There are tons of natural remedies out there for how to lower cholesterol levels, often promising quick results with next to no effort required on your part. But while it’s true that there are tons of options to keep cholesterol levels in check, it can actually be as simple as swapping out a few foods in your diet for healthier options, switching up your workout routine or adding a supplement or two into the mix.
Healthy Cholesterol Levels
The lipid profile blood test reports the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream. Healthcare organizations have established a set range for total, bad LDL and good HDL cholesterol as well as triglycerides, but the most important thing to consider when looking for how to lower cholesterol naturally is the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol, which should be around.
Dangers of High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance made by the liver and required by the body for the proper function of cells, nerves and hormones. Although your body needs cholesterol, excess cholesterol can build up and form a fatty plaque on the walls of the arteries, decreasing the flow of blood to vital areas of the body. If plaque continues to build long-term, it can significantly increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
So what causes high cholesterol
While cholesterol is normally kept in balance, an unhealthy diet high in hydrogenated fats and refined carbohydrates can disrupt this delicate balance, leading to increased cholesterol levels. This imbalance is manifested in elevated LDL (bad cholesterol) and low HDL (good cholesterol), which increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Other causes can include physical inactivity, diabetes, stress and hypothyroidism.
But keep in mind that not all cholesterol is created equally. LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad cholesterol,” is the form that can build up on the artery walls and increase your risk of heart disease. HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is often dubbed “good cholesterol” because it travels through the bloodstream, removing harmful cholesterol from the arteries to help enhance heart health.
Foods to Eat
There’s no need to follow a low cholesterol diet to stay within the healthy LDL cholesterol range. Simply incorporating a few servings of foods that lower cholesterol in your diet per day can help decrease cholesterol levels and triglycerides to optimize the health of your heart.
Foods to Avoid
Cleaning up your diet is one of the most effective ways to reduce your LDL levels and enhance heart health. But there’s no reason to nix high cholesterol foods from your diet altogether; in fact, there is cholesterol in eggs, red meat, dairy products and other foods that can be included in moderation as part of a healthy diet.
While switching up your diet is often an effective method for reducing cholesterol levels all on its own, adding a few cholesterol-lowering supplements can boost the effects even more.