Cholesterol in and of itself is not a bad thing. It’s a substance your body uses to coat cell membranes as well as to produce hormones and vitamin D.
However, high cholesterol is a silent but deadly problem that indicates a risk for heart disease. This risk increases as you age because your body is less able to regulate blood cholesterol levels efficiently.
It is common for doctors to resort to cholesterol lowering drugs to treat this. But these drugs come with their own host of potentially serious side effects, such as liver damage, neurological issues and an increase in blood sugar which may lead to type 2 diabetes.
The good news is, it’s fairly simple to decrease your cholesterol levels without drugs. Below are 5 things you can do starting today to accomplish this.
1. 30 minutes of exercise.
Exercise expels excess “bad” LDL cholesterol. If you’re starting from a sedentary lifestyle, start off slow and work up to 30 or more minutes a day of moderate to vigorous exercise such as walking, jogging or swimming.
2. Read food labels.
Avoid processed foods that contain partially hydrogenated fats, also known as “trans fats.” Trans fats are used to provide shelf stability, but come with the high price of increasing LDL levels. Trans fats are found in commercial baked and fried foods like french fries, pizza, crackers, cookies, doughnuts, microwave popcorn and even coffee creamer.
3. Consider a plant-based diet.
Did you know that your body is capable of making its own cholesterol even if you never consume any? The only foods that contain cholesterol are animal based foods – meat, dairy and eggs. Drop these foods and you should see cholesterol levels go down. Plant based diets also naturally increase dietary fiber, which further decreases cholesterol levels.
4. Go low fat.
No matter what diet you choose in the long term, stay low fat, ideally at 15% of your overall diet or less. Preparing your own foods without overusing processed oils will go a long way toward improving cholesterol health.
5. Leave these 2 habits behind.
Soda can increase cholesterol levels as much as 11%. Smoking lowers your “good” HDL cholesterol and contributes to developing heart disease. Now may be the time to let these habits go.
Consider these natural ways before resorting to drugs. Do several of these things and you should see a decrease in your cholesterol levels in just one week. Do all of these and your problem may disappear… for good!