Natural ways to reduce cholesterol

In this article, you will find easy natural practical ways about “How To Treat/reduce High Cholesterol Levels without medicines?

The main goal of cholesterol-lowering treatment is to reduce your LDL level enough to lower your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack.

Broadly, there are two main ways to lower your cholesterol:

(i) Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC)-This includes the “NATURAL WAYS”. These are provided in detail in the following pages. Please continue reading.

(ii) Drug Treatment–if cholesterol-lowering drugs are needed, they are used together with TLC treatment to help lower your LDL


Lowering Cholesterol With Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) – Natural Ways

The following lifestyle changes can help you lower your LDL cholesterol. These include:

Diet For Healthy Heart: This is a “low-saturated-fat”, “low-cholesterol” eating plan:

(a) Rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains (brown rice in place of white rice & whole grain pasta), high-fibre foods, lean meats, and poultry.

(b) Whole fruit at breakfast instead of juice.

(c) Foods high in soluble fiber can help reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Soluble fiber is found in such foods such as oatmeal & kidney.

  • Serve whole fruit – like apples, bananas, pears, oranges, and prunes – at breakfast in place of juice.
  • Use brown rice instead of white rice, try whole-grain pasta, and eat whole-grain cereals such as oatmeal & oat bran.
  • Eat lots of colourful veggies (carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts & cauliflower are high in fibre)
  • Legumes like kidney beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, lentils, and lima beans.

(d) Fish/Seafood at least twice a week: Especially foods with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts, and flaxseeds.

Note: Fish can be fatty or lean, but it’s still low in saturated fat. Prepare fish baked, broiled, grilled, or boiled rather than breaded & fried. Shrimp & crawfish have more cholesterol than most types of seafood, but they’re lower in total fat & saturated fat than most meats & poultry.

(e) Use fat-free or reduced-fat milk instead of whole milk. For example, instead of sour cream, try nonfat plain yoghurt or a blend of yoghurt and low-fat cottage cheese. Use low-fat cheeses.

(f) Reduce saturated fats – Saturated fats, contained in red meat and full-fat dairy products, increase your total cholesterol. Cutting down on your consumption of saturated fats can reduce your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the “bad” cholesterol.

(g) Eliminate trans fats – Trans fats, sometimes shown on food labels as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil,” is often used in margarine and store-bought cakes, cookies, and crackers. Trans fats raise overall cholesterol levels. The Food and Drug Administration has banned the use of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils by January 1, 2021.

Here is a summary of effective ways to help you reduce your intake of saturated and Trans fats:

  • Avoid or limit processed & baked goods, such as chips, fried fast foods, icing, cakes, cookies, biscuits, doughnuts, pies, muffins, and frozen pizzas.
  • Avoid Fried foods such as French fries and fried chicken. Instead, try baked, steamed, broiled, or grilled.
  • Use liquid oils for cooking instead of solid fats – such as olive, canola, safflower, soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower, or oil grape seed oil, when baking or preparing meals at home.
  • Try cooking with herbs, spices, lemon juice, etc., instead of butter or margarine.
  • Read the nutrition labels on all products. For example, many “fat-free” products are very high in carbohydrates, which can raise your triglyceride levels.
  • When eating in a restaurant, ask that the dressings and sauces dressings be served on the side.
  • Avoid breaded meats and vegetables.
  • Eat more fish and chicken. Substitute ground turkey or chicken for ground beef.
  • Remove the skin from the chicken before cooking.
  • Eat leaner cuts of beef and pork, and trim as much visible fat as possible before cooking.
  • Bake, steamed, broiled, or grilled meats; avoid frying.
  • Compare the fat content of similar products. Do not be misled by terms like “light” & “lite”.
  • Instead of chips, snack on pretzels or unbuttered popcorn.
  • Look for hidden fat. For instance, refried beans may have lard, or breakfast cereals may contain a significant amount of fat.
  • Limit processed meats like sausage, bologna, salami & hot dogs. Many processed types of meat (even those with “reduced-fat” labels) are high in calories & saturated fat. They are often high in sodium as well. Read labels & choose meats carefully.
  • Organ meats like liver, kidney & brain are very high in cholesterol. Therefore, if you are on a cholesterol-lowering diet, eat them only occasionally.
  • Choose lean cuts of meat having minimal visible fat. Opt for lean beef cuts such as the round, chuck, sirloin, or loin. Lean lamb cuts come from the leg, arm, and loin, while lean pork cuts include the tenderloin or loin chop.
  • Buy “choice” or “select” grades rather than “prime.” Select lean or extra lean ground beef.
  • Before cooking, remove all visible fat from meat.
  • Don’t pan-fry, rather broil meats such as pork chops, lamb chops, hamburger, and steak.
  • Consider using a rack to drain off fat when baking, roacting, or broiling, Avoid basting with drippings, rather keep the meat moist with wine, fresh fruit juices, or a good oil-based marinade.
  • When a recipe calls for browning the meat first, try browning it under the broiler instead of in a pan.
  • Eat chicken and turkey rather than duck and goose, which are higher in fat.
  • Remove the skin from chicken or turkey, preferably before cooking. If your poultry dries out too much, leave the skin on for cooking but remove it before eating.

Physical Activity

Regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week or vigorous aerobic activity for 20 minutes three times a week is recommended for everyone. It can help increase HDL (Good) and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. This is especially important for individuals having high triglyceride and / or low HDL levels who are overweight with large waist measurements.

  • Brisk walking, cycling, swimming, jogging, dancing are some examples — whatever you love to do, do it.
  • For instance, a fast walk or bike ride each day can boost your HDL cholesterol, which helps sweep excess LDL cholesterol out of your bloodstream

Note: Check with your doctor’s before starting any new exercise program

Weight Management

Carrying even a few extra pounds may lead to high cholesterol levels. Especially excess fat around your middle section can raise your LDL (BAD) cholesterol and lower your HDL (GOOD) cholesterol.

(i) If you drink sugary beverages, switch to plain water.

(ii) Snack on pretzels or air-popped popcorn — but keep track of your calorie intake.

(iii) Look for ways to include more physical activities into your daily routine. Adding physical activity, even in short intervals several times a day, can help you lose weight, such as:

  • Using stairs instead of the elevator;
  • Parking farther from your office;
  • Taking a brisk daily walk during your lunch hour;
  • Riding your bike to the workplace;
  • Try to increase standing activities, like cooking or doing yard/garden work.
  • Playing a favourite sport.

To stay motivated, consider finding an exercise buddy or joining an exercise group.

Alcohol Consumption

Either avoid alcohol or drink it in moderation, especially if you have a high triglyceride level.

  • According Men of age 65 and younger should have no more than two drinks containing alcohol a day.
  • Women of all ages and men older than 65 should have no more than one drink containing alcohol a day
  • One drink is a glass of wine, beer, or a small amount of hard liquor
  • Too much alcohol can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure & strokes

Avoid Tobacco Smoke

Besides raising your risk of Cancer and Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, smoking tobacco can also negatively impact your cholesterol levels. People who smoke cigarettes tend to have increased total cholesterol due to raised LDL. Its other damaging effect is that it lowers HDL (Good) cholesterol levels.

Fortunately, giving up smoking can reverse these harmful effects:

  • Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the cigarette-induced spike.
  • Within three months of quitting, your blood circulation and lung function begin to improve.
  • Within a year of quitting, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker.

Stress

Some research studies have shown that chronic stress can sometimes increase your LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower your HDL (Good) cholesterol.

In some cases, these lifestyle changes may not be enough. If so is the case with you, consult your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe some medication to help lower your cholesterol levels.

Regardless of whether your plan includes drug therapy, you can follow the above natural lifestyle guidelines. This dual strategy will work much more effectively as part of a complete prevention and treatment program for managing your cholesterol and lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Read in this “Cholesterol Book” about the personal experience of a 69 years old man who has beaten heart disease, lives an active, independent life, and uses natural ways to keep his cholesterol under control:

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