If you are trying to reduce cholesterol but do not want to jump to medications, some lifestyle changes can help.
These seven lifestyle changes can reduce your cholesterol naturally. As always, consult your doctor about what is best to keep you healthy.
What is Cholesterol?
If a doctor recommends lowering your cholesterol, they want you to reduce your low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Your LDL cholesterol is one of the five major groups transporting fat around the body. Many call it “bad cholesterol” since too-high levels can clog your arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease.
Your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is your “good cholesterol,” which reduces your LDL levels by transporting the fat in your blood back to your liver for filtration.
To stay healthy, keep your LDL low by raising your HDL. Here are some ways to do that process naturally.
Make Healthy Snack Swaps
People say food is medicine, and while that isn’t always true, a diet filled with nutritious food can make a huge difference in your cholesterol levels.
Eating healthy foods can increase your good cholesterol and decrease your bad cholesterol. Some foods are better than others.
To lower your cholesterol, start changing your diet through your snacks. Here are some healthy foods that lower cholesterol fast.
- Vegetable Oils
- Fatty Fish
- Citrus Fruits
By snacking smart, you can learn what flavors and recipes appeal most to you and start incorporating the foods into your meals.
Discover An Active Hobby
Exercise is a vital part of staying healthy and research shows that increasing your activity level increases your HDL cholesterol, decreasing your LDL cholesterol.
If you do not enjoy the exercise you get, you are less likely to stick with it, quickly undoing many of the benefits you gain from doing it. Instead of sticking to push-ups and sit-ups, try enjoyable activities that keep you moving.
Active hobbies include swimming, bike riding, hiking, skiing and dancing. Any activity that gets you on your feet and living a more active lifestyle is a great opti
Keep An Eye on Your Weight
No one can tell you a specific number your weight should stay, but being in the overweight or obese range for your body mass index increases your risk of high LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Research shows that being just 10 pounds overweight causes your body to produce more cholesterol.
An important note is that you need not be overweight to experience bad cholesterol. Slim people can get sky-high cholesterol based on genetics and how they care for their bodies.
Losing weight is easy for some but extremely difficult for others, with many contributing factors. If you struggle to take off extra pounds, you are not alone. Consult a physician, dietician or personal trainer to help you.
An often-overlook cause of high LDL cholesterol is mental distress. Chronic stress can also lower HDL cholesterol, hitting you with a double-whammy.
A common cause of stress for adults is the fear of failure. You might agonize about something you regret or events you will encounter. Worrying about the past or future while trying to focus on the present can overwhelm you.
Mindfulness is a method of grounding that helps you clear your mind, improving your mood and quieting the constant stream of consciousness. Meditation, deep breathing and grounding exercises can help you stay mindful and lower your bad cholesterol.
Start a Plan to Quit Smoking
If you are a smoker, this is your sign to quit. Smoking lowers your good cholesterol and raises your bad cholesterol – especially for women. These effects are just some deadly risk factors that occur by picking up a cigarette.
It doesn’t just affect you. Second-hand smoke can impact the cholesterol levels of those around you.
All that said, smoking is an addiction and quitting is harder than many non-smokers believe. Working with your doctor or an addiction specialist can help you fight off the condition.
Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
There are many reasons to moderate your alcohol use, and your cholesterol is one of them.
Consuming large amounts of alcohol can raise your LDL cholesterol. It also boosts triglycerides that combine with bad cholesterol to clog your arteries and increase your risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Women should stick to one drink daily, and men should limit their intake to two beverages to indulge and stay healthy.
Visit Your Doctor
Research shows that while adults are likely to keep up with their children’s wellness exams, they are less likely to go for their yearly physicals. Most insurance companies cover an annual wellness exam for each family member. However, some adults who feel healthy think the exam is a waste of time.
Men are the worst culprits of this phenomenon, with around ⅓ of American men rejecting the exams. Young adults often feel invincible, and parents or caretakers might put their needs aside until they fall ill.
When you attend your annual exam, you can evaluate your risk factors for many conditions, including high cholesterol. Based on your history and habits, you can set goals with your primary care physician to get healthier each year.
Lowering Your Cholesterol With Lifestyle Changes
What you do every day can have a powerful impact on your health. By making these changes, you can lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of disease and live a healthier, happier life.
Beth is the Managing Editor and content manager at Body+Mind. She shares knowledge on a variety of topics related to nutrition, healthy living, and anything food-related. In her spare time, Beth enjoys trying out new fitness trends and recipes.