How to lower your cholesterol naturally

High level of blood cholesterol is a very common finding among the general population. At times, your doctor may have mentioned that you need to cut down intake of red meat or fast food and start doing some exercise. Excess cholesterol can clog the arteries of vital organs like


brain or heart and can cause a stroke or heart attack. High cholesterol is also linked to Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or diseases affecting arteries or veins in our limbs. Though a number of cholesterol-lowering drugs are available- a lifestyle intervention can be very effective and benefits are everlasting. All you need to do is develop some healthy habits which will help lower the cholesterol naturally. These are the tips for reducing your blood cholesterol naturally:



 

1. Follow a Mediterranean diet

A plant-based Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats like olive oil, moderate amount dairy, and very little red meats or sweets is the perfect diet for lowering blood cholesterol. Fill your pantry with these healthy choices and enjoy a healthy, disease free long life.

 

2. Eat healthy fats rich in mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids

Mono and polyunsaturated fatty acid rich foods and oils are great for lowering the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the good cholesterol (HDL). Plant-based oils e.g. olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil; oily fishes like wild caught salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, nuts, and avocados are loaded with these healthy fats.

 

3. Ditch the refined carbs

The current obesity epidemic is rooted in our addiction to unhealthy carbs like white bread, bagels, doughnuts, cakes, pastries, candy, ice cream, sugary beverages etc. Carbohydrate is one of the essential macronutrients for maintaining life. We often forget that we can get enough carb from vegetables and fruits and for maintenance, very little extra carb is needed on a daily basis. Excess carbohydrates are stored as fat in our body which can skyrocket the cholesterol level.

 

4. Limit the intake of saturated and unhealthy fats

Saturated fat and the killer- trans fat can increase the cholesterol level significantly. Red meat, fried foods, fast food, lard, cheese, butter or ghee contains a high percentage of saturated fat. Moderation in consumption of saturated fat will keep your cholesterol level at bay. Many common grocery items have hidden amount of trans fat that can wreak havoc on our cardiovascular health. Avoiding processed food and controlling your portions of saturated fat can ensure optimum cardiovascular health.

  

5. Any exercise is good exercise

Can’t stress this enough. Any amount of physical activities will elevate the good cholesterol (HDL) and maintain or offset the increase of the bad ones (LDL, triglycerides). Aerobic exercise is more beneficial e.g. jogging, biking, swimming or running.


Author
Mahmood Siddique Board certified physician Mahmood I. Siddique, DO, FACP, FCCP, FAASM, takes a modern, holistic approach to caring for his patients at Sleep and Wellness Medical Associates in Hamilton, New Jersey. He believes medicine is most effective when it considers not just the patient’s symptoms, but the broader connections among their overall physical, emotional, and mental health and well-being.

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