Having high cholesterol significantly increases an individual’s risk for developing heart disease.
Yet, most people don’t even realize their bad cholesterol is too high. And the higher LDL Cholesterol levels rise, the chances of developing heart disease or having a heart attack go up.
Of course, there are medications for helping to lower bad cholesterol, however many people want to lower cholesterol without drugs, but is it possible?
Whether you are currently taking cholesterol-lowering medications or may need them, there are a variety of things that can help lower your cholesterol.
We’ve compiled a list that will help you lower cholesterol without drugs:
Eat a healthy diet – When it comes to the health of your heart, a healthy diet is always going to be key. Whether you want to improve your cholesterol or blood pressure, you need to eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes a variety of fruit and vegetables.
Include oatmeal with your breakfast – Eating oatmeal doesn’t have to be at breakfast, but offers a variety of benefits whenever you eat it. Oatmeal is loaded with soluble fiber, which helps to flush bad cholesterol from the bloodstream.
Get a full night’s rest each night – A lack of sleep does more damage than just leaving you feeling tired. Sleep deprivation can increase bad cholesterol while increasing your appetite to increase your chances of increased cholesterol related to your diet.
Have you vitamin D levels checked – A vitamin D deficiency has been linked to high cholesterol levels. As we age, our body’s ability to absorb and synthesize vitamin D is reduced so it’s important to have your vitamin D levels checked.
Have your blood sugar level checked – If you’re blood glucose level is too high it can also lead to high cholesterol and high triglycerides, a dangerous fat remnant of cholesterol.
Exercise 60 minutes daily – When it comes to improving just about any aspect of your health, you can’t get away from exercise. Exercising, even just an hour walk each day, will help to lower your cholesterol and your blood pressure.
Add cinnamon to your food – Studies have shown cinnamon can help reduce cholesterol. Sprinkling cinnamon on foods like low-fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt or oatmeal can boost the foods’ benefits to protect against high cholesterol.
Don’t smoke – Smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your health. Quitting means you’ll see some serious benefits from lower cholesterol and blood pressure to reducing your risk for heart disease.
Lose weight – If you’re eating a healthy diet and exercising consistently, you’ll be able to see the benefits of losing weight. Just losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can help you reduce your cholesterol.
Drink in moderation – Excessive drinking can lead to serious health problems, but drinking in moderation can help increase HDL cholesterol slightly. If you do drink, women should stick to just a single drink a day while men should have no more than two drinks.
Choose healthier fats – Saturated fats raise your cholesterol but monounsaturated fats can help to lower your cholesterol levels. Pick leaner cuts of meat to avoid unhealthy fats better and use olive and canola oils in your cooking to reduce bad fat in your diet.
Eliminate trans fats – Trans fats work against us in two ways: they lower good cholesterol while increasing bad cholesterol. Avoid fried foods and most pre-packaged foods to reduce your trans fats.
Increase your soluble fiber – Soluble fiber has been shown to help lower LDL cholesterol levels by helping flush cholesterol from the body.
Add a whey protein supplement – Studies have shown whey protein can help to lower both LDL cholesterol and overall cholesterol.
Monitor your sugar consumption – Consuming too many added sugars has been shown to triple your risk of having low HDL Cholesterol (good cholesterol). People in one study who ate the most amount of sugar had the lowest good cholesterol levels and the highest triglyceride levels.
Making the right lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on your cholesterol levels. For some people, changing a few things might be enough to significantly lower their cholesterol without drugs. However, these lifestyle changes may not be enough for everyone. If your doctor does recommend medications, be sure you’re taking them as prescribed and continue to make the lifestyle changes we’ve listed above.