Keeping your cholesterol levels low does not have to be a drug-filled adventure. There are numerous (and cheap!) ways to lower your cholesterol that do not involve popping a pill. To maintain a healthy level of cholesterol, it is crucial to know these eight drug-free ways to lower your cholesterol levels.
8. Drink Tea
Tea is the second most common drink in the world, and for good reason. Tea, specifically green tea, has been linked to preventing cancer, easing arthritis, and maintaining oral health. It should not surprise you to learn that green tea can also reduce your cholesterol levels. An ingredient named catenin extract is responsible for the cholesterol-lowering effects. Catenin extract is proven to prevent the absorption of cholesterol during digestion, lower LDL levels, and raise HDL levels. Oolong and black tea are also known to lower cholesterol, though not as much as green tea.
7. Get More Fiber in Your Diet
Dietary fiber is a natural way to get rid of cholesterol. Dietary fiber attaches to cholesterol and can lower LDL levels by 5%. Most people find it difficult to naturally get enough fiber in their diet. Highly processed foods that are usually present in fast food and refined grains do not contain enough fiber to maintain a healthy diet. Foods that are known for containing high fiber include oatmeal, whole wheat spaghetti, and grapefruit, among many others. Fiber is also a requirement in any healthy diet, as it is a cheap way to stay full and curb cravings.
6. Eat a Low-Fat Diet
Following a low-fat diet is essential to eating healthy and lowering cholesterol. Saturated fats are dense in cholesterol and can raise your LDL levels. Even though saturated fats are bad, trans fats are even worse because they reduce HDL levels while simultaneously raising LDL levels. Removing these types of fats can reduce the risk of heart attack by up to 55 percent. Societies with a low-fat diet have a much lower risk of heart attack and stroke than countries with a western diet.
5. Eat Omega-3 Fatty Acids
If you are going to be eating fats, you might as well be eating the good ones. Omega-3 fatty acids are molecules that do not affect your LDL cholesterol. What they are effective at is increasing HDL levels, reducing blood pressure, and reducing triglycerides. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish like salmon, herring, and mackerel. If you do not have the time to prepare these types of fish or just do not like the taste of fish, you can obtain omega-3 fatty acids through fish oil. They can also be found in foods like walnuts, flaxseed, and almonds.
4. Eat Whey Protein
Most people only think of whey protein as being what bodybuilders use to build muscle. These people may be surprised to learn that whey protein can lower cholesterol. Studies have proven that taking whey protein as a supplement can reduce LDL levels and lower your cholesterol. When compared to taking casein protein, whey protein lowered cholesterol more than casein over a 12-week period. Whey protein is a type of dairy, so it can be found in all dairy products and by itself as a supplement.Related: 20 Foods That Help Lower Cholesterol
3. Quit Smoking
If you are worried about having high cholesterol, smoking is definitely not a smart habit to keep. Smoking raises the risk of numerous health issues, many of which are aggravated by high cholesterol. In addition to raising your risk of developing heart disease and high blood pressure, cigarette smoke actually lowers your HDL (the “good” kind of cholesterol) levels. Quitting smoking will greatly reduce your risk of heart disease and raise your HDL levels immediately. It will take years to completely reduce the risks associated with smoking, but it is well worth it.
2. Keep Alcohol Consumption Moderate
Binge drinking comes with a whole slew of negative effects, including high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke. Binge drinking can also raise the amount of cholesterol in your body greatly. It may seem that people should swear off alcohol completely, but drinking in moderation can actually raise HDL levels. It is recommended that for adults who already drink to limit their daily alcohol consumption to one drink a day or less for women and two drinks or less for men, depending on age.
1. Get More Exercise
Maintaining a healthy schedule of exercise is a great way to combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle and lower your cholesterol. Exercise raises HDL (the good cholesterol) levels, and can reduce your risk of heart attack by 25%. Exercise doesn’t need to just be restricted to running or biking. Weight training, playing sports, and many other forms of cardio are also effective at lowering cholesterol. The important thing is to get off of the couch, get outside, and get moving more.Related: Lower Bad Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure with this Concoction