How Do You Lower Cholesterol Naturally
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Many people who have high cholesterol are reluctant to take medication. While this is a requirement for some people, many cases can be managed through lifestyle changes. Especially if you have been told that your numbers are borderline, making some changes in how you live can really help avoid having to take medications later on. How do you lower cholesterol naturally? The answer is easy – through diet and exercise.
Despite the fact that the only thing most people know about cholesterol is that too much is bad for you, we could not actually live without this substance. This molecule is responsible for making the membranes of our cells pliable, and we produce it in our livers for this purpose. There are two main problems with this. Some people are genetically prone to simply producing too much, and other people eat poorly and don’t exercise, which results in having too much.
Two main types of cholesterol are tested for in a medical screening. Referred to as HDL and LDL, the former is often called good for you while the latter is referred to as bad for you. This is an extreme simplification, as neither is “bad” or “good, ” but the way in which they tend to get out of balance is with HDL too low and LDL too high. The balance of the two is the important part, with about three to five times as much LDL as HDL, no more.
Saturated fats are known to raise LDL levels, and should be avoided as much as possible when trying to lower these levels. However, unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats (also known as omega-3 fatty acids) have been shown to raise HDL levels. So it’s a good idea to substitute unsaturated fats for saturated ones as much as possible when cooking. In some cases this can be difficult, because saturated fats are mostly solids at room temperature, whereas unsaturated fats are usually liquid. For baking purposes, sometimes it is better to use low-fat yogurt or apple sauce, in order to maintain the proper texture.
Another important component of proper diet for people with this condition is fiber. Getting enough fiber seems to lower the intake of saturated fats and LDL, and is essential to other aspects of a healthy diet. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are the best sources. Of course, sources of cholesterol itself should be avoided. This includes egg yolks, red meat and full-fat dairy products, mostly.
Vitamins, minerals, and adequate hydration are important in maintaining overall health. While these things have not been shown specifically to affect HDL or LDL levels, they are known to be important in your general health. Getting vitamins and minerals from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is the best way to go, as natural sources may be better for you. Drinking enough water every day is important, too. Keep a bottle of water at hand so that you can drink whenever you are thirsty.
Exercise cannot be underestimated in its importance. People who exercise more are healthier in every respect. Getting outside and taking a walk, going for a jog, riding a bike, enjoying a swim; it doesn’t matter what it is so long as it gets your heart rate up and your body moving. Regular exercise is one of the main things prescribed by doctors for managing cholesterol levels without medication.
If your doctor says that you need to be on medication, ask if it would be safe for you to take a period of time, say, three months, and attempt to make lifestyle changes instead. If you still disagree with your doctor’s recommendation, get a second opinion. It is important to take medication if you need it, but not everyone needs it.
The article describes some of the best ways to lower cholesterol without taking medication. However, there are many other methods for naturally lowering cholesterol. If you or someone you love is struggling with high cholesterol, I encourage you to learn everything possible about how to lower your levels naturally.
By Dustin Peek