4 Natural Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol
Two out of every five adults are living with high cholesterol. And if you’re one of them, you may be wondering how to get your cholesterol under control.
We asked a cardiologist about cholesterol, why it’s a problem and the natural ways you can lower it.
But first, why is cholesterol a problem?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), known as “bad” cholesterol, can cause plaque buildup in the arteries.
“Bad cholesterol is a risk factor for coronary artery disease, heart attack or stroke,” says Marcin Dada, MD, cardiologist with Hartford HealthCare’s Heart & Vascular Institute at The Hospital of Central Connecticut.
Controlling your cholesterol starts with a simple blood test
A simple blood test ordered by a doctor can assess your cholesterol levels. From there, it’s all about the three C’s, says Dr. Dada.
“Check, change and control. People need to check their cholesterol levels and assess the risk with their doctor, change their diet to improve levels and control their cholesterol with regular blood work,” Dada explains.
4 ways to naturally lower your cholesterol
Medications can help lower cholesterol, but there are lifestyle changes that help improve your cholesterol. Here are four natural ways to do just that:
- Eat healthy foods: Experts recommend to reduce your intake of food with high saturated fats, such as baked goods, red meats and fried food. Oats, beans, apples, grapes, fish and nuts are some of the foods that can help lower your bad cholesterol.
- Quit smoking: Not only has smoking been shown to raise bad cholesterol levels, it also can increase your risk of complications like heart attack and stroke.
- Lose weight: Being even slightly overweight can contribute to high cholesterol.
- Exercise: Physical activity can help lower high cholesterol. But how much helps? “I recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week,” says Dada.
You may be more at risk if you have a family history of high cholesterol.
High levels of bad cholesterol can affect people of all ages, but it’s most prevalent in people between the ages of 40 and 59. A family history of high cholesterol and diabetes can also be contributing factors for some people.
“If anyone is concerned about their cholesterol levels or wants to check it, they should consult with their doctor or a medical professional,” says Dada.