High cholesterol can mean a higher risk of heart disease. Controlling your cholesterol levels lowers that risk and gives you an upper hand over potential heart-related complications. Read on to learn how to reduce your bad cholesterol levels in your body and protect your heart from harm.
Cholesterol is an essential fat required by the cells in your body. Not all cholesterol is bad.
Good vs. Bad Cholesterol
The ‘good’ high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol actually helps to manage and control the levels of the ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) causes fatty build-up in the arteries and increases the risk of stroke, arterial blockages and heart disease. HDL on the other hand scavenges the blood vessels and carries away LDL from the arteries to the liver. The liver breaks down the LDL, and it is passed out of the body as waste.
Managing your cholesterol levels involves increasing your regular intake of HDL and lowering your everyday consumption of LDL.
Bad cholesterol is a silent killer as it goes undetected until serious complications arise. The only way to keep track of your blood cholesterol levels is to get regular blood tests done, on an annual or semi-annual basis.
Complications of high cholesterol
- Atherosclerosis, deposition of cholesterol and other deposits on your arterial walls.
- Frequent chest pain or angina caused by reduced blood flow to the heart
- Pain while walking due to blockage in the artery supplying blood to your veins.
- Heart attack or stroke
Causes & Risk Factors
Here are some factors that determine your cholesterol levels and also indicate your chances of having high cholesterol:
- History of early heart disease in your family
- An immediate family member with high cholesterol levels
- Inactive or lazy lifestyle
- If you are overweight, with a BMI of 30 or more
- If you have Type 2 diabetes
- If you are a smoker
- If you have South Asian ancestry
- If you eat a diet rich in red meat, full-fat dairy products and saturated vegetable fats.
Testing Your Cholesterol Levels
A high cholesterol level can lead to various heart complications; therefore it becomes important to check your cholesterol levels via lipid profile tests. It is advisable to get regular tests done, once you cross 40.
The following guidelines will help you to properly evaluate the results of your lipid profile blood tests:
Total Cholesterol – should be less than 200 mg/dL
LDL –should be less than 100 mg/dL
For men- should be over 40 mg/dL
For women-should be over 60 mg/dL
*Triglycerides- should be less than 150 mg/dl
* A type of fat used by the body to store energy, high levels can cause heart disease.
Home Treatment to Reduce Bad Cholesterol Levels
With some simple diet and lifestyle changes, you can lower the LDL and raise the HDL levels in your blood without medication. Making small changes often makes a big difference over time.
With your cholesterol back on track, you’ll no longer have to rely solely on medications that may have side effects, such as muscle pain, memory loss and elevated liver enzymes.
It’s about time you made the healthy choice.
Here are 8 ways you can reduce your bad cholesterol level without medication
Method 1: Use Oatmeal
An average adult should aim for at least 30 grams of fiber each day. Including foods rich in dietary fiber in your diet can help you do just that. Old-fashioned oatmeal is a great source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber can be easily digested by your body, as opposed to insoluble fiber.
Once digested, the soluble fiber binds to the cholesterol and prevents it from getting absorbed into the bloodstream. This helps lower the LDL level in your blood.
- Eat 1 to 2 bowls of cooked oatmeal each day to bring about a significant change in your cholesterol levels over time.
- To make it more appetizing, you can add fresh fruits and nuts as well.
Method 2: Use Garlic
Garlic can help you significantly lower your LDL level. It prevents cholesterol from sticking to the artery walls, which prevents clogging of the arteries. It also prevents blood clots and reduces high blood pressure.
The best results come from consuming garlic raw and fresh.
- Eating 2 to 4 cloves of raw garlic each day may produce significant results over time.
- If that’s not possible, include 5 to 7 cloves in your daily meals.
- You can use them as seasoning or add them to any sauce or dish.
- Garlic can also be consumed in the form of tablets, capsules, extract or powder, depending on your preference or whichever is available in your nearby stores.
Always check with your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen.
Method 3: Use Cinnamon
Cinnamon doesn’t just make your desserts tasty, it can also help improve your bad cholesterol levels. Cinnamon can cut down the cholesterol in your system by 18 percent, according to one study. It can also lower your blood sugar levels.
While cinnamon alone will not control your cholesterol, including a healthy dose of this spice in your diet can help you manage it.
Cinnamon tea is a great way to enjoy this spice.
Method 4: Use Coriander
Coriander seeds are the seeds of the much loved cilantro herb. This spice can be used in whole or powdered form. It is generally used in curries and masalas.
This aromatic spice not only adds aroma and flavor to your dishes, it can also help improve your cholesterol levels. Coriander increases the level of the good HDL cholesterol and brings down the level of the bad LDL cholesterol.
Method 5: Use Onions
Onions, especially red onions, have proven to be a worthy adversary to cholesterol. Quercetin, a healthy flavonoid found in the outer skin of the onions, is what balances cholesterol levels. While cooking doesn’t destroy quercetin, it may leach into the cooking liquid. Thus, consuming raw onions is best for lowering cholesterol.
If you don’t fancy chewing on this sharp-tasting, crunchy vegetable, drinking onion juice as a tonic is a good option.
Method 6: Use Red Yeast Rice
Consumed for centuries as food as well as medicine in China, red yeast rice is prepared by fermenting a type of yeast over red rice. In Chinese medicine, it has been known to lower cholesterol as well as improve circulation.
Red yeast rice contains some chemicals that somewhat mimic the effect of the statin medications that doctors often prescribe to reduce high levels of LDL cholesterol.
You can get red yeast rice in tablet form at any good drug store or order it online.
- The standardized dosage for an adult is 600 mg taken 2 to 4 times a day.
Always check with your doctor before beginning a supplement regimen.
Note: Red yeast rice should not be consumed by people below 20 years of age, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or people with liver problems or kidney disease.
Method 7: Use Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is probably one of the most ancient household remedies still used today. An effective remedy for anything from sniffles and infections to aches and cramps, apple cider vinegar is almost a miracle ingredient. Now, you can also use it to manage your cholesterol levels.
Various animal studies have proven that apple cider vinegar not only lowers LDL levels, but also reduces high blood pressure. While consuming apple cider vinegar, you don’t need to worry about any extra calories either.
Method 8: Use Exercise
Everyone knows that exercise is good for a healthy body and heart. It is the manner in which it keeps your heart healthy that’s interesting.
Maintaining a healthy weight and burning off excess fat is one effect brought about by exercise. But exercising can also help significantly reduce your overall cholesterol levels, especially the bad LDL cholesterol.
Exercising helps move the cholesterol from the bloodstream and the walls of the blood vessels to the liver, where it is either excreted or converted into bile to aid digestion. Thus, exercise helps your body naturally use up or expel the cholesterol. This in turn reduces your risk of cholesterol-related cardiovascular and heart problems.
- To achieve significant results, engage in rigorous exercise for 30 minutes daily.
- Vary your workouts with a variety of aerobic exercises that will get your heart pumping, such as running, jogging, cycling, swimming, sports, aerobics classes or even energetic dancing.
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