Tips to reduce cholesterol levels naturally - NL-052
Healthy changes to your lifestyle can bring great results if you are looking to improve your cholesterol levels naturally. Cholesterol is a molecule that is an important component of our cell membranes and helps repair damaged tissue. It performs many other important functions too. For example, your body needs cholesterol to make hormones, bile acid, vitamin K2 and vitamin D. Cholesterol also keeps your brain functioning well. This helpful molecule becomes damaged, and harmful, when oxidised by free radicals. Oxidised cholesterol alerts the immune system to trigger a series of inflammatory reactions that cause build-up of plaques within the arteries, increasing ones' risk of getting a heart attack or stroke. An unhealthy lifestyle such as excessive consumption of trans fats (typically found in all processed and deep-fried foods) and cigarette smoking can cause oxidation of cholesterol.
How can you reduce cholesterol levels naturally?
1. Eat healthy: Consume a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish, seafood and lean meat. A well-balanced and healthy diet provides nutrition, antioxidants, soluble fibre and other compounds that not only reduce cholesterol numbers but also help maintain healthy weight, reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of developing diabetes.
2. Cut down on junk food: Limit your intake of processed and pre-packaged foods. These foods are loaded with refined sugar, artificial colours, unhealthy fats and preservatives that trigger the production of free radicals, causing oxidation and inflammation.
3. Consume more fibre: Foods that provide soluble fibre (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, chia seeds and flax seeds) help lower cholesterol levels. Soluble fibre traps cholesterol in the small intestines and work to expel it from the body, preventing it’s absorption in the bloodstream.
4. Exercise: Regular exercise keeps your cholesterol levels in check and even reverses other risk factors for heart disease. Whether it is walking, cycling, swimming, dancing, cleaning your house or gardening, any kind of physical movement boosts your heart health, lowers blood sugar levels, helps you shed those extra pounds, and helps you sleep better. Consider checking with your healthcare professional before getting on any exercise routine.
5. Maintain healthy body weight: Excess weight gain is a high risk factor for developing high cholesterol levels. Eat healthy, restrict your intake of refined sugar and processed food, be more active and sleep well to lose weight and reduce your risk of high cholesterol, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
6. Quit smoking: People who smoke are at a higher risk of high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Smoking does a lot of harm to your cholesterol levels and blood vessel health. Cigarette smoke contains toxic chemicals that inflame the blood vessels and make your blood sticky. This increases your risk of developing atherosclerosis – a build-up of plaque in the arteries. Quitting will improve your overall health, improve blood circulation and reduce your risk of heart disease.
7. Take antioxidant supplements: Antioxidants such as vitamin C, turmeric, CoQ10 and vitamin D3 + K2 are extremely good for heart and blood vessel health. These antioxidants help the body fight free radicals that cause oxidative damage and inflammation, that contribute to high cholesterol levels and heart disease risk.
- Zhan et al. Fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease: A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017
- Poznyak et al. Overview of OxLDL and Its Impact on Cardiovascular Health: Focus on Atherosclerosis. Front. Pharmacol
- Huang et al. Efficacy and safety of turmeric and curcumin in lowering blood lipid levels in patients with cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutr J. 2017