Lowering your cholesterol can play an important role in your overall health. Just the same way fat doesn’t dissolve in water, neither does cholesterol, and too much of it can create problems. There are good types of cholesterol (HDL) and bad types (LDL). High levels of LDL can cause heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and clogged arteries. If you want to lower your cholesterol, then you should consider trying these natural ways of doing so:
1. Reduce Saturated Fats in Your Diet
Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods but mainly come from animal and dairy products. While it isn’t necessary to eliminate them completely from your diet, it’s important to focus more on having a diet high in monounsaturated fats instead. The American Heart Association suggests aiming for a diet that consists of just 5-6% of caloric intake from saturated fats.
Monounsaturated fats will help promote good levels of HDL while lowering your bad levels of LDL. Some monounsaturated fats you can begin incorporating into your diet include:
- Olive oil and canola oil
- Tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts and cashews
2. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise is a great way to lower your cholesterol, and you don’t have to overextend yourself to see a difference. By adding moderate physical activity to your schedule five days a week, your HDL levels can begin to rise, and your LDL levels will begin to drop. If you’d rather exercise less often, you can do so more vigorously three times a week.
3. Add Omega-3s to Your Diet
It’s no secret that there are healthy fats out there, but did you know that these fats actually aid in lowering cholesterol? By adding Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet, you can help manage and prevent heart disease. And they don’t just help lower your cholesterol either. They’re also helpful in lowering blood pressure. Consuming fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and halibut, or taking supplements like fish oil or krill oil will boost your Omega-3s and help lower your cholesterol.
4. Avoid Smoking and Second-Hand Smoke
When you think of lowering your cholesterol, you might only be considering what’s going into your mouth. But the truth is, what’s going into your lungs also plays a large role in how good or bad your cholesterol is. Cigarettes contain the toxin acrolein, which is a vapor produced by burning plants. This man-made toxin is highly poisonous and easily absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs, making it a large contributor to heart disease as it affects the way your body metabolizes cholesterol. Whether you’re a smoker yourself or find yourself around other smokers, it’s important to know that this can contribute greatly to high cholesterol, so it’s best to avoid it all together.