It’s common knowledge that having high levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol increases the risk of heart diseases. But there is nothing to fear as it’s a risk that can be lowered via natural ways that too without any medication – by following a few diet and lifestyle change.
You do not need to make any major changes in your diet or follow any rigorous exercising routine. All you need to do is swap out a few foods and replace them with some healthier options and just upgrade your workout routine.
For a better understanding of how certain foods and exercises help in lowering cholesterol naturally, let us first understand what are the types of cholesterols and how good or how bad are they for the body. Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is the ‘bad’ cholesterol and needs to be reduced while High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is the ‘good’ cholesterol which needs to be raised in the body.
Let us have a look at some natural ways that can help in controlling cholesterol:
Start eating heart-healthy foods
As mentioned earlier, you need to make a few changes in your diet to reduce cholesterol and improve heart health.
- Take saturated fats to a lower level: Reducing consumption of saturated fats can help in the reduction of your Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the ‘bad’ cholesterol). Saturated fats found in full-fat dairy products or red meat raises cholesterol. It is alright to have these foods maybe once in a couple of weeks but make sure you stick to small portions.
- Be friends with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids: Foods with omega-3 fatty acids do not affect the LDL cholesterol. Moreover, foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, flax seeds, chia seeds, cauliflower, roasted soybeans and fish oil, just to name a few also help in reducing blood pressure.
- Say no to trans fats: Trans fat is highly responsible for raising the overall cholesterol levels. Trans fat can majorly be found in store-bought cookies, cakes, pastries etc. Furthermore, when you go grocery shopping avoid picking the oil that reads ‘partially hydrogenated oil’ on the package. This is nothing but just a fancy name for Trans fat.
- Add soluble fibre to your diet: Soluble fibre is found in foods like oats, citrus fruits, peas, kidney beans, apples, brussels sprouts, pears etc. Making these foods a part of your meal will help reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Increase your physical activities
Once you swap your foods with the ones mentioned above, you are already halfway successful in lowering your cholesterol. The other half success depends on your workout routine. Exercising can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, (the ‘good’ cholesterol).
It is advisable to workout for at least 30 minutes five times a week. Moreover, it is a great idea to add physical activities in short intervals throughout the day – this can help you lose weight too. Some of the physical activities you can opt for are:
- Take a brisk walk after lunch
- Take the stairs when possible
- Play a sport that interests you
- Find an exercise partner or join group training sessions
Last but not least, quit smoking as this improves the HDL cholesterol level. Also, always count on your calories and aim at losing weight. Lifestyle and diet changes can help keep medication dose low. It’s time to discover a healthier, happier and confident you!
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