“You need to lower your cholesterol levels.” Tell me if the first thing that popped in your head wasn’t something around the lines of “I need to stop eating.” This is a very common perception and a very wrong one as well.
When it comes to discussing the tips to lower cholesterol, the possibilities are quite endless. Not just the mere changes in one’s lifestyle, there are a number of ways which can impact the process.
We are hoping that by the end of this article, you will have a defined knowledge about the ways to reduce cholesterol to lead a happier and healthier life.
Why Having High Cholesterol Levels Is Bad?
The mention of cholesterol in today’s date is very daunting for a number of people. Majority of the people tend to have this notion that high cholesterol is only relevant when it comes to the weight of an individual.
Check Out These Ways to Manage Your Cholesterol Levels.
That is not the case.
High cholesterol levels have the potency of imposing a number of health risks, not just obesity.
Obesity is often considered a side effect of high cholesterol levels altogether.
So, what kind of risks are you projecting on yourself when you have a high cholesterol level?
Studies and several research papers (R) suggest that obesity is often the leading cause of several health issues, risks of heart diseases being the primary cause.
Whatever the condition be, it is not surprising that the high levels of cholesterol in the body are often associated with the increased rate of weight gain.
2. Risks of Cardiovascular Disease
It doesn’t need any kind of validation that the heart is possibly the most important organ in our body. Even the slightest of dysfunction of this organ have the possibility of ending up being a problem for the overall functioning of the body.
You must have heard of Atherosclerosis, haven’t you?
For those who haven’t, Atherosclerosis is a heart disease which caused when the arteries supplying blood to the heart are blocked because of plaque deposition. This deposition of the plaque is caused because of the high cholesterol levels (R) in the body
It thus doesn’t require any kind of separate introduction as to why lowering high cholesterol levels is a necessity more than a choice.
3. Development of Gall Stones
Yet another one of the risks associated with high levels of cholesterol in the body lies with the development of gall stones in the body.
The flow of high levels of cholesterol through the blood stream has the potency to end up getting accumulated and then solidified into stones which could form stones in the gall bladder.
How to Lower Cholesterol Levels?
Now that we have alerted ourselves with the negative implications of high cholesterol levels, it is time to delve into some of the effective ways to lower your cholesterol levels for a healthier well being.
In order to make it easy for you to skim through, we are going to divide the varying prospects based on the lifestyle changes to lower cholesterol levels and the dietary changes to lower cholesterol levels.
It is actually quite necessary and important to pay heed to both of the prospects to have a healthy balance in reducing the unwanted levels of cholesterol from the body.
Lifestyle Changes for Lowering Cholesterol
The very first spectrum of answering how to lower cholesterol does lie with the kind of lifestyle changes you wish to bring into your lifestyle.
1. Increase The Load of Physical Activity
You might not necessarily realize this but a sedentary lifestyle is often one of the primary reasons behind the heightened cholesterol levels in the body.
It goes without saying that it is very important to ensure that you do indulge in some form of physical activity, either every day or multiple days throughout the week.
Studies suggest that exercise can be the best way to lower cholesterol, especially by increasing the levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) or the good cholesterol in the body.
Doctors do suggest either going for a normal or mediocre level of workout five times a week or a high intensity aerobic activity (R) three times a week. Indulge in the one that you find suitable for yourself.
Often times, taking a walk after a meal for 10 minutes can even help in managing the levels of the cholesterol very well and prevents the deposition and accumulation which can prove fatal for one’s health.
2. Quit Smoking
Smoking is not just bad for your breathing and the vital organs; it also does influence the cholesterol levels in the body.
If you are an avid smoker and have been trying to find ways behind the unnecessary rise in the levels of cholesterol and risks of obesity in your body, chances are that your smoking is to be blamed for the same.
It is always best suggested to keep a check on this and try and find ways to quit smoking because that has been found to influence and bring down the cholesterol levels in the body.
Smoking improves the levels of HDL in the body which is one of the best outcomes when you try and lower your cholesterol levels.
You will be able to experience the starking difference right off the bat which is an amazing reason why quitting smoking has been found to have potent impacts in managing the levels of cholesterol in the body, hence improving one’s overall well being.
3. Try and Lose Weight
As mentioned before, obesity and high cholesterol go hand in hand. If you have a tendency of gaining weight easily, chances are that your cholesterol levels are going to be a complete wham.
What this does is end up contributing to the overall risks of cardiovascular diseases.
Having a healthy and well regulated routine of losing weight can actually help and maintain the levels of cholesterol in the body in check.
When it comes to finding ways to reduce cholesterol, weight loss is often the very first factor that the doctors do suggest. It is very important to ensure that you are always opting for healthy ways of weight loss that you will be able to stick to to be able to experience starking difference (that doesn’t affect you in a negative way).
Start by making small changes and get used to them and then start by taking bigger steps altogether.
4. Consume More Monosaturated Fats:
You might not realize this because majority has this notion that every form of fat is bad for your health. That is not necessarily the case.
Monosaturated fats that we get from some oils and nuts can actively be one of the best ways to lower your cholesterol levels.
While sticking to a low fat diet might seem like a good enough option, which is not the only option. A conducted study did find that while the consumption of a low fat diet drastically brought down the levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) in the body, it also did bring down the HDL levels in the body which is necessary.
The consumption of monosaturated fatty acids have been found to have better impacts in preventing the oxidation of the lipoproteins (R) Which is one of the primary reasons behind the clogging of the arteries that lead to Atherosclerosis.
If you want a summary of it, these healthy fats are considered good for the body mainly because of the fact that it helps bring down the levels of LDL, enhance the levels of HDL and prevent further oxidation.
5. Cut Back on The Alcohol:
Alcohol also does play quite a negative impact on the overall levels of cholesterol in the body.
Studies (R) have found that the consumption of alcohol in moderation has been linked with better HDL levels in the body but even that doesn’t necessarily is a free pass for someone who is not a drinker. If you don’t drink, don’t start.
If you are an avid alcohol drinker, chances are that it is best to stick to drinking in moderation and not going overboard with the same. The same shouldn’t necessarily cross the 1-2 glasses mark either way.
The heightened and excess consumption of alcohol is not just bad for the overall prospects of heightened cholesterol levels, the same can end up affecting the overall health of an individual.
Foods to Lower Your Cholesterol Levels
When it does come down to assessing the conditions associated with handling the cholesterol levels in the body, it is very important to ensure that one looks after ways that will help them switch to foods that would help lower the cholesterol levels in the body.
Some of them include:
6. Omega-3 Fatty Acid Rich Foods:
It is not at a surprise that the word fat can be a trigger for someone who is trying to look out for their weight. Irrespective of the circumstances around, it is not at all surprising that the inclusion of polyunsaturated fatty acids have been found to be quite effective in handling the condition associated with higher cholesterol levels in the body.
Polyunsaturated fats like the omega-3 fatty acids have been found to be quite beneficial in replacing the LDL in the body and amping up the levels of good fatty acids in the body.
In a conducted study (R) in which the participants were fed with a diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids for eight weeks straight did find a decrease in the levels of LDL by 10%.
Not just that, the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids have also been found to be effective in handling the risks associated with metabolic syndrome as well as diabetes. For the best tips to lower cholesterol levels, try and include more omega-3 rich foods into the diet like salmon, herring and even deep sea tuna.
7. Eat More Fiber Rich Foods:
Do you think you are consuming enough fibers? If not, chances are that your body is thus not able to channel away the high cholesterol in the best way.
If you have heard of gut bacteria, you’d know that the soluble fiber that we consume is not possible for our body to digest. Wondering why should we even consume it then? Well, the gut bacteria need these soluble fibers to be able to function better nutritionally.
Better the gut bacteria in our body, better is the management of the cholesterol levels in our body. It has been found that they actively help in lowering the levels of LDL in the body while simultaneously helping boost the HDL levels in the body.
In a conducted study with 30 obese men (R) on a carbohydrate restricted diet with the addition of 3 grams of soluble fiber in their diet everyday for 12 weeks did find a reduction in the LDL levels in their body by 18%.
Yet another long term study with 350,000 participants (R) who gained their nutrition from grains and a diet rich of soluble fibers were found to live longer and has a 15-25% lesser chances of dying during the 14 years of the study.
8. Fortified with Plant Sterols and Stanols
The addition of foods fortified with plant sterols and stanols can be another one of the best ways of lowering high cholesterol.
If you were not aware of what plant sterols and stanols are, they are the plant variation of the cholesterol. Consuming these can be helpful in fulfilling the cholesterol requirement for the body but also ensure in not causing spikes in the cholesterol levels in the body.
The plant sterols and stanols have been found to have better impacts in preventing the induction of clogged arteries in the body. They actively compete with the normal human cholesterol to reduce their high levels.
In a conducted study with 60 men (R) who were fed with a diet including yogurt with 1 gram of plant sterols, they were found to have better impacts in reducing the LDL levels in the body by 15%.
If you are wondering where to source them from, they can be found in the varying forms of vegetable oils and substitute butter as well.
9. Include Some Treats Every Once in a While
Many have this notion that going cold turkey with the food is the only way to help lower your cholesterol levels. That is predominantly not the case.
You can actively opt for the diet and lifestyle changes to lower cholesterol levels and include some treats to keep your heart happy as well.
Every once in a while, including a piece of cake or some crisps to get your desires sorted before diving back into the old form of diet to help manage the levels of cholesterol in the body.
Why Opting For Natural Means Is Often A Better Option?
You might often encounter this thought in your mind, “Why is it necessary to cut down the dietary habits and such when we can simply just opt for supplements?” While that is a true statement, it is not necessarily the healthiest one in the lot.
If you didn’t know any better, know this that the supplements are always best to be kept as the last resort. This helps you try out the natural ways first and see which one of the ways to reduce cholesterol does work best and then opt for the same one instead of relying blindly on the supplements.
When it comes to finding effective ways to lower your cholesterol levels, the process can seem extensive but the entirety of it stems from making small yet impactful changes in your life itself. It is very important to be cautious of the outcomes and consult a doctor before taking drastic measures.