How is your cholesterol? Is it high, low or normal?! Are you suffering from any problem with your heart, digestion, arteries or pressure caused by your cholesterol level?! Here you will find out how to reduce your cholesterol fast and in natural ways.
1. Set your target: You have to get your cholesterol number down, but how low do you need to go? The answer depends on many elements such as having any of the cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking; besides depending on your personal and family history of heart diseases.
If your risk is deemed high, “most doctors will treat for a target LDL of less than 70,” says James Beckerman, MD, a cardiologist in private practice in Portland, Oregon.
If your risk is moderate, a target LDL of under 130 is generally OK, Beckerman says. If your risk is low, less than 160 is a reasonable target. “The trend now is to treat people earlier, especially if they have two or more risk factors,” he says.
2. Ask a doctor and consider a medication: If your cardiovascular risk is high, so you may also need to take a cholesterol-lowering drug. Michael Richman, MD, medical director of the Center for Cholesterol Management in Los Angeles, calls drug therapy “the only thing that will work fast” to lower high cholesterol. There are several types of cholesterol-lowering medication available everywhere, including niacin, bile acid resins, and fibrates. But statins are known as the best treatment for most individuals. “Statins can lower LDL cholesterol by 20% to 50%” says Pamela Peeke, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine in Baltimore.
3. Eat more fiber: such as fruits and vegetables, including whole grains which are good sources not only of heart-healthy antioxidants but also cholesterol-lowering dietary fiber. Beckerman says about soluble fiber “it acts like a sponge to absorb cholesterol” in the digestive tract. Good sources that are rich in soluble fiber include dried beans, oats, and barley, as well as fiber products containing psyllium.
4. Eat nuts: the extensive researches have proved that regular consumption of nuts can bring modest reductions in cholesterol level. Nuts such as Walnuts and almonds seem particularly very beneficial, but at the same time nuts are high in calories, so you should limit yourself to a handful a day as experts say.
5. Go fish: Magee recommends eating fish two or three times a week. “Salmon is great, as it has lots of omega-3s,” she says. But even canned tuna has omega-3s, and it’s more consumer-friendly.
6. Don’t smoke: Smoking lowers levels of HDL “good” cholesterol and is known as a major risk factor for heart disease.
7. Get moving: practicing the regular physical activity can raise HDL “good” cholesterol by up to 10%. The benefits can come even with some moderate exercise, such as brisk walking. If you are working at a desk, you should get up and walk around for five minutes every hour. Whatever the form of your exercise is, the target is to do it with regularity. Robert Harrington, MD, professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C., urges his patients to go for a 45-minute walk after supper.
8. Avoid saturated fat: “One of the first things to do when you’re trying to lower your cholesterol level is to take saturated fat down a few notches,” says Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, the author of several nutrition books, including the forthcoming Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Heart Disease. “The second thing to do is to start eating more ‘smart’ fats,” Magee says. She recommends substituting canola oil or olive oil for vegetable oil, butter, stick margarine, lard, or shortening while cutting back on meat and eating more fish.
9. Drink green: the researches in both animals and humans have shown that green tea includes compounds which can help in lowering LDL cholesterol. There is a small study conducted in Brazil has shown that people who took capsules containing a green tea extract were able to reduce their total cholesterol level.