High cholesterol affects millions of people in the United States, and many don’t even know it. One reason may be that high cholesterol often has no symptoms at all, so many people go years without realizing they have high cholesterol or what they can do about it to lower their cholesterol numbers naturally and safely. But what to do if you’re one of those people with high cholesterol?
Your Main Goal: Lower Your LDL
A high-cholesterol diet can lead to health problems, including heart disease. If you have high cholesterol, you may be able to lower it by changing your diet. Your LDL (bad) cholesterol can be decreased by eating meals low in saturated fat and cholesterol. High-fiber foods can also assist in reducing LDL cholesterol.
Step One: Avoid Fried Foods
Eating fried foods can increase your cholesterol levels. Avoiding fried foods is advised by the American Heart Association to help decrease cholesterol. Try baked, grilled, or roasted foods instead of fried when cooking at home. Avoid fried foods and ask how the food is prepared when eating out. Many restaurants offer healthier options that are not fried.
Saturated fat is also found in large quantities in processed meats like bacon, sausage, and deli meats. To help lower your cholesterol, reduce the amount of these items you consume.
Step Two: Replace White Flour with Whole Wheat
If you have high cholesterol, you may wonder what diet you should follow. One simple change you can make is to replace white flour with whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour is not only more nutritious, but it can also help lower your cholesterol levels.
Step Three: Go Low Fat (If Needed)
Your doctor may prescribe medication if you cannot lower your cholesterol through diet and lifestyle changes alone. You must choose a low-fat diet in this situation. Consequently, you should consume no more than 30% of your calories as fat. Eating lean protein, good fats, and complex carbohydrates is the most effective method.
Avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of saturated and trans fats. A low-fat diet can help reduce cholesterol levels and improve overall health.
Step Four: Focus on Omega-3s
You should focus on getting more omega-3s in your diet if you have high cholesterol. Omega-3s are a type of unsaturated fat that can help reduce your cholesterol levels. They can be discovered in flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and herring. Incorporate additional sources of omega-3s into your diet in addition to two weekly meals of fatty fish.
Step Five: Get Physical Activity
Moderate physical activity can help raise your HDL (good) cholesterol and lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol. Additionally, engaging in physical exercise can assist with weight loss, LDL lowering, and HDL boosting. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise most days of the week. But if you can’t do that all at once, even 10-minute sessions throughout the day can help.
Other Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol
Aside from the steps specified above, there are other ways to lower your cholesterol:
1. Eat plenty of soluble fiber. This type of fiber absorbs cholesterol and helps remove it from your body. Oats, beans, lentils, barley, apples, citrus fruits, and psyllium husk contain soluble fiber.
2. Add niacin-rich foods to your diet. Niacin is a type of B vitamin that can help lower cholesterol levels. Good sources of niacin include tuna, salmon, chicken breast, and fortified cereals. Studies have shown that taking niacin as a supplement reduces cholesterol levels by 10% to 15%.
3. Cut back on saturated fats – this includes animal products like red meat, butter, and cheese – which increase LDL (harmful) cholesterol levels in the blood.