Reduce LDL Cholesterol With These Easy Steps
Your body needs some cholesterol to produce hormones and vitamins that help in digestion. Two types of lipoproteins – LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol – are responsible for carrying cholesterol to and from the cells in your body.
HDL or high-density cholesterol is good cholesterol. It carries bad cholesterol away from the arteries and other body parts back to the liver to be processed by the liver.
LDL or low-density cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, contributes to fatty build-ups within the arteries. This results in narrowing of the arteries and increases your risk of cardiovascular diseases like PAD, heart attack, or even stroke.
Although there are medications to bring down LDL cholesterol levels, your doctor may recommend using therapeutic lifestyle changes to see how well your cholesterol levels can be managed without medications.
How to Reduce ‘Bad’ Cholesterol Naturally
You can lower LDL cholesterol levels naturally with the following measures –
Diet and Weight Loss
Being obese or overweight not only increases the odds of developing high LDL levels but also contributes to cardiac diseases and chronic conditions. Studies suggest that losing even a little weight may help reduce LDL levels.
Your diet plays an important role in losing excess fat and maintaining ideal body weight. Eating the right kind of food – such as those that contain a good amount of monosaturated fats, phytosterols, and soluble fiber – can help lower harmful LDL cholesterol and increase the levels of HDL cholesterol in the blood. Focus on eating whole grains, fruits, and leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and fatty fish.
Exercise More Often
Exercising regularly, in moderate amounts, can bring down your cholesterol levels and promote weight loss. Any form of cardiovascular activity, such as cycling, running, swimming, and jogging benefits your heart health. You may also turn to other forms of exercise – weight training or yoga – as they also work to decrease the levels of bad cholesterol.
Smoking causes a number of chemical changes in your body. Cigarette smoke increases bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides levels. This leads to the accumulation of waxy plaque, which clogs the arteries. At the same time, smoking reduces the level of good cholesterol – the one that prevents the formation of plaque in your blood. Quit smoking and turn to a healthier lifestyle to see a difference in the levels of your LDL cholesterol.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
According to studies, heavy alcohol consumption or drinking more than what is considered moderate significantly increases bad cholesterol, which again raises triglyceride levels and LDL cholesterol.
Lifestyle changes are the natural and first line of treatment for people with high cholesterol levels. However, if your doctor suspects these levels could put you at risk of other medical conditions, he/she might recommend medications to manage bad cholesterol.