While there are several medications indicated for severe cases of high cholesterol, there are also many natural ways to fight high cholesterol. Natural supplements, diet changes and a more active lifestyle can all help change your LDL (bad cholesterol) numbers considerably.
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Eliminate animal fats from your diet, or at least reduce the amount considerably. Cholesterol does not exist in vegetable products, so reducing the amount of saturated fats (animal fats) in your diet will have a big impact on your total cholesterol numbers. Animal products especially high in cholesterol include beef, pork, lamb, egg yolks and oily fish such as herring and tuna.
Introduce foods that lower cholesterol to your daily diet. Oats, dark leafy greens and whole grain cereal all contain high levels of fibre, which is essential to help cholesterol move through the body and be excreted faster and more effectively. Other foods that help lower cholesterol include cold-water fish and flaxseed oil (both rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids) and avocados, which are rich in HDL (good) cholesterol.
Exercise and lose weight. Overweight people have higher levels of fat (cholesterol) in both their bodies and their bloodstream, but exercise is also good for a myriad of other reasons. It raises HDL cholesterol, increases metabolic rate (and fat burning) and helps lower triglycerides. A mix of aerobic exercise, strength training and flexibility training provides the best results.
Consider nutritional supplements like garlic, fish oil capsules and red yeast rice. All three have been studied in controlled trials and proven to be effective for lowering cholesterol. The Indian herb Guggulipid is particularly quick and effective in lowering triglycerides, something that not even Statin drugs can do.
Stop smoking. While cigarettes do not have a direct effect on cholesterol levels, they do oxidise the blood faster, making cholesterol more dangerous and more difficult to control.
Try Policosanol, a natural extract obtained from yams and sugar cane and used to lower cholesterol. Policosanol has been studied and tested mainly in Cuba, where the supplement has its origins, before making it into the U.S. market. Policosanol can lower total cholesterol by about 14.2 per cent by helping the liver control the breakdown of fats.
Tips and warnings
- Always talk to your doctor before trying natural supplements, especially if you're taking prescription drugs. Interaction can be dangerous or can cancel the effect of medication.
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