Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol

High cholesterol is a potentially deadly problem for nearly four in 10 American adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many of these people don’t even know they are suffering, since the artery-clogging problem is symptom-free and can only be revealed by a blood test. That’s why The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that US adults get their cholesterol levels checked every four to six years.

Not all cholesterol is created equal. Some of the waxy, fatty stuff circulating in our blood actually helps our bodies out, while other forms of cholesterol can lead to deadly heart disease and strokes.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is known as the bad-guy cholesterol, because it can build up inside your blood vessels, making it harder for blood to circulate efficiently. If too much LDL cholesterol builds up, it can form clots.

But there is a good-guy type of cholesterol, too. This is called high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and it’s good because it binds itself to extra doses of cholesterol in our blood and carries the surplus out to the liver.

It’s important to maintain good LDL-to-HDL cholesterol ratios in the bloodstream because high LDL cholesterol can kill. While you should aim to keep your “bad” cholesterol number below 100 milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood (mg/dL), it’s also important to keep the “good” cholesterol in the body above 40 mg/dL. In fact, some studies have shown that people without enough of the “good” cholesterol can increase their risk of early death.

You should always aim for a total cholesterol level lower than 200 mg/dL, though.

Here are a few simple, straightforward, and delicious ways to reduce your risk of developing high cholesterol:

Stand up more often, and jump around.

Studies have shown that in addition to prompting more pudge around the waistline, sitting can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Dr. James Levine from the Mayo Clinic explains that standing up and moving around can help break down fats and sugars more efficiently in the body. When we sit, the fat and sugar-processing stops.

So get up and move around periodically during the day. Your body and your brain will both thank you.

Start the day with heart-healthy oats.

A cup of cooked oats has about 2 grams of soluble fiber inside, which is key for reducing bad cholesterol. Oat fiber can also help control blood sugar levels, making it a good choice for people with diabetes. Add in some fruit for an even bigger, tastier fiber boost.

Go nuts.

Scientists are discovering just how beneficial the protein in nuts and seeds can be for our bodies. A 2018 study of more than 81,000 people in North America found that participants who consumed just a handful of mixed nuts a day could lower their bad, LDL cholesterol levels, and decrease their risk of developing deadly heart problems threefold.

Monounsaturated fats can also lower bad LDL cholesterol levels.

These include many oils that are liquid at room temperature, like olive oil, peanut oil, and sesame oil. Choose them over fats that are solid at room temperature, like coconut, butter, and lard.

Polyunsaturated fats are another great way to lower LDL cholesterol levels. They include many fatty fish, as well as seeds like chia and flax.

Fish like tuna and salmon also have essential omega-3 fatty acids inside that can slow down the buildup of dangerous heart-clogging plaques, and reduce the amount of fat in your blood.

Fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna are all great options.

Munching beans and other fiber-rich foods can reduce how much cholesterol gets absorbed in your bloodstream.

The Mayo Clinic suggests aiming for at least 5 to 10 grams of soluble, cholesterol-lowering fiber a day. Black beans, which are the most fiber-filled bean around, carry about 5 grams per cup.

Avocados are a darling food with dietitians these days, and they’re also a good way to reduce bad cholesterol in the body.

According to research from Penn State, a five-week diet of an avocado a day can decrease a person’s LDL cholesterol number by around 13.5 mg/dL.
After that rich and fatty avocado, you might want some dessert. Go with fruits like apples, grapes, or strawberries to perform double-duty for your heart health. These fruits, when ripe, are high in pectin, a jelly-like soluble fiber than can lower bad cholesterol levels.

30 minutes or more of regular aerobic movement, done most days of the week, can up the good cholesterol levels in the body. But staying active won’t help reduce bad cholesterol much unless you pair it with healthy eating habits.

That’s why it’s also important to limit saturated fats from things like cheese, red meat and butter that can raise one’s total cholesterol.

Enjoy these foods in moderation, and avoid the artery-clogging trans fats and interesterified fats found in some processed foods at all costs.

Source: businessinsider.com/how-to-lower-your-cholesterol-2018-5

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