As doctors and scientists continue their quest to improve human health and increase longevity, one message that remains unchanged is the importance of keeping cholesterol levels in check. While our bodies require some cholesterol to function correctly, an excess can build up in our arteries and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Therefore, it is vital to keep the best ways to lower cholesterol in mind and make them a part of our daily routine to maintain long-term health.
Do you start your day with a cup of coffee? If yes, it might be time to consider cutting back. Recent research indicates that coffee intake may elevate cholesterol levels. A study examining over 362,000 participants in the U.K. Biobank between the ages of 37 and 73 found that coffee beans contain a cholesterol-raising compound called cafestol. The study highlights the need for people with high cholesterol or those concerned about developing heart disease to be mindful of the type of coffee they drink, as some varieties contain more cafestol than others.
What about “good” cholesterol? Unfortunately, recent research reveals that it may not be as beneficial as previously thought. A study shows that high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the so-called “healthy” blood fats, may not protect against cardiovascular disease and may even increase the risk. Thus, HDL levels may not be an effective screening tool for patients at risk of heart disease.
Lowering cholesterol levels is crucial for maintaining heart health. Here are some natural ways recommended by experts to reduce cholesterol levels: maintaining a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, quitting smoking, moderating alcohol intake, and incorporating supplements like plant sterols and stanols. Which of these natural remedies works best for you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Researchers suggest the Best Ways to Lower Cholesterol Naturally
1- Eat Healthy
Health professionals highly recommend eating a healthy diet as the most effective way to lower cholesterol naturally. Researchers suggest that adding foods that lower LDL, such as oats, whole grains, beans, nuts, and fatty fish, is the best way to achieve a low cholesterol diet. Foods that contain soluble fiber bind cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system, while polyunsaturated fats directly lower LDL. Plant sterols and stanols block the body from absorbing cholesterol.
Regular exercise can help lower cholesterol levels naturally. A minimum of 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of exercise a week is recommended. Walking, swimming, and cycling are excellent options to start with. Health experts suggest trying a few different exercises to find something enjoyable to stick with in the long run. The recommendation is to gradually build up to the recommended amount of physical activity.
3- Weight Management
Maintaining optimal weight for your frame is highly recommended by health experts, as carrying extra weight, especially around the mid-section, causes many health-related issues. Sugary beverages should be replaced with tap water, and snacks should include air-popped popcorn or pretzels. Researchers suggest incorporating more activity into daily routines, such as walking during breaks at work, using stairs instead of taking the elevator, and increasing standing activities.
4- Stop Smoking
Smoking is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Smokers have a higher risk of developing plaque in their arteries and are more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. Quitting smoking can help reduce cholesterol levels naturally and decrease the risk of developing heart disease.
5- Limit Alcohol
Excessive alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure and triglyceride levels, increasing the risk of heart disease. Researchers suggest limiting alcohol intake to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men to help lower cholesterol levels naturally.