*This is a collaborative guest post
Cholesterol is a waxy compound in the human body that is responsible to make healthy cells. When this substance gets too much in your body, it may create deposits or plaques that accumulate on artery walls. Increased cholesterol levels rise the risk of heart attacks and heart disease. You can lower your cholesterol naturally by making these seven lifestyle changes.
1. Engage in Physical Activities
After getting the doctor’s approval, do a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activities 5x a week to lower your cholesterol naturally. Vigorous aerobic activities can be performed for 20 minutes just three times a week. It will help in increasing good cholesterol – HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein). You can try playing your favourite sport, daily walking during lunchtime, or riding your cycle.
2. Moderate Alcohol Use
Increased and regular alcohol use increases the cholesterol level. Drinking alcohol in moderation is associated with more HDL cholesterol levels. So, drink alcohol moderately. However, it doesn’t mean you should start having alcohol if you don’t already drink it. 2 drinks per day are enough for less than 65-year-old men; 1 drink for 65+ age men and women of all ages.
3. Say No to Smoking
Smoking can lift the level of LDL and lower HDL. Hence, quitting smoking does exactly the opposite of that i.e. improved HDL and reduced LDL. Quitting smoking within 20 minutes will recover your heart rate and BP from a cigarette-prompted point. Within 3 months, you’ll improve lung working and blood circulation. Within 12 months, it will reduce heart disease risk.
4. Consume Heart-Friendly Food
Eat heart-friendly food for reduced cholesterol levels and a healthier heart. Foods having omega-3 fatty acids such as mackerel, flaxseeds, salmon, walnuts, and herring are good for the heart. Whey protein, available in dairy items reduces LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. Soluble fibre food such as kidney beans, apples, and oatmeal also reduce cholesterol.
5. Reduce Trans Fats Intake
Avoid having trans fats, which are present in store-bought crackers, cakes, cookies, and margarine. Sometimes, trans fat is also listed as ‘partially hydrogenated vegetable oil’. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has even banned partially hydrogenated vegetable oil use by 1 Jan 2021 as it increases total cholesterol levels.
6. Eliminate Saturated Fats
Saturated fats, mainly available in full-fat dairy products and meat, enhance total cholesterol. Hence, reducing the intake of saturated fats will help in reducing the level of bad cholesterol – LDL (low-density lipoprotein). Rather than saturated fats, consume monounsaturated fats like olive oil, avocados, nut butter, canola oil, nuts, and olives.
7. Get Rid of Excess Weight
Obesity or carrying excess weight can increase the risk of high cholesterol levels. About 10 pounds of increased fat develop approximately 10mg of cholesterol a day. According to research, losing 5-10% of weight reduces LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. Drink tap water rather than sugary drinks, do physical activities, and keep track of your calories.
High cholesterol creates fatty deposits in the blood vessels that affect the flow of the blood via arteries. Sometimes, these fatty deposits break abruptly and build a clot which is a major cause of heart stroke or attack, which may lead to even the worst results. So, practice the above tips and always try to stay relaxed to keep your cholesterol level optimum. Stress can take your cholesterol through the roof.