Cholesterol is very important because it is involved in the formation of cell membranes of every cell of our bodies; it also plays an important role in the synthesis of vitamin D. Good cholesterol, or high- density lipoprotein (HDL) cleans arteries off bad cholesterol, or law-density lipoprotein (LDL).
Millions of people have a problem with high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia), which increases risk for cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, stroke and heart diseases, depending on the place of cholesterol accumulation inside the walls of arteries. When this happens, arteries become more narrow, making blood flow and oxygen delivery critically low.
If you are concerned about your high cholesterol, there are natural ways to lower it and improve your health. You have to take this condition seriously, but also be aware it’s treatable and preventable.
The most common culprit is food high in saturated fats, so this should be your starting point for fighting against high cholesterol, together with exercise and weight loss.
Dietary changes to lower cholesterol
In order to lower cholesterol, you need to make some changes in your life style. First of all, you have to change your dietary habits. Most importantly, avoid foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol like red meat, poultry, shellfish, egg yolks and fat milk. Replace butter with olive oil or canola oil, as they have antioxidants that reduce the level of the LDL cholesterol.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are the healthy fats that can help lower the bad cholesterol.Good sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids are walnuts and almonds. They also keep blood vessels healthy and elastic.
In addition, start using spices, like oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, coriander, or cumin. Also, both garlic and onion reduce cholesterol, so include them in your diet.
Replace white sugar, rice, and bread with brown sugar, rice and whole wheat bread and you will increase your level of HDL cholesterol.
Oatmeal is the most recommended food in fighting against high cholesterol, together with fatty fish, walnuts, and oat bran. They are a good source of soluble fiber, which reduces the LDL cholesterol and helps fat move through the body. Other good sources of soluble fiber are kidney beans, apples, and prunes. Generally, good sources of fiber are fruit, vegetables, grains, and legumes.
Vitamin C also has a significant role when fighting against high cholesterol, as it lowers the level of cholesterol and other harmful fats. You can take it both as a supplement and through food sources.
A glass or two of beer or red wine a day can raise levels of HDL cholesterol. Green tea also lowers LDL and raises HDL levels and prevents your intestines from absorbing cholesterol. Also, if you like drinking coffee, make sure you use paper coffee filters, as they will trap kahweol and cafestol, substances that increase LDL levels.
Exercise to lower cholesterol
Another thing you should do in order to lower your cholesterol is start with regular exercise. This will both help you burn fat and decrease the clogs in your arteries. When you exercise, your blood pumps faster and the HDL cholesterol in your blood carries away the LDL cholesterol from your arteries. In addition, exercising makes your metabolism work faster, as the food is digested quicker decreasing the possibility of clogging the arteries.
Other factors that affect cholesterol
You should stop smoking as soon as possible. Apart from all other bad effects it has both for you and for people around you, smoking raises the level of bad cholesterol and reduces the amount of good cholesterol in your blood, increasing the possibility of your blood to clot. Second hand smoking is just as bad, so try to avoid it as much as possible.
Finally, your doctor might think that you will need some medication to lower your cholesterol. If this is the case with you, follow your doctor’s prescription in combination with the advice you got here.