Cholesterol is a natural, necessary substance found in every cell in our bodies. It helps with digestion, hormone production and assists in making Vitamin D. Our bodies make all the cholesterol they need. However, we can develop issues with cholesterol either from our diets or an imbalance in how our bodies handle it. One common issue with cholesterol is that it can contribute to plaque building up in our arteries, leading to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Luckily, it’s possible to safely and easily lower your cholesterol on your own.
More than Two Types of Cholesterol
There are several elements to cholesterol. In a normal cholesterol test, LDL (sometimes called the “bad”), and HDL (often referred to as the “good”) are measured. However, newer science shows that there is more to cholesterol than just HDL and LDL. The size of the particles makes a difference as well. LDL has small and large particles, large particles are safer than small. Same with HDL – the particle size matters and types of HDL make a difference. You can have an expanded cholesterol test to learn more about how your body is using cholesterol and see if you’re really at risk for problems from cholesterol elevation. Depending on your these results, you can make certain lifestyle changes that will help lower your risk of problems.
Add The Right Foods
I like to start with adding healthy, good nutrients before I tell you to remove all the bad ones. Start by adding at least one serving of something really good for you each day. Try adding a serving of fiber-rich vegetables and fruits, good fats like avocados and walnuts, and omega-3 rich fish. Add herbs like turmeric and rosemary, which are anti-inflammatory. Season your food with fresh, natural seasonings like garlic and onions, which are cleansing to the arteries. Instead of grabbing a packaged snack or fast food on the go, prepare your meals in advance. Try to keep a mix of nuts or a piece of fruit with you so that you always have something healthy in a food emergency.
Eliminate Problem Foods
No matter which type of cholesterol you have, certain foods are just bad for you. One of the first steps to make today is to eliminate foods that contribute to a higher LDL. These include trans-fats found in fried foods and packaged snacks, foods made from white flour, sugary foods, alcohol, and caffeine. These foods also have other negative effects on the body including inflammation and blood sugar spikes. Resolve to limit or eliminate them completely.
Choose Supplements to Support Your Goals
There are many supplements that claim to lower your cholesterol. The following are beneficial for lowering your bad cholesterol, raising your HDL, and supporting your overall health:
- Red Yeast Rice – acts in a similar manner to Lipitor
- Fish oil – helps raise your HDL and thins your blood so it’s less likely to be sticky
- Niacin – opens your blood vessels
- Green Tea – improves blood flow and lowers cholesterol
- Fiber – increased fiber in your diet can help lower cholesterol and change it’s distribution to healthier forms
- CoQ10 – helps your cells on every level, reduces side effects of cholesterol-lowering medication
Stress has a negative effect on nearly every aspect of our health. Prolonged periods of stress increase the amount of cortisol in our bodies, which can raise LDL levels. Reducing stress is one of the best ways you can improve your health.
Exercise and Acupuncture
Increasing movement and shedding excess weight is a wonderful way to lower your LDL. Find an exercise you enjoy, such as walking around a local park or practicing yoga with a friend.
Acupuncture is another excellent way to increase your overall health, reduce stress, and lower your cholesterol.
If you’re worried about your risks of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, or other complications from high cholesterol, start to practice these habits today. Not only will they contribute to a healthy cholesterol level, they’ll also support your overall health.