Reduce Your Cholesterol Naturally
Cholesterol is a kind of fat (lipid) present in our blood. It is needed by the cells to function normally and is needed for making certain hormones. There is some cholesterol that our liver makes. Any cholesterol in our body which is more than what the body requires will start building up in our arteries. This build up cholesterol (also known as plaque) may block the arteries and may lead to heart and blood problems like blood clots, heart attacks and stroke. The body connects cholesterol with tiny particles called lipoproteins which can help move cholesterol around the body. We now know that is the LDL (low-density lipoproteins) better known as “bad cholesterol” that has a strong association with plaque building in arteries, not the total cholesterol. And, So, how does the body LDL level rise? It is the diet that has a modest impact on the LDL levels (not taking into account the genetic factor). Medications (statins) do help in lowering the LDL cholesterol. But, making a change in your current lifestyle should be the step taken first before starting any medication. What can be done to reduce the cholesterol naturally?
We have a few pointers that will help you to reduce your cholesterol levels naturally:
1. Limit the intake of foods that are high in saturated fats and trans fats
Foods with a lot of saturated fat are those that include butter, fatty flesh like red meat, full-fat dairy and dairy products, fried foods, baked products (biscuits, cakes, pastries, cookies, pizza), palm oil, and coconut oil. Eating these foods increases your risk of heart diseases and stroke as they lower your HDL (good) cholesterol and increase your LDL (bad) cholesterol. So, if you see partially hydrogenated fat in the ingredient list of a food label, it means the food contains trans fats and it would be a good choice to put it back on the food rack of the supermarket.
2. Increase the fibre in the diet
Foods that are rich in soluble fibre have been proven to lower the cholesterol. Fibre binds the cholesterol and eliminates it from your body. You can increase your fibre by incorporating whole grains, oats, oat bran, legumes (beans and lentils), fresh fruits and vegetables like carrots, brussels sprouts, beets, lady finger, brinjal, berries, passion fruit, oranges, pears, apricots, and apples as they are rich in soluble fibre.
3. Prefer omega 3’s and Unsaturated fats
Oily fish like salmon, sardines, trout, etc and plant sources like flax seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and soyabeans have anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic benefits which allow them to protect the heart and blood vessels.
Oils like canola oils, seed oils for the purpose of cooking helps in lowering the LDL cholesterol.
4. Lose excess weight if possible
Losing weight will help you to lower the LDL cholesterol levels. Losing weight not only lowers your cholesterol but it also reduces the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
5. Exercise or Indulge in Physical Activity
Exercise or doing physical activity apart from your daily routine will not only help you in improving your physical fitness and lose weight but it will also reduce your LDL cholesterol and boost the protective HDL cholesterol levels. Studies have proven that an activity that increases your heart rate to 85% of its maximum capacity increases the HDL cholesterol and decreases the LDL cholesterol. Hence, the longer and more intense the exercise, the greater are the benefits.
6. Avoid Smoking
It is seen that smoking raises your LDL Cholesterol and decreases your HDL cholesterol and quitting smoking has shown to improve this. Studies have proven that when stopped smoking their HDL (good) cholesterol increased by 5% in a year compared to the smokers.
So, investing in your personal health with a diverse plant-based diet is the best approach to keep your cholesterol in check. Eating a variety of natural foods helps in lowering cholesterol, reduces blood pressure and protects the heart. The diet and other lifestyle changes should be the first line of treatment rather than pick up the medications first.