Natural Ways to Lower Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol is a type of fat linked to heart diseases and stroke. This is the reason why sometimes when there’s food many are concerned about the cholesterol content.

Unknown to many, cholesterol is a vital substance that has a wide variety of functions in the body including the synthesis of vitamin D and hormones. However, too much cholesterol--specifically total cholesterol and LDL (also known as bad cholesterol) and too little HDL (also known as good cholesterol) in the blood can cause for plaque to buildup on the artery walls, thus, narrowing the arteries and reducing blood flow causing heart attack or stroke.

High cholesterol levels can be reduced or avoided by doing simple lifestyle changes.

1.       Eat less total fat
A high fat diet increases cholesterol. Choose lean meat; remove visible fat when cooking and always remove poultry skin before cooking or eating.

2.       Use cooking oil sparingly
Broil, bake or steam instead of frying. If you should fry use only cooking oil that is liquid at room temperature such as canola, corn, soybean, or sunflower.

3.       Eat fish
The omega-3 fatty acids found in many fish improves elasticity of arteries and reduce plaque formation. Have two to three servings of baked or broiled fish a week.

halibut by stu_spivack.
image by stu spivack via Flickr

4.       Exercise regularly
Regular exercise such as walking can raise your good cholesterol level.

5.       Stop smoking
Smoking reduces good cholesterol levels.

6.       Lose weight
Being overweight increases bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol levels. Losing even 5 to 10 pounds can make a difference.

7.       Eat more fiber
Soluble fiber helps lower bad cholesterol in the body. Beans and legumes are some of the highest natural sources of fiber.

8.       Drink green tea
Replace soda and other sugary drinks with green tea. Studies on both animals and humans revealed that green tea helps lower bad cholesterol levels.

9.       Go nuts
Eating about handful of nuts a day, especially walnuts and almonds have shown to be beneficial in helping reduce cholesterol as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

10.   Be colorful
Eating five servings of a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables a day exposes you to a range of antioxidants. Avocado is one of the best known fruits which contain good cholesterol.

© K Kristie