Updated: Feb 3
Cholesterol plays a vital role in our body’s ability to build new and healthy cells. But our lifestyle, diet and hereditary genes may result in higher levels of cholesterol than our bodies can handle. Excess cholesterol in the blood can be very harmful. It can clog and damage arteries and eventually result in reducing blood supply to the heart. In the long-term it can increase the risk of heart diseases, stroke and diabetes.
Luckily there are natural ways to lower your cholesterol levels, reduce your risk and live a longer and happier life. In this video I will discuss some of the easiest, natural ways to lower your cholesterol.
Symptoms of High Cholesterol:
The human body makes all the cholesterol that it requires to function properly, but since cholesterol is also found in the food you eat, your cholesterol levels can easily increase and cause health risks without you even noticing. Unlike other health conditions, high cholesterol does not have any symptoms or physical signs. Since you cannot really feel whether you have high or normal levels of cholesterol, it is important to have your blood test done.
The blood test will measure the amount of key lips in your blood like LDL, HDL, Triglycerides and total cholesterol. If you tests show that you have high cholesterol then you might be recommended to go on a low-cholesterol diet and be more active with exercise. In some cases medication may be prescribed.
Types of cholesterol
Like fat, cholesterol does not dissolve in water. Instead its transport in the body depends on the molecules called lipoproteins which carry cholesterol, fat and fat soluble vitamins in the blood.
Two types of cholesterol:
LDL - low density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol - It is responsible for carrying cholesterol from the liver into the cells. Too much LDL can make plaque in your arteries, putting you at risk for hardened arteries, heart disease and vascular issues.
HDL - high density lipoprotein or good cholesterol - It does the opposite. It takes cholesterol away from the cells and then back to the liver which breaks the cholesterol down and removes it from the body. This actually helps remove that bad cholesterol from your bloodstream.
If you have high cholesterol levels, it usually means you have too much LDL and not enough HDL.
Cholesterol buildup is preventable if you know how to control your cholesterol intake. High cholesterol is not a disease, but it can lead to more serious health issues when left uncontrolled.
The risk factors are important to note as they help you make diet changes as early as possible and prevent from developing any serious health issues. Some of the risk factors are:
- Poor diet
- Inactivity and lack of exercise
- Family history of high cholesterol or cardio vascular conditions
- Pre-existing conditions like diabetes and thyroid
- Certain medication
Many of these risk factors can be addressed and reversed with simple lifestyle changes.
Eating healthier, more balanced diet, introducing physical activity and exercise into your routine and quitting smiling are great ways to prevent other health risks.
How to Lower your Cholesterol by Changing your Diet
The natural approach to lowering cholesterol is always better as it involves lifestyle changes and is more sustainable in the long-term. Choosing a more balanced diet is a good way to beat high cholesterol.
There are different kinds of foods that are known to help cleanse your choelstol build up and all of them offer high levels of essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.
List of foods to include in your diet:
Legumes (kidney beans, red beans, black beans, pinto beans)
Whole grains (barley, quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal)
Fruits (pineapple, blueberries, avocados and grapes)
Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, horse-radish, mustard greens, radishes, water-cress)
Nuts and Seeds (almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pecan nuts and pistachios)
Bee pollen and raw honey
Oils (olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil and sesame oil)
Fish (tuna, salmon, trout, sardines, herring, mackerel)
Others (garlic, onions, ginger, cinnamon and fresh herbs)
It is important to eat whole foods that are high in fibre, vitamins and essential oils to keep you strong and healthy. Include these foods:
Foods high in soluble fibre: Oats / oatmeal - contains high soluble fibre. This reduces the LDL levels and therefore reducing the absorption of harmful cholesterol in your blood. Other foods high in soluble fibre include apples, kidney beams, prunes, pears and barley.
Foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids that will help reduce blood cholesterol and keep blood vessels healthy. A handful of nuts a day (40gms) can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease. They should not be fried, or coated with sugar or salt. These include walnuts, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pecans. Note that nuts are high in calories so you should limit yourself to a handful a day to avoid gaining weight.
Foods rich in Omega 3 Fatty acids. Eating fatty fish is very good for your heart health as it contains high levels of good fats or omega 3 fatty acids. This helps reduce blood pressure and lower risk of developing blood clots. If you are a vegetarian you can take fish oil supplements.
High cholesterol affects our health in many ways. It mainly affects the circulatory system and heart. Since high cholesterol does not manifest physically, effects tend to develop and worsen over the course of years without your knowledge. Most disease that arise from high cholesterol are due to narrowing and hardening of the arteries. This occurs when plaques of cholesterol buildup on arterial walls, narrowing, hardening and sometimes completely blocking blood passage through the arteries. This is a common cause of angina (chest pain), heart attack, coronary heart disease, stroke.
How to Lower your Cholesterol by changing your lifestyle
Get Regular physical activity
Some spices are not just used for cooking. They can be used as home remedies for lowering your cholesterol.
Garlic - natural remedy for heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Cloves - help lower cholesterol
Ginger - is also effective in reducing cholesterol as it contains antioxidants.
Black pepper - helps lower blood cholesterol and decreasing blood clotting
Curry leaves - great for treating high cholesterol, diabetes and liver problems
Buttermilk - helps lower cholesterol when used with a handful of curry leaves.
Honey - reduces bad cholesterol in blood and rich in antioxidants.
Lowering your cholesterol levels is a long commitment. I hope you found the diet and life styles changes I shared useful and start to include some in your life.
If you would like to discuss how nutrition can help treat your chronic health problems naturally, then click here to book a free 15min consultation with me.
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