Natural Health and Fitness

How to Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally and Avoid a Lifetime of Prescription Drugs

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Cholesterol reportCholesterol is a really bad thing to have in your body, right? Wrong. We actually need it to live and to be healthy. It is bad cholesterol that we don’t want getting too high. In this article, as we offer tips on how to lower your cholesterol naturally, it is this type we are talking about.

Just What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy substance found in all animals including people. [1] It is essential for making hormones, vitamin D, and bile (which the body uses to digest fats). [2]

Since the human body is capable of manufacturing all the cholesterol it needs, it is unlikely that you ever need to worry about your cholesterol levels being too low. Most individuals in the developed world have the opposite problem: Their cholesterol levels are too high.

There are two types of cholesterol:

  • High density lipoprotein, also known as HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol
  • Low density lipoprotein, also known as LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol

Needless to say, it is the bad guy (LDL) that you should be more concerned about. When the bad cholesterol builds up in blood vessels over time, it can lead to various health problems including atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Where Does Excess Cholesterol Come From?

There are various factors that lead to unhealthy cholesterol including diet, lack of physical activity, and heredity. Most cholesterol comes from two sources; your diet and your own body.

Large amounts of cholesterol are found in animal products, and most people in the developed world consume substantial quantities of milk, meat, cheese, and eggs on a regular basis. [3] All of these foods are high in cholesterol.

Now, it might seem like diet is the bad boy when it comes to elevated levels of bad cholesterol. After all, everybody and their cousins have berated foods like red meat, eggs and dairy products for this very thing. This is because these foods are high in saturated fats. But you could actually cut out these foods and still have high cholesterol levels. Why?

Because most cholesterol is made by your body, mostly in the liver. This is why its management can be really frustrating as we have no control of our internal “manufacturing systems “.

Get the Fat Out

KebabsIf you are serious about reducing your cholesterol levels without drugs, you need to start by fixing your diet. This is the first and most basic thing to do so as to lower your cholesterol naturally.

Cut back on the dairy, meat, and other, rich, fatty foods you are eating. Substitute them with whole grains, and fruits and vegetables, which will give you more fiber that will help fight cholesterol.

Now, not all meats are bad. Red meat such as beef and lamb is considered bad. However, you do not need to completely avoid red meat. Going for lean cuts is sufficient in many cases.

Among the “good” meats are fish, turkey, and chicken.

Video: What Type of Diet Is Effective In Lowering Cholesterol?

Use Dietary Supplements for Optimal Results

Dietary changes alone are not always enough. If you have improved your diet but have not been able to achieve desirable cholesterol levels, you should seriously consider taking cholesterol-lowering supplements.

Two most effective cholesterol-lowering supplements are soluble fiber and niacin. Soluble fiber in particular can lower cholesterol levels dramatically. [4]

How to Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally

  • Reduce your consumption of cholesterol-loaded fatty foods such as ham, bacon, cheese, eggs, and high-fat milk.
  • Take a soluble fiber supplement.
  • Take natural cholesterol supplements can help. Niacin (vitamin B3) supplements have been used for cholesterol management.
  • Exercise regularly in order to improve your body’s ability to eliminate excess cholesterol. [5]

Smart Menu Planning

You might struggle with reducing your fat consumption at first. This is normal. We live in a society where most people consume radically high amounts of dietary fat and cholesterol. You will have to make some sacrifices if you want to be able to seriously reduce your cholesterol level.

One of the best ways to reduce your consumption of high-fat foods is to fill up on low-fat foods before eating high-fat ones. A good way to go about this is to eat a couple of slices of bread (with no added oil or other fats) before each meal. This will help you feel full and naturally reduce how much fatty food you eat. But won’t eating bread make you fat?

Eating bread will not necessarily make you fat, or the French would be the fattest people in the world. They eat lots of bread with their meals. Yet, they are generally much thinner than Americans. As long as you don’t go overboard and stay away from hamburgers and fries and like foods, you should be okay.

Dealing with Setbacks

Few dieters are perfect, and most people slip up once in a while. When you make a mistake and eat something loaded with fat, the best course of action is not to berate yourself, but to get back on track as quickly as possible. A minor setback won’t cause any enduring problems, but a series of minor setbacks will.

Figuring out how to lower your cholesterol naturally really isn’t difficult. Unless you have a medical condition that requires a cholesterol-lowering drug, drugs may not be necessary to get your cholesterol in a safe range.

If you are already taking cholesterol lowering drugs, you should not, of course, stop taking them suddenly. Instead, after you have figured out how to lower your cholesterol naturally, you can gradually taper off the drugs. Most cholesterol supplements can be used safely with drugs, but you should always consult a healthcare professional.


References:

1. Colorado State University: Cholesterol and Fats

2. NHLBI: What Is Cholesterol?

3. Rush University Medical Center: What causes high cholesterol?

4. Harvard Medical School: Help for your cholesterol when the statins won’t do

5. University of Maryland Medical Center: Exercise – Exercise’s Effects on the Heart

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