A high Cholesterol level is among the top most predisposing factors to development and exacerbation of cardiac disorders. This is because cholesterol accumulates on blood vessels, narrowing their lumen and subsequently reducing the supply of blood to the heart and other parts of the body. It is therefore important that the levels of cholesterol in the body are reduced to safe levels. Generally, this is a total cholesterol level of below 200mg, but this is subject to variation because of genetic and clinical variations among individuals. Of note however is that High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) are good for your body and are known as the good cholesterol and the Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) are the ones harmful to your body, and are consequently known as the bad cholesterol. While there are medical methods of reducing cholesterol, such as the use of drugs known as statins, natural methods offer safer and more cost effective methods to reduce cholesterol naturally. Below is a detailed list on the various ways to cut down on the cholesterol levels in the body naturally
Adoption of unsaturated fats is the first step towards reducing your cholesterol levels. These are fats that are derived from plants. The major contributors to cholesterol build-up in the body are trans fats, dietary fats and saturated fats. Trans fats refer to the fats that have been partially or wholly hydrogenated while dietary and saturated fats refer to those fats that are derived from animals. Popular among those that make packaged baked products and among fast food retailers because they prolong shelf life and are reusable respectively, trans fats are detrimental to your health. While they are lesser contributors compared to trans fats, dietary and saturated fats e.g. fats from eggs, lard oil, butter and red meat still play a major role in elevating cholesterol levels.
As such, switching to unsaturated fats is highly recommended. These include; sunflower oil, canola oil, grape seed oil, peanut oil among others. Another excellent source of unsaturated fats is the omega-3 oils. These oils derived from fish e.g. mackerel, tuna, salmon are healthy alternatives to the saturated fats. You should also consider changing your margarine spread, preferably to one that has been fortified with sterols.
This is the next step. Adoption of foods that are rich in fibre is essential to reduce cholesterol naturally. This is because fibre reduces the levels of low density lipoproteins, the bad cholesterol, in the body. Therefore, foods like oats, fruits and vegetables, brown rice and brown sugar are crucial are a must add to the diet plan you are on. Remember to also minimize on the amounts of refined and processed carbohydrates that you take, as this serve to further increase the cholesterol levels in your body.
As a plus also, is the fact that fruits and vegetables in addition to having high amounts of fibre also contain micro-molecules known as stanols and phytosterols. Stanols work by reducing the levels of bad cholesterol in the body while phytosterols, bearing structural resemblance to cholesterol, block the absorption of cholesterol in the blood. The levels of cholesterol are therefore significantly reduced by these two compounds.
A change of lifestyle is also essential in reducing the levels of cholesterol in the body. Adoption of a proactive lifestyle contributes majorly in the reduction of cholesterol in the body. However, the exercises that play a role in the reduction of cholesterol levels are the aerobic exercises. These are those that are designed to use oxygen for the metabolic energy requirements of the body. These include outdoor activities such as cycling, walking, running and swimming among others. Indoor activities may include; climbing stairs, elliptical training, treadmill and stationary bicycles. These exercises also improve the cardiac function of an individual.
Better Drinking Habits
Research has indicated that moderate intake of alcohol increases the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) in the body by up to 10%. Wine has also been reported to lower the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body. As such, taking a glass a day may prove to be very beneficial to your cardiac health. However, appropriate caution and discipline is required as over indulgence has a counterproductive effect.
Substituting the sugary beverages and the sodas with green tea is another excellent alternative to drop the levels of bad cholesterol. Extracts of green tea have also been formulated to aid in the lowering of cholesterol levels.
Finally, use of natural supplements such as psyllium husks (metamucil) may also reduce the levels of cholesterol in the body. The important thing to note is that adoption of a combination of the above methods serves to lower the levels of cholesterol better.