Cholesterol is a waxy substance that our bodies need for healthy cell function. Although too much cholesterol can be dangerous, it is essential for our bodies to function properly. There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL, or "bad cholesterol," can build up plaque in arteries and lead to heart disease. HDL, or "good cholesterol," helps remove LDL from the bloodstream. High cholesterol levels affect around one in every three Americans. There are lifestyle changes that can help lower LDL and increase HDL.
Here are 8 ways to lower your cholesterol naturally.
1. Avoid Trans Fats
You've probably heard that reading nutrition labels can help you better control your diet. Nutrition labels provide important information about the nutrients in a food, as well as whether it contains trans fats. Trans fats are often used in processed foods and baked goods, and they can raise LDL cholesterol levels while reducing HDL cholesterol levels. So, if you're looking to lower your cholesterol, aim to avoid trans fats by reading nutrition labels carefully.
2. Proteins with Less Saturated Fat
If you're trying to eat healthier, one easy way is to switch up the proteins you're eating. Red meat is high in saturated fat, which can be bad for your cholesterol levels. Instead, try eating more chicken or fish. Fish is low in saturated fat and many types contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart health. If you're craving red meat, choose leaner cuts and eat them in moderation.
3. Get More Soluble Fiber
Soluble fiber can help to reduce levels of bad LDL cholesterol by binding to it in the gut and preventing it from getting into the bloodstream. Good sources of soluble fiber include oats, barley, quinoa, whole-grain bread, kidney beans, lentils, and chickpeas. Fresh ingredients are generally more beneficial than processed ones when it comes to soluble fiber content. Try incorporating some of these foods into your daily diet to help improve your cardiovascular health.
4. Choose Good Snack Foods
There's nothing wrong with grabbing a snack to tide you over between meals. But many common snacks like chips, cookies, and crackers are high in unhealthy fats. Eating raw fruits, vegetables and nuts instead provide your body with good fats and fiber, which can help reduce cholesterol levels. So next time you're feeling peckish, reach for an apple or a handful of nuts instead of a bag of chips. Your body will thank you! Need more support? Try Michael’s Cholesterol Metabolism Factors™.
5. Explore Your Dairy Options
You don't have to give up everything you enjoy to lower your cholesterol. Just make smarter choices, like opting for low-fat dairy products instead of full-fat versions. You can also try soy milk as a healthy alternative. These changes will help reduce the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your bloodstream.
6. Prepare Your Meals Differently
It's not just what you eat that matters – how you eat it is also important. Just as you can make healthier choices when grocery shopping, you can also make healthier choices when cooking your food that can help lower your cholesterol levels. Try to trim the fat and remove the skin from meat or fish before cooking or eating. This way, you can still get the protein while reducing your fat intake. Focus on boiling, broiling, baking, poaching, or grilling your food. These are better methods of preparation than deep frying or breading, which can add extra fat. Sugar Metabolism Factors™ can also support the body in metabolizing carbohydrates and fats.
7. Use Olive Oil in Place of Butter
If you're looking to use a healthier oil in place of butter, margarine, shortening, or lard, olive oil is a great option. You can substitute 3/4 the amount of butter in a recipe with olive oil. This swap not only makes your meal healthier but can also enhance flavors in surprising ways.
8. Move Your Body
Regular exercise is important for maintaining a healthy heart. There are many ways to get exercise, and it’s important to find one that fits your lifestyle. Even simple changes, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, can have a positive impact on your health. Exercise has many benefits beyond just managing cholesterol levels. It can also help reduce blood pressure and improve your overall well-being. Try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, and you will be on your way to a healthier heart.
The Bottom Line
If you're looking to lower your cholesterol levels naturally, there are a few things you can do. First, try to include more fiber in your diet by eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Soluble fiber can help reduce cholesterol levels by binding with it in the digestive tract and preventing its absorption into the bloodstream. Additionally, get plenty of exercise. Even moderate exercise can help reduce cholesterol levels. Finally, avoid trans fats and saturated fats, which can raise cholesterol levels, and try to limit your intake of sugar and salt. By following these tips, you can help lower your cholesterol levels naturally and improve your overall health!