For many of us, as we age, cholesterol levels become too high and can lead to many health problems. There are two types of cholesterol, LDL (the “bad” one) and HDL (the “good” one). High levels of LDL can lead to stroke and heart disease.
We’ve all heard a million different things we can do to lower our cholesterol. Eat this, don’t eat that, do this type of workout, and take this supplement. It can be quite overwhelming! The truth is that most of those tips or suggestions probably work, but which ones are the most effective? You don’t want to waste your time doing or eating something only to find out that something else would have helped you get your cholesterol levels to a healthy place more effectively or faster. Let’s break it down by category and look at the very best and most effective ways to lower your cholesterol.
We took a look at many different studies and reports and compared the top foods in those lists to come up with an ultimate list of the top 5 foods that help lower cholesterol. Remember that they are all effective and just because a certain food didn’t make our list doesn’t mean that it isn’t effective.
Beans – Beans deliver a high dosage of soluble fiber which binds with cholesterol in the digestive system and pulls it out of the body before it gets into circulation. Look for other vegetables high in fiber to also help reduce cholesterol levels.
Oats/Oatmeal – This is another food which contains high amounts of soluble fiber. This helps to reduce your low-density lipoprotein or “LDL” which is considered the unhealthy cholesterol. Consuming 5 – 10 grams of soluble fiber per day can decrease LDL levels by 5%.
Walnuts – These and other nuts, like almonds, will help to reduce your blood cholesterol levels. Nuts are full of polyunsaturated fatty acids which are excellent in helping your blood vessels stay healthy. You only need about 2 oz. or a handful of nuts per day which can lower your LDL levels by about 5%.
Apples and Grapes – Both of these contain a high amount of pectin, which is a soluble fiber that helps draw out cholesterol. Apples also have a certain flavonoid called Quercetin which basically helps to stop LDL cholesterol levels from accumulating in the bloodstream.
Fish – The types that are high in Omega 3 fatty-acids such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines and anchovies are the best kinds of fish. Replacing other meats with fish 2 – 3 times a week can significantly lower LDL levels. Omega-3’s will reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream.
Eating cholesterol-lowering-foods is greatly beneficial in getting LDL levels down, but also staying away from certain foods will help. Try to avoid saturated and trans fat which will increase the unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels and decrease healthy HDL cholesterol.
In conjunction with a healthy diet exercise has a huge impact in lowering cholesterol levels. There are many studies that show proper exercise can help lower LDL levels by 10 – 15%. One of the main ways that exercise helps to lower cholesterol has to do with losing weight. Being over-weight can dramatically increase LDL levels so when exercise and weight management are introduced to the body, unhealthy cholesterol levels tend to go down.
Specifically, exercise accomplishes two things for lowering cholesterol. First, exercise stirs up enzymes in the body that are known for removing LDL from the blood and liver. Secondly, when you exercise, protein particles that carry cholesterol tend to increase. When these particles increase they are less likely to attach to the blood vessels and linings of the heart.
The best types of exercise to lower cholesterol are aerobic exercise such as jogging, riding a bike, swimming and aerobics. Studies have shown that 30 minutes per day, every day, is the perfect amount.
There are many dietary supplements that can give you an extra boost when it comes to lowering cholesterol. Along with eating healthy and exercise, supplements can directly target LDL and help to reduce it so that you don’t have too much in your system. There are literally hundreds of different cholesterol-lowering supplements so it’s best to know which ones are the most effective.
Supplements can often times be more powerful and effective when it comes to lowering cholesterol because they are specifically designed to target LDL and eliminate it from the body. The best part is that they use “all-natural” ingredients so you don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals or drugs getting into your system when taking a cholesterol-lowering supplement.
It can be difficult to always eat healthy and get 30 minutes of exercise in every day and without that your LDL levels can stay higher than you may want them to be. By simply taking a daily supplement you won’t have to constantly be worrying about exercise and diet every day. Of course you should do your best to exercise and eat healthy, but a cholesterol lowering supplement will be that added bonus when it comes to maintaining healthy LDL cholesterol levels.
The best way to find out which one will work best for you is to find out what the ingredients are and then find out what others have experienced while using that supplement.