Lowering your cholesterol can be a challenge. But there are things you can do to make it easier. Here are five ways to lower your cholesterol naturally:
- Eat more fiber. Fiber is the indigestible part of plants that helps prevent constipation and lowers blood cholesterol levels. Fiber also helps you feel full, so you eat less and lose weight. The amount of fiber in food is listed on food labels as grams per serving.
- Get enough exercise. Regular exercise can help lower your blood pressure and improve heart health by increasing the amount of oxygen-rich blood circulating through your body — which increases the efficiency of the heart muscle.
- Reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet by eating less red meat, butter, and full-fat dairy products. Saturated fat raises LDL levels and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke by raising blood pressure and increasing inflammation in the body.
Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating more cold-water fish such as mackerel, herring, salmon or sardines at least twice per week or taking an omega-3 supplement daily. Omega-3 fatty acids help lower triglyceride levels while raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels.
- Eat more monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil and other plant oils like canola oil, as well as some nuts and seeds. These fats may help lower LDL cholesterol while raising HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Extra virgin olive oil is a particularly good source of monounsaturated fats.
- Eat fewer trans fats Trans fat raises the level of bad (LDL) cholesterol without increasing the level of good (HDL) cholesterol in your body. Trans fat occurs naturally in some animal products such as dairy products and red meat, but it is also created when hydrogen atoms are added to liquid vegetable oils to make them solidify at room temperature (which makes them perfect for use in cakes, cookies or other baked goods). You should avoid these foods completely because they have been shown to raise harmful LDL levels and lower beneficial HDL levels much more than any other kind of fat does.