Good cholesterol is HDL. Bad cholesterol is LDL. These facts are becoming common knowledge among the general population as an increased awareness about the dangers of elevated cholesterol levels surfaces. High cholesterol is a dangerous condition, and even more dangerous to ignore. It is a loud warning to the silent, symptomless build up of fat in blood vessels. Here are 11 tips that can help lower your cholesterol levels within weeks.
- Move. Exercise is number one on the list, because it has the double benefit of lowering ldl cholesterol levels naturally, and increasing HDL. Take small steps to incorporate exercise into your routine.
- Eat less. Eat foods to lower cholesterol less fatty, processed, and sugary foods, but don’t forbid them. Make cheeseburgers, drive-thru meals, and sodas a smaller part of your diet. (Here a sample daily low cholesterol diet plan)
- Eat more. Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods have a lot of fiber that can bind cholesterol and prevent its absorption into the bloodstream.
- Eat less. By simply taking in a few less calories a day than your body requires, your weight will inevitably drop and cholesterol levels will follow. Make small changes in caloric intake that can be maintained over time.
- Add. Add foods that have cholesterol-lowering properties. Some foods, such as nuts, eggplant, okra, fish, and soy can help lower cholesterol. Add a few of these foods to your diet and cook low cholesterol recipes.
- Stop. Smoking can decrease good cholesterol; good cholesterol helps to remove bad cholesterol. Stop.
- Start. Although, alcohol consumption is not safe or desired universally, one alcoholic beverage a day has been shown to raise HDL cholesterol.
- Switch. Substitute butter and high fat dressings for healthier olive, canola, and sunflower oils. Butter increases LDL, but healthy oils can decrease LDLs.
- Weigh. Weigh the benefits and risks of cholesterol-lowering medications. If you have made dietary changes and have increased your exercise without seeing significant drops in your cholesterol levels, cholesterol-lowering medications may be prescribed by a physician.
- Watch. Monitor your cholesterol levels. Don’t panic if your cholesterol test reveals highs and lows in all the wrong places. Start to make some changes listed here and recheck in a few months.
- Listen. Listen to advice from your physician. A physician who knows your health history can help guide you through personalized options for lowering your cholesterol. A physician can offer nutritional resources, evaluate your exercise readiness, and prescribe cholesterol-lowering medications.
How Long Does it Take to Lower Cholesterol ?
How to lower ldl cholesterol ? Reducing cholesterol numbers can take a great deal of time and depends on many factors. For some, lowering cholesterol can be done in as little as six weeks. The first step is to adopt a therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC) diet, which is designed specifically for people with low LDL levels. This progressive diet is focused on not only food but lifestyle changes as well. For some, the diet must be very intensive to achieve results.
The diet begins by lowering cholesterol and saturated fat intake. This alone can lower LDL levels between 11 to 15%. For the overweight, losing around 10 pounds can drop LDL levels 8%. Adding fiber-rich foods into the diet like vegetables, legumes and oats further lowers cholesterol levels; this diet change can reduce LDL levels by 3 to 5% in only six weeks.
What Supplements to Lower Cholesterol
There are three natural supplements that have been proven to help reduce cholesterol levels: niacin, plant sterols, and omega-3 fish oil.
- Niacin has a favourable effect on high cholesterol. It can lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and raise HDL cholesterol.
- Plant sterols are found in legumes, fruits and vegetables.
- Dietary fish and fish oil supplements contain the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA. Omega-3, rich in EPA and DHA, possesses a triglyceride lowering effect. Omega-3 fatty acids lower cholesterol and have a positive influence on atherosclerosis.
What is Cholesterol ?
“Cholesterol” is such a buzz word that most people think it’s bad for you, when the opposite is true. Hard to believe? “Cholesterol is essential for many of the body’s functions,” is the statement made from the ninth edition of Focus on Health, a college textbook written by Drs Hahn, Payne and Lucas.
It’s having too much LDL cholesterol in your blood system that’s bad for you. Because it’s found in the blood stream and has a fatty texture, it can clog arteries and put you at risk for cardiac diseases and stroke. Learning ways to lower cholesterol naturally will help you lower your risk and, luckily, there are ways to lower cholesterol without drugs.
Where Does Cholesterol Come From ?
There are two types of cholesterol: LDL, which is considered the bad cholesterol, and HDL, the good cholesterol. Neither type is found in vegetables. Cholesterol comes from animal fats and processed foods. Dangerous levels of LDL are found in saturated fats and trans-fats.
What is the Normal Level of Cholesterol ?
Normal cholesterol levels in your blood should be maintained to promote good circulatory health. There are two kinds of cholesterol. One kind is actually good for you while the other one is not. HDL is the good one, LDL is the bad one.
Your cholesterol levels can be determined with a blood test. Cholesterol levels in your blood are measured in milligrams per deciliter. HDL and LDL combined should total no more than 200 milligrams for normal cholesterol levels. 200 to 239 is borderline and a number above 240 is considered high.
Normal levels for LDL cholesterol, the bad one, should be under 130. 160 to 189 is high and 190 and above is considered very high. Cholesterol HDL ratio, the good one, should normally be above 40, with 60 being the target level in your blood. HDL contains anti-clogging properties for the arteries.
The ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol is important. The ratio can be determined by dividing your LDL number by your HDL number. Normal ratios will be below 4 for men and women while any number below 3.5 is very good. If HDL to LDL ratios can be brought down below 2.8, an actual reversal of heart disease can be achieved.
HDL is affected by a number of factors, but eating foods high in monounsaturated fats (like fish or nuts), avoiding smoking, and exercising all help to improve HDL levels. HDL cholesterol is known as the “good” cholesterol, as higher levels generally mean better heart health. It is LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol that is the “bad” cholesterol and is not factored into the cholesterol ratio.
High triglycerides also factor into the HDL number, as people with high levels of triglycerides usually have low HDL numbers. It is important to know these numbers for heart health.
What are the Symptoms of High Cholesterol ?
For both men and women there are no actual symptoms of high cholesterol. Instead, the symptoms of conditions aggravated or caused by high cholesterol become apparent. For example, high blood cholesterol puts one at risk for heart disease, which presents the following symptoms: shortness of breath, dizziness, weakness, nausea, rapid/irregular heartbeats, and heart palpitations.
While it doesn’t present symptoms, elevated blood cholesterol can easily be detected with a simple and routine screening test. It is recommended that everyone over the age of 20 get a cholesterol level screening at least once every 5 years.
What are the Risks of Having High Cholesterol ?
High cholesterol puts an individual at risk for many health conditions, but the most important is the risk of heart attack. 1 in 6 adults in American have high blood cholesterol, putting them at risk for the leading cause of death. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that builds up on artery walls. This also puts an individual at risk for heart disease, as well as stroke.
Risk factors for high cholesterol include advanced age, diabetes, family history of high cholesterol, being overweight, a lack of exercise and a diet high in fat. For many of these reasons high cholesterol is one of the risk factors for heart attack that is most easily avoided.
What are the Effects of Low Cholesterol ?
Low cholesterol, as well as high cholesterol, carries health risks. The total number of its two different forms make up the figure health experts watch. HDL, referred as good cholesterol, should not be lower than 40 mg/dL and LDL, or bad cholesterol, should not be over 100 mg/dL.
The total number considered ideal is less than 220mg/dL but over 160 mg/dL. Cholesterol serves several purposes in the function of the human body. It helps build and maintains cell membranes, is part of the manufacture of bile that is needed to digest fat, and assists in the conversion of sunshine into Vitamin D.
Other fat soluble vitamins, A, E and K, are very effective antioxidants, and they require cholesterol to metabolize. Abnormally low numbers can indicate an overactive thyroid gland, liver disease, and malnutrition. A study in the 1990′s, also, linked low cholesterol to depression, anxiety and higher rates of suicide.
In some cases, men with cholesterol levels below 150 were found to have four times the risk of a cerebral hemorrhage, or a stroke, than men with a number above 190. Pregnant women with both high and low numbers have been found to be at higher risk for premature delivery.