If your doctor has told you that you have high cholesterol, you may wonder what your options are. Several prescription drugs are on the market to help lower cholesterol. However, many natural remedies can be used either as an alternative to prescription drugs or in conjunction with medication. Here, you'll learn more about natural cholesterol reducing remedies.
Regular exercise can help improve overall cholesterol levels. Getting moderate to high intensity aerobic exercise is especially helpful for raising levels of HDL, the "good" cholesterol. You don't have to become an endurance athlete to reap the benefit of exercise, either. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that--especially for women--people who went from being sedentary to getting regular moderate exercise improved HDL levels. It also found that exercising more vigorously didn't give an added benefit in terms of cholesterol levels.
Eating Healthy Fats
Watching the amount and type of fats you eat will often help reduce overall cholesterol levels while maintaining or increasing levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. Recommendations from the American Heart Association are to limit the amount of trans fat, saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet. Those with no history of cardiac problems should keep dietary cholesterol to under 300 milligrams, and those who do have heart disease should aim for an intake under 200 milligrams. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic advise replacing unhealthy fats with more heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Sources of heart-healthy fats include many kinds of fish, olive oil and nuts such as almonds and walnuts.
Fish oil supplements are known to reduce triglycerides, a fat in the blood that is often tested in conjunction with cholesterol. Other supplements may have a positive effect on cholesterol levels but have not been rigorously tested and proven to be effective. Supplements and food additives that doctors at the Mayo Clinic believe are safe and which may be effective for reducing cholesterol include barley, artichoke, garlic and a seed husk called psyllium.
A study at Oregon State University found that men who were stressed and hostile had higher "bad" LDL cholesterol levels. This was especially true for men who had poor skills for coping with stress. Those with better stress reduction skills had higher levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. Stress reduction has other heart-healthy benefits, too, such as lowering blood pressure.
Smoking tobacco is known to lower your levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. Quitting smoking improves your overall cholesterol levels and usually contributes to higher HDL levels.
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