch going can help you to feel better and cut down on cholesterol. One of the many benefits of adding a little exercise into your day is this routine will help you either lose weight or will help you maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight causes a higher amount of LDL’s in your blood, and thus, increases your risk for high cholesterol. Exercise also increases the size of your protein particles which carry LDL’s. This is a benefit, because it is the small particles of LDL’s which can fit into the bedding of your artery walls and build up there. Where could you fit a little more exercise into your life? It could be as simple as taking a few extra walk breaks at work, or if you need motivation, it could be worth it to sign up for a class at your local gym.
If you want to cut back on your cholesterol and improve your heart health, don’t smoke. The detrimental health effects of smoking cause damage to many parts of your body, and your cholesterol level is also negatively affected.
Smoking actually oxidizes existing LDL’s, and this results in inflammation amongst other problems. When you smoke, you also lower the chances for good cholesterol to be absorbed. If you have high cholesterol, it’s time to kick the habit.