9 tips to naturally lower your cholesterol:
If you have high cholesterol, you might be wondering where to start and what changes to make in your diet and lifestyle. Here are a few helpful tips to help you lower your “bad” LDL and total cholesterol and raise the “good” HDL cholesterol.
1. Avoid trans fats, also known as trans unsaturated fatty acid, which rise overall cholesterol levels. Trans fats are margarine, vegetable shortening, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and soybean oils, and are found in fried foods, baked foods, and in many processed and prepackaged foods. Make sure to check the ingredients on any prepackaged food.
2. Try reducing saturated fats such as red meat, chicken with skin on, pork, butter, cooking oils such as palm oil and coconut oil, cheese and other dairy products. Saturated fats can increase LDL cholesterol. You might be wondering what foods you can eat.
3. Start incorporating foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids in your diet such as salmon, deep sea tuna, trout, mackerel, herring, walnuts and flaxseeds. Omega-3 helps reduce LDL cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease.
4. Consume foods rich in monounsaturated fats such as avocados, tree nuts such as walnuts and almonds. Keep in mind to look at the ingredients and pay attention to what the nuts were roasted in. Better to eat them non roasted. Try using olive oil, sesame, and sunflower oils to cook with. Monounsaturated fats help reduce LDL and increase HDL.
5. Increasing soluble fiber in your diet can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. Gradually increase soluble fiber over time to decrease constipation, bloating, and stomach pain. Good sources of soluble fiber are found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains such as oatmeal and brown rice, legumes, and beans.
6. Exercising regularly can lower the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol. Get your doctor’s approval before starting any physical activity. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults get at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. Start with trying to incorporate regular exercise into your life by walking, hiking, jogging, swimming, cycling, playing a favorite sport, or resistance training with light weights.
7. Smoking can raise LDL and lower HDL. Once the smoking has stopped the HDL cholesterol level can improve.
8. When used in moderation alcohol can help increase HDL. The benefits are not strong enough to recommend alcohol for anyone who does not already drink. For healthy adults, one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than 65 years, and for men 65 years and younger up to two drinks a day.
9. Supplements such as coenzyme Q10, fish oil with omega-3 DHA and EPA, and psyllium have evidence to improve cholesterol levels.
Sources: Healthline, WebMD, MedicalNewsToday, and Mayo Clinic
About Shima: Shima graduated from the University of Arkansas with a BS in Microbiology in 1997 and worked at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences with the Infectious Disease Department on clinical trials for over 4 years. She then pursued a career change and graduated with her Doctorate degree from St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 2007. During her years enrolled in pharmacy school she worked part-time at St. Louis University, where she helped design a laboratory protocol for the BCG Vaccine Study, which received full funding in 2011.
Shima joined Sinks and Medley Pharmacy in September of 2014 as a pharmacist. She continually strives to focus on improving outcomes and raising the quality of life for patients with all types of medical ailments and conditions.