High cholesterol can be a daunting diagnosis knowing that the condition can lead to cardiovascular events such as coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. High cholesterol has also been associated with diabetes and high blood pressure, says WebMD.
Cholesterol is made in your liver and has many important health functions, such as keeping the walls of your cells flexible and assisting in the manufacture of hormones. But according to Healthline, too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to clogged arteries, strokes, heart attacks and kidney failure.
Experts say that making small, doable changes in lifestyle habits can help lower cholesterol in many cases.
“It’s not about adding or subtracting egg yolks, which is probably the most misconceived piece of information you’ve ever heard as it relates to lowering cholesterol, but rather it’s about focusing on adopting a more quality diet so that with time, it just becomes the way you live and doesn’t require constant effort,” says Laura Burak, a registered dietitian, according to Eat This, Not That!
“Center the foundation of your diet around nutritious whole foods like fruits and vegetables, and heart-healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil and fatty fish like salmon, which are known to help improve your blood lipids,” she says.
Here are scientifically proven ways to lower your cholesterol effortlessly:
• Snack on watermelon. Watermelon’s heart disease prevention power comes from its high levels of fiber, vitamins, mineral and bioactive components such as lycopene and beta-carotene, according to a study published in Current Developments in Nutrition. Eating watermelon reduced harmful LDL cholesterol and improved healthy HDL cholesterol in the study participants.
• Try fish oil, fiber and CoQ10 supplements. According to Healthline, there is strong evidence that fish oil and soluble fiber improve cholesterol and promote heart health. Fish oil is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). One study found that supplementing the diet of older adults with fish oil helped reduce high blood pressure and both total cholesterol and LDL levels. Psyllium is a form of soluble fiber that is available as a supplement. An analysis of 28 studies found that taking psyllium fiber effectively lowers LDL cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Coenzyme Q10 is another supplement that shows promise in improving cholesterol.
• Exercise. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week. Exercise can help lower cholesterol and also help you maintain a heart-healthy weight. In one study,12 weeks of aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking combined with resistance or strength training, reduced LDL levels in 20 overweight women, says Healthline.
• Eat more garlic. Noted cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra says, “It’s been used since the age of Hippocrates to treat a variety of ailments but modern cardiologists tout garlic as an excellent blood thinner, cholesterol-lowering agent and an herb that can even lower blood pressure as effectively as some drugs,” he tells Newsmax. Garlic is one of the most widely purchased herbal supplements to lower cholesterol levels, according to Verywell Health. The cholesterol-lowering abilities of garlic appear to be dose-dependent. That means the more garlic you take, the lower your cholesterol will drop. One of the most widely researched garlic supplements is Kyolic aged garlic extract. Dr. Matthew Budoff, a leading cardiologist and professor of medicine at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, says that taking this supplement can reverse arterial plaque buildup, thus reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
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