The Power of Simple Diet Changes
How to Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally
Struggling with high cholesterol and worried it will impact your health? Simple diet changes can help you substantially reduce your cholesterol and risk of heart disease and stroke.
Cholesterol is natural. It’s produced by the liver. Your body uses it for the proper function of your cells, nerves, and hormones. Unfortunately, you can have too much of a good thing when your body produces more cholesterol than it needs.
This can cause plaque to build up in your arteries, reduce blood flow, and cause blood clots. Not only can high cholesterol and its symptoms reduce your quality of life, it can lead to a heart attack or stroke – potentially ending your life.
Luckily, high cholesterol isn’t something you have to accept. By learning how to lower your cholesterol naturally, you can reduce your chance of a life-threatening event.
11 Foods the Lower Cholesterol Naturally
Modifying your diet is one of the absolute best ways to lower your cholesterol naturally. Foods that promote blood flow, reduce inflammation, and support weight loss all help your body naturally cleanse excess plaque in your bloodstream.
As you consider what foods to eat to lower cholesterol, remember excess body weight can also hamper your body’s ability to naturally reduce its cholesterol. In order to promote weight loss, you’ll want to enjoy all foods in moderation.
1. Olive oil
High in monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil is another excellent food choice to help lower your cholesterol. It’s particularly useful in making your own salad dressings – which is a good way to keep your sugar intake low. (More about sugar below.)
2. Salmon & Fatty Fish
New research suggests that Omega-3s – found in salmon and other fatty fish – don’t actually reduce the risk of heart disease. That being said, these fatty acids could help promote a healthier life. According to a 2013 study by Loma Linda University, replacing saturated fat with omega 3s could raise your good cholesterol. In large part, we believe this is because you’re eliminating saturated fat – a huge culprit of high cholesterol.
Avocados are one of the best heart-healthy, cholesterol-smashing food choices you can make. Loaded with healthy, plant-based fat and tons of nutrients, these green puppies deliver creamy flavor your taste buds and your digestive tract will love.
Sometimes referred to as the ‘Avocado Lady,’ Gaby Dalkin from What’s Gaby Cooking knows a thing or two about this beautiful fruit. Her first book, Absolutely Avocados, is a roundup of traditional and nontraditional menu selections. You’ll also find a variety of avocado-focused recipes on her blog.
Even those on the strictest of diets need to snack from time to time. This is especially true when you’re out and about for the day. When you’re on the go and suddenly hungry, it can be all too easy to pick up something that doesn’t help your goals to lower your cholesterol. Nuts are high in healthy fats that can help you curb your hunger and reduce your cravings.
Additionally, according to the 2001 study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, walnuts are not only healthier than French fries, they can help lower cholesterol by as much as 5.4%.
In a 2010 study published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, researchers found a correlation between onions and a reduction in cholesterol. High in sulfur, onions can help cleanse your arteries. Red onions, in particular, were found to be helpful.
Loaded with nutrients, the leafy greens of spinach can help guard against heart attacks and keep your cholesterol in check. Research suggests that even just a ½ cup of greens each day can help substantially reduce plaque in your arteries and promote weight loss.
Beans, beans the magical fruit. The more you eat, the better your heart feels! In a 2007 study, researchers at Arizona State University Polytechnic found that beans could contribute to lower cholesterol. High in fiber, the benefits of this protein-rich choice are linked to its ability to reduce the absorption rate of cholesterol.
Three cheers for this one! Dark chocolate and bittersweet chocolate has been found to help increase good cholesterol. It’s also loaded with antioxidants that help keep blood platelets from sticking together and clogging your arteries.
Though not great for your breath, the delicious zing of garlic can also help prevent blood clots, reduce blood pressure, and keep your cholesterol in check.
High fiber foods are a fantastic way to lower your cholesterol. Switching from sugar-packed cereal made with refined flour to a hearty oat breakfast can help promote the excretion of cholesterol.
11. Red Wine
Cheers to your health! In a 2017 article published in the University Daily News, researchers explore how red wine can help lower cholesterol – when consumed in moderation.
5 High Cholesterol Foods to Avoid
1. Trans Fat (Hydrogenated Fat)
Trans fat is a processed fat. It comes from vegetables, excreted through a process known as hydrogenation (thus its hydrogenated fat label). This unnatural fat can increase your risk of heart disease and raise your cholesterol levels. It’s also found in processed foods, such as cookies, cakes, and crackers. You’ll also find it in chips, margarine and microwave popcorn.
2. Saturated Fat
Saturated fat is solid – fat that’s solid at room temperature. It often comes from animals, such as cows and pigs. Leaner cuts of meat (such as chicken breast, turkey breast, and the pork loin from a pig) typically have less saturated fat. If you’re trying to reduce your cholesterol, you want to stay away from saturated fat, as this solid fat can clog your arteries.
A 2016 study explores the correlation between sugar, heart disease, and high cholesterol. The study specifically looked at processed sugar, the refined white grains that are often loaded in processed foods like cookies, crackers, and chips. You’ll also find sugar in salad dressings, many pre-made meals, and most ‘low-calorie’ or ‘fat-free’ options.
While research shows red wine in moderation can help you lower cholesterol, an overindulgence in alcoholic beverages can actually stimulate the production of cholesterol.
Caffeine is another cholesterol trigger. Too much can cause your body to overproduce cholesterol, leading to a buildup in your arteries.
Exercise Helps Naturally Lower Cholesterol
Working out isn’t just about looking good in your swimsuit, though that can definitely be a perk. More importantly, exercise is among the top natural ways to lower your cholesterol. Exercise promotes blood flow, helping to remove plaque buildup in your arteries. It also promotes weight loss, another culprit of high cholesterol.
You should always consult your medical professional before beginning any new workout routine. A place that’s often recommended to start is with walking. Here are nine ways to incorporate more steps into your day.
If you find working out is tough because you’re incredibly busy, use these simple tips to maintain your health with a healthy lifestyle.
And, if you’re still trying to limit your time in public, use these tips to lose weight at home.
Hormone Imbalances Can Elevate Your Cholesterol Unnecessarily
When you’re battling high cholesterol, it’s not the cholesterol that’s the cause. Cholesterol is the symptom. That’s why at Premier Integrative our naturopathic doctors treat the entire patient. We evaluate your overall well-being, so we can help you correct any deficiencies you’re facing and achieve the high quality of life you want.
During our thorough evaluation, we'll take a close look at your hormone levels and identify any imbalances you may be facing. By using bi-identical hormone therapy to help naturally balance your hormone levels, we can promote better cholesterol numbers.