Written By Mikkie Mills / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Despite how it sounds sometimes, cholesterol isn't all bad. It serves some vital functions in your body such as making hormones and retaining the flexibility of your cell walls.
Cholesterol is manufactured in your liver for purposes such as these. The problem arises when your cholesterol levels get out of balance.
Too much of LDL "bad" cholesterol can cause deposits to form on the walls of your blood vessels, putting you at risk for heart attack or stroke if arteries become clogged as a result. However, HDL "good" cholesterol carries these deposits back to your liver, away from your arteries.
The goal should be to lower the level of your "bad" cholesterol while raising the level of your "good" cholesterol. Here are some ideas on how to do that.
Try Supplements to lower your cholesterol naturally
Your doctor may recommend medications to lower your cholesterol, such as statin drugs, e.g., atorvastatin, etc. These drugs are effective at lowering cholesterol but can have unwanted side effects.
Doctors may recommend CoQ10 and statins together, with the former supplement helping to minimize the side effects of the latter drugs.
CoQ10 may have cholesterol-management properties of its own, but it is not the only supplement that can make that claim.
Soluble fiber in the form of psyllium and omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have been shown in studies to decrease bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, respectively. Before starting any supplements, however, you should ask your doctor if it is safe for you to take them.
Supplements can react adversely with other medications and occasionally provoke allergic reactions in some patients.
Increase Physical Activity to lower your cholesterol naturally
Frequent physical activity not only helps you to lose weight, which can help lower high levels of bad cholesterol, it can also help raise levels of good cholesterol. Even with a busy schedule, you can find ways to get more exercise, such as riding your bike to work or taking a brief, brisk walk over your lunch hour.
Twenty minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three times a week can help, but if that is too much to manage, 30 minutes of exercise five times a week can also produce some good results. You should be careful not to try to do too much, too soon or you may end up hurting yourself.
Set a reasonable goal for yourself and work up to it gradually. Ask your doctor for help in choosing an exercise that will work well for you.
Quit Smoking to lower your cholesterol naturally
Want a way to improve your cardiovascular health quickly? Quit using tobacco. Smoking increases your heart rate and blood pressure, which can return to a healthy level within 20 minutes of finishing your last cigarette.
Within a year of quitting, your risk of heart disease decreases by half. Lung function and circulation improve within a matter of months. Smoking can artificially lower your level of good cholesterol, while quitting can improve it.
Change Your Diet to lower your cholesterol naturally
This doesn't necessarily mean consuming less cholesterol. There is actually very little relationship between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol.
Your body recognizes the amount of cholesterol present in your body from your diet and modifies cholesterol production in the liver to compensate. It is other foods that affect your blood cholesterol level for better or worse.
Increase consumption of soluble fiber in fruits, vegetables, and grains as these help reduce cholesterol absorption. Watch your fat intake and try to avoid saturated fats in meat and dairy products, as well as trans fats. The latter will become easier in 2021 because at that time the Food and Drug Administration's ban on partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that contain trans fats will be in effect.
That's not to say that you should avoid fats altogether. Monosaturated fats, found in tree nuts, avocados, olives, and canola oil, promote healthy levels of good cholesterol while reducing levels of bad cholesterol.
By contrast, studies have shown that a low-fat diet can lower levels of both good and bad cholesterol. If the goal is to maximize cardiovascular health, this may be counterproductive.
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Mikkie Mills is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks and DIY. When she's not writing, she's chasing the little ones around, walking her dog, or can be found rock climbing at the local climbing gym.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.