Step by Step – How to Lower Cholesterol without Medication
Read this article to discover how to lower cholesterol without medication by eating the right food and few more clever but less known ways.
It pays to know how to lower cholesterol without medication because number one, medications are expensive, and second, they may have side effects that could make your condition even worse. The steps are given below and as you will see it is all about making changes to your lifestyle. Follow these guidelines and your cholesterol level will drop guaranteed.
If you only have time to learn one method on how to lower cholesterol without medication, then it’s got to be losing weight. If you’re overweight even by just a few pounds, you become susceptible to high cholesterol and heart disease, but losing 5% to 10% of that extra weight is enough to reduce your risk. Start by taking a good look at your daily routine and diet and why you’re putting on so much weight.
Here are some suggestions:
- Do you eat when bored? Take a walk, read a book or play a video game instead.
- Do you love to eat while watching TV? Feast on carrot sticks or other healthy snacks so you burn pounds. And savor the taste of the food you’re eating and don’t just swallow it.
- Be as physically active as possible: take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk or use a bicycle rather than the car and walk briskly for at least 15 minutes a day. Any sort of activity that will get you up and about is good, but do it slowly so your body can adjust.
- Think positive: negative thoughts often lead to binge eating as some people like to “eat” their worries away.
Eat Healthy Foods
Any attempt at lowering cholesterol without medication has to include diet, and no matter how many years you’ve been eating unhealthy, it’s never too late to change. Here’s what you do:
- Eat healthy fats: saturated fats, the kind in dairy products and red meat, increase your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) bad cholesterol, so your saturated fat consumption shouldn’t make up more than 7% of your daily calorie intake. Instead, go for monounsaturated fats like those in canola oils, peanut and olive.
- Say no to trans fats: trans fat is found in commercially sold foods like snack cakes, crackers, cookies, etc., but be careful because not all products labeled “trans fat free” are really free. In the US, any food that has less than 0.5 g of trans fat is categorized as trans fat free so do some research first. Tip: check the ingredients if it has “partially hydrogenated oil”, which is just another term for trans fats.
- Lower your cholesterol consumption to a maximum of 300 mg a day, and keep it to below 200 mg if you have diabetes or a heart condition. High amounts of cholesterol are found in whole milk products, red meat and egg yolks so consume those sparingly. If you must have some, eat lean meat, drink skim milk and go for egg substitutes.
- Eat whole grains: whole grains reduce cholesterol and improve your heart health, so include brown rice, whole wheat flour, whole wheat pasta or whole grain breads in your diet.
- Vegetables and fruits: no surprises here, as fruits and veggies are rich in soluble fiber which lower cholesterol. To add variety, eat plenty of seasonal fruits and experiment with different vegetable-based soups, casseroles and dishes. If you prefer dried fruit, eat no more than an ounce or two a day as they have more calories than their fresh counterparts.
- Eat omega 3 fatty acids: omega 3 fatty acids reduce LDL cholesterol and have antioxidants that provide other health benefits so make it a part of your meals. The best source of omega 3s are herring, mackerel and salmon, although they are available in supplement form as well. So does fish oil lower cholesterol? Absolutely, yes.
Exercise Several Days a Week
You need to exercise to lower cholesterol, especially if you’re overweight. However, you don’t need to spend hours in the gym as moderate physical activity is more than enough to lower bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol in your body.
30 minutes of exercise a day is enough to make a difference, and if you’re not yet up to it, start with 10 minutes a day as that will give your body time to get used to it. What’s important however, is that you’re able to maintain this: don’t add a routine if you won’t be able to keep it up as it’s not going to do any good.
- Play your favorite sport
- Go swimming
- Ride a bike
- Listen to music while working out
- Change the routines so you don’t get bored
- Exercise 3 times a week for a couple of weeks and then make it 5 days a week
If you’re having motivation problems, exercise with a friend or join a class so there’s support. Remember, your goal for now is to just lose weight so don’t worry too much about building muscles. If you do want to build muscles as you lose weight, get into strength training and go about it slowly. If you’ve never lifted a dumbbell before, start with light weights and don’t force yourself.
Just as effective as juicing to lower cholesterol is stop smoking. If you stop smoking now your cholesterol is reduced, and it will also lower your blood pressure. To emphasize the point, your risk of a heart attack is reduced by 50% if you quit smoking now and in 15 years, the risk level is as low as that of someone who never smoked at all.
Drink Alcohol Moderately
It’s been pointed out again and again that alcohol increases HDL good cholesterol, and this is true. That being said, the benefits are not enough to encourage a non-drinker to drink. If you already drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation, and that means one to two glasses a day. Drinking more isn’t going to lower cholesterol and will just increase your risk of a heart attack.
Other Ways to Reduce Cholesterol
It’s been proven that red yeast rice lower cholesterol so you might consider adding it to your daily diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Red yeast has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for a long time, and as it turns out it has a substance that is similar to what you would find in a statin drug without the side effects.
In addition, go with some meat substitutes such as beans and it will definitely help in reducing your cholesterol. You might also consider plant sterols because if you take at least 2 grams a day, it will keep cholesterol from being absorbed in your small intestine. Aside from supplements, foods like margarine now have sterols too.
Oatmeal for breakfast sounds cliché, but there’s a reason why health experts recommend it. Oatmeal (not including the sweetened ones) is rich in soluble fiber which makes you feel full and prevents cholesterol from being digested. You don’t need to eat a lot of oatmeal either, as a cup a day will be enough.
Here are other ways you can reduce cholesterol without taking a pill:
- Sleep 8 hours every night: ideally you should get 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night because lack of sleep increases low density LDL, and sleep deprivation also leads to high blood pressure, stress, and in some cases overeating. If you can’t get enough sleep at night, try to nap for about 15 minutes in the afternoon.
- Get enough vitamin D: the lack of vitamin D has been linked to high cholesterol, so it’s important your body has enough of this vitamin to keep cholesterol levels normal. A blood test can determine if you don’t have enough vitamin D and if that’s the case, take a vitamin D supplement.
- You should check your blood sugar level, with the ideal being 100 or less with fasting. If your blood sugar level is too high it will lead to higher LDL cholesterol, and it’s going to increase your triglycerides too, which isn’t good.
- Reduce gluten intake: the typical American diet is wheat based and full of gluten, which makes you vulnerable to high cholesterol and heart disease. As much as possible stay away from these products, and if you do eat them, make sure it’s the whole wheat variant. Do not eat multi grain foods as they’re no better than flour-based baked goods.
- Sprinkle cinnamon on your food: studies indicate that half a tablespoon consumption of cinnamon is enough to reduce cholesterol by 26%. Not only is cinnamon healthy, but it also gives you an easy way to prepare Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
Of course, knowing how to lower cholesterol without medication is just one half of it, as you need to incorporate these guidelines into your lifestyle. While it will be difficult at first, you need to persevere and think of the long term benefits. If you’re struggling to keep it up, remember that low cholesterol is equal to a healthy body, so that’s worth striving for.