For most of us, there’s really no need to pack our medicine cabinets with pills to reduce cholesterol levels. Natural, lifestyle-based strategies have proven extraordinarily effective in reducing cholesterol quickly and permanently.
Did you know that for every 10% drop in your cholesterol level, your heart attack risk drops by 20% to 30%? There’s more good news: Most of us can reduce cholesterol quickly, and without the need for medications. Simple lifestyle strategies can be very powerful.
Cholesterol is a type of fat present in the blood. The body uses cholesterol to perform various activities such as keeping the cell walls flexible, synthesizing hormones, bile acid, and vitamin D. There are mainly two types of cholesterol-Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) which is the bad cholesterol that increases your risk of heart disease and the High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL) which is the good cholesterol that reduces your risk of heart diseases.
Being overweight, age, family history, and foods rich in saturated and trans fat are the factors that affect your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol can lead to the blockage of arteries but can be reduced by making a few changes like following a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
How To Reduce Cholesterol Quickly
High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Medications can help improve your cholesterol. But if you’d rather first make lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol, try these six healthy changes and add the foods given below to your plate.
Limit your consumption of food products rich in saturated fats, trans fats, and dietary cholesterol.
It is highly prescribed that we should avoid food products that are rich in such kinds of fat. It can increase the number of fats in our bodies.
Eat food products that are rich in fiber.
Food products that are especially rich in soluble fiber should be consumed. Food products like beans, oats, barley, fruits, and vegetables. This is so because food products that are rich in soluble fiber have proven particularly good at lowering cholesterol. Excellent sources include oats, oat bran, barley, peas, yams, sweet potatoes, and other potatoes, as well as legumes or beans, such as pinto beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, and peas.
Choose food products that are rich in proteins.
We should choose legumes or beans, nuts, seeds over meat. It is said that legumes include lentils, peas, beans, white beans, and soya beans. They are considered a protein-packed alternative to meat. These food products help lower LDL cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol, blood sugar, and insulin levels.
Weight reduction is important.
Losing excess weight is necessary because it can lead to several health issues. It is highly recommended by doctors even for patients who are suffering from issues of high cholesterol.
Consume plant sterol supplements.
It is believed that plant sterols are naturally occurring substances that are found in plants. And a daily intake of around 1-2 grams of plant sterol can help you in reducing LDL cholesterol levels.
Psyllium is soluble fiber supplements and laxatives and is sold in the form of seed grains. Psyllium is also available in the brand Metamucil. According to researchers 9-10 gram daily consumption of psyllium is very effective and is equivalent to 3 teaspoons daily of Sugar-Free Metamucil, reducing LDL levels.
1. Beans: The High Fiber Solution
Except for your morning wheat bran, no food is more fiber-rich than beans. And beans are especially high in cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. Eating a cup of any type of beans a day—particularly kidney, navy, pinto, black, chickpea, or butter beans—can lower cholesterol by as much as 10% in 6 weeks.
Soluble fiber forms a gel in water that helps bind acids and cholesterol in the intestinal tract, preventing their re-absorption into the body. This may be why soluble fiber helps to lower cholesterol levels (and decreases the risk of heart disease). Soluble fiber is also found in oats and oat bran, barley, brown rice, beans, apples, carrots, and most other fruits and vegetables.
2. Salmon: Amazing Heart-Friendly Fat
Research has shown certain types of fat actually protect against high cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids—found in salmon and other cold-water fish—help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, raise “good” HDL cholesterol, and lower triglycerides.
Salmon is an excellent source of protein because it is high in omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA that are good for your heart while low in cholesterol and saturated fat.
3. Avocado: Healthy Fat Superfood
Avocados are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat? A type of fat that may actually help to raise levels of HDL (“good” cholesterol) while lowering levels of LDL (“bad” cholesterol). And these delectable green orbs pack more cholesterol-smashing beta-sitosterol (a beneficial plant-based fat) than any other fruit.
Beta-sitosterol reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food. So the combination of beta-sitosterol and monounsaturated fat makes the avocado an excellent cholesterol buster.
4. Garlic: The Ancient Herb for Heart Health
For thousands of years, garlic has been used in nearly every culture in the world, and not just to repel evil. Its nutritional value and flavor have made it a kitchen staple.
Ancient Egyptians ate garlic for stamina; in modern times, garlic has been found to lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots, reduce blood pressure, and protect against infections. Now research has found that it helps stop artery-clogging plaque at its earliest stage (called nanoplaque). How? Garlic keeps individual cholesterol particles from sticking to artery walls.
5. Walnuts, Cashews, and Almonds: Go (Mixed) Nuts!
A moderate-fat diet that’s rich in the healthy monounsaturated fats found in nuts may actually be twice as good for your heart as a low-fat diet. Nuts also have vitamin E, magnesium, copper, and phytochemicals that have been linked to heart health. And walnuts are also rich in omega-3s.
People who eat nuts regularly have less heart disease and other illnesses than people who don’t. The heart-healthy monounsaturated fats they contain are also better for your joints than the polyunsaturated fats found in corn and safflower oils.