Lower Your Cholesterol Without Drugs
If you’re in your 40s or older, there’s a good chance you’ve had “the cholesterol conversation” with your doctor.
You know, the one where he or she says, “You need to lower your cholesterol”.
Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol (a.k.a. “bad” cholesterol) can be a big deal. If it oxidizes in your arteries, it can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.
This is somewhat ironic because cholesterol is a substance your body needs for survival. It’s manufactured in your liver, and then used for the synthesis of hormones, among other things.
Typically, your primary care doctor will measure your cholesterol using a blood test called a lipid panel. This panel provides four important measurements:
- LDL (low density lipoprotein), often referred to as “bad” cholesterol
- HDL (high density lipoprotein), often referred to as “good” cholesterol
- Total cholesterol
- Total triglycerides
HDL acts kind of like a broom, sweeping away excess LDL cholesterol and tryglycerides, thereby helping to prevent blockages in your blood vessels.
LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, however, can accumulate in your blood vessels as plaque as a result of oxidization and inflammation. As noted above, if left untreated these plaques can cause high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.
When your doctor says that you need to lower your cholesterol, it typically means the following:
- Lower your total cholesterol to below 200mg/dL
- Lower your LDL cholesterol to below 100mg/dL
- Lower your triglycerides to below 150mg/dL
- Increase your HDL cholesterol to above 60 mg/DL
It’s possible your doctor may want to prescribe medications to reduce your LDL cholesterol or triglycerides. The most common of these are known as statins (for cholesterol) and fibrates (for triglycerides)
These medications are effective at lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, but they can have serious side effects. Fortunately, there are many natural ways you can lower your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Here are some of the most common ways you can get your lipids under control:
Just changing how you live…sometimes even just a little…can reduce inflammation in your body and have a positive effect on your lipids:
- Regular exercise
Try for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day for five days per week.
- Get enough sleep
Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Insufficient sleep can increase your LDL cholesterol level.
- Stop smoking
Smoking increases LDL cholesterol and makes you a more likely candidate for cardiovascular disease.
- Limit alcohol
There is some evidence that moderate alcohol consumption (limited to 1 drink per day) can lower LDL cholesterol. Consumption beyond that, however, can contribute to high LDL cholesterol.
- Reduce stress
Chronic stress can contribute to high LDL cholesterol. Meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Lose weight
Obesity correlates directly to unhealthy cholesterol levels.
A few simple changes to what you eat can have a huge effect on your cholesterol levels.
- Eat heart healthy foods
These can include:
– lean protein (like chicken and fish)
– whole grains
- Increase dietary fiber
Oats, fruit, and legumes are high in this natural cholesterol-fighter.
- Eat more fatty fish
Fish like tuna, salmon, and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids. These are proven to reduce triglycerides and may also increase HDL cholesterol levels. If you don’t like fish, omega-3 supplements can provide these benefits.
- Add more nuts and seeds to your diet
Nuts like almonds and walnuts are full of fiber and healthy fats.
- Use healthy oils for cooking
Oils like olive oil and avocado oil, in particular, can contribute to lower LDL and higher HDL.
- Reduce salt
Salt can increase blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. Flavor your food with spices and herbs as an alternative.
- Consume lots of antioxidants
Antioxidants can help to prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing within your blood vessels. If you don’t get enough antioxidants in your diet, there are many supplement options available.
Get Your Numbers Right
Your cholesterol numbers can play an important role in determining your risk for heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular issues.
Once you know your numbers, you can use the changes suggested above to ensure that you enjoy a heart-healthy future.
Renew Youth is here to help you with guidance on hormones, supplements, and lifestyle changes to support healthy aging. To learn more, call us at 800-859-7511 or use our contact form to set up your free 30-minute consultation.