What is the best way to reduce the bad cholesterol, or LDL, in your body? There is not just ONE way to reduce this type of cholesterol in your body. There are some basic lifestyle changes you have to make to improve your cholesterol.
High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Medications can help improve your cholesterol. However, the best way to control cholesterol in your body is to make some fundamental changes in the way you spend your time on day to day basis.
In this article, we plan to discuss what cholesterol is, what are major types of cholesterol, what are the symptoms of high LDL or bad cholesterol in your body and how to reduce it to normal levels.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance which our body makes naturally and is found in some foods. It is carried around the body in our bloodstream by lipoproteins.
Types of Cholesterol
The two main lipoproteins are low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). HDL cholesterol is known as ‘good cholesterol’ as it helps to prevent cholesterol from building up in the arteries. LDL, on the other hand, is referred to as ‘bad cholesterol’ as it is the main source of cholesterol build-up in the arteries, which can lead to narrowing and blockages.
While we need some cholesterol, too much LDL cholesterol in our blood can lead to heart disease or stroke.
Recommended Lifestyle Changes To Lower Bad Cholesterol
The lifestyle changes listed below will help you normalize your cholesterol levels. If you already take medications to do so, the following changes can improve their cholesterol-lowering effect.
1. Eat heart-healthy foods
A few changes in your diet can reduce cholesterol and improve your heart health:
- Reduce saturated fats. Saturated fats, found primarily in red meat and full-fat dairy products, raise your total cholesterol. Decreasing your consumption of saturated fats can reduce your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the “bad” cholesterol.
- Eliminate trans fats. Trans fats, sometimes listed on food labels as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil,” are often used in margarines and store-bought cookies, crackers and cakes. Trans fats raise overall cholesterol levels. The Food and Drug Administration has banned the use of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils by Jan. 1, 2021.
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids don’t affect LDL cholesterol. But they have other heart-healthy benefits, including reducing blood pressure. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts and flaxseeds.
- Increase soluble fiber. Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Soluble fiber is found in such foods as oatmeal, kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears.
- Add whey protein. Whey protein, which is found in dairy products, may account for many of the health benefits attributed to dairy. Studies have shown that whey protein given as a supplement lowers both LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol as well as blood pressure.
2. Exercise on most days of the week and increase your physical activity
Exercise can improve cholesterol. Moderate physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol. With your doctor’s OK, work up to at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week or vigorous aerobic activity for 20 minutes three times a week.
Adding physical activity, even in short intervals several times a day, can help you begin to lose weight. Consider:
- Taking a brisk daily walk during your lunch hour
- Riding your bike to work
- Playing a favorite sport
To stay motivated, consider finding an exercise buddy or joining an exercise group.
3. Quit smoking
Quitting smoking improves your HDL cholesterol level. The benefits occur quickly:
- Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the cigarette-induced spike
- Within three months of quitting, your blood circulation and lung function begin to improve
- Within a year of quitting, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker
4. Lose weight
Carrying even a few extra pounds contributes to high cholesterol. Small changes add up. If you drink sugary beverages, switch to tap water. Snack on air-popped popcorn or pretzels — but keep track of the calories. If you crave something sweet, try sherbet or candies with little or no fat, such as jelly beans.
Look for ways to incorporate more activity into your daily routine, such as using the stairs instead of taking the elevator or parking farther from your office. Take walks during breaks at work. Try to increase standing activities, such as cooking or doing yardwork.
5. Quit Drinking
Moderate use of alcohol has been linked with higher levels of HDL cholesterol — but the benefits aren’t strong enough to recommend alcohol for anyone who doesn’t already drink.
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.
Too much alcohol can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure and strokes.
If lifestyle changes aren’t enough …
Sometimes healthy lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower cholesterol levels. In that case, you may want to use a well researched and tried and tested herbal food supplement which can help your regulate healthy cholesterol in your body. It is called Blood Cleanser and you can get it by clicking on this link. If your doctor recommends medication to help lower your cholesterol, take it as prescribed while continuing your lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes can help you keep your medication dose low.