For a lot of people trying to improve their health, they often wonder what they can do to lower cholesterol naturally.
Cholesterol levels stand as an indicator for cardiovascular health and should be monitored regularly.
If you’re looking to lower your cholesterol, where do you begin? Is it really that hard? With so many theories and “super foods” and fads, which ones actually work?
The answer to lowering cholesterol naturally isn’t in any one super food, fad diet, or whatever cleanse the celebrities are doing nowadays. The answer is in a variety of lifestyle changes including simplifying your diet, eating “clean”, and making little sacrifices that will benefit your heart health and your cholesterol levels over the long run.
In order to lower cholesterol naturally, it’s important to recognize the culprit. Food, lack of exercise and genetics all play a role in your cholesterol levels.
You also need to understand the balance between good cholesterol and bad cholesterol and why it MATTERS.
The Good, the Bad, and the Fatty:
Not all cholesterol is created equal. Fortunately for us, lowering cholesterol doesn’t necessarily mean that you must cut ties with all forms of cholesterol.
It actually means you need to lower the BAD cholesterol (LDL) which is found in saturated fats such as butter, cheese, red meat, fried foods, processed and packaged foods.
And, to help you get rid of that bad cholesterol you need to bring good cholesterol (HDL) into play.
HDL literally grabs hold of bad cholesterol in the blood stream and escorts is out of your blood stream and your body so that it doesn’t cause artery blockage and high blood pressure! HDL is often found in fish, nuts, and oils such as olive oil and coconut oil.
Of course, certain foods are more responsible than others for spiking your bad cholesterol way, way up.
Like we said before, high cholesterol culprits come in the form of saturated fats, processed and pre-packaged food, sugary food, and fast food.
In processed and packaged food, saturated fat containing bad cholesterol is often used as a preservative to extend that food’s shelf life.
In other cases, cholesterol is the thing that makes food a tasty treat. Would a burger from your favorite fast food joint be as good if it wasn’t smothered in sauces and grease? And there’s no way chocolate chip cookies would be worth anything without a healthy amount of butter.
Set Those Boundaries:
Unfortunately, some of our favorite things are the most unhealthy things, which is why it’s important to limit them.
Notice we said “limit”, not “eliminate”. Your low cholesterol diet will be more successful if you don’t feel deprived. Rather than cutting out all cholesterol completely, begin like this:
1) Tell yourself you are allowed to have 150-200 calories a day of whatever you want. Ice cream, cookies, fries, etc. But it can only be 200 calories of that thing.
2) Slowly, gradually, cut back on the days. Eventually, you only want to have 1-2 “cheat” days a week.
Get Your Fiber:
Not only will fiber help you regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, it will help prevent unwanted fat in your diet from “sticking”. Fiber is an important nutrient that helps take excess and unwanted fat out of the body, instead of allowing it to settle in and add to fat around your waistline and organs.
Fiber is easily found in whole grains, beans and legumes, leafy greens such as kale and spinach, and fruit! Make sure you’re getting 25 grams of fiber each day. Not only will fiber help lower your cholesterol, it will help you feel fuller so that your cravings are curbed and you’re less likely to over eat.
An l-arginine supplement could help your body deal with the side effects of high cholesterol such as high blood pressure. By helping your body’s nitric oxide production, l-arginine can help blood vessels to relax, and relieve the pressure put on artery walls.
Increased nitric oxide production can also be beneficial to energy levels and help you stay energized for physical activity.