Cholesterol is a wax-like substance produced by the liver. It supports many essential bodily functions, helps make several hormones, and keeps the walls of your cells flexible. However, high cholesterol levels in the wrong places can lead to various health issues.

Having high cholesterol does not cause any visible symptoms. A simple blood test using the Elisa kit can determine the total cholesterol level in your body.

LDL vs. HDL

Similar to fat, cholesterol does not dissolve in water. Lipoproteins are responsible for transporting cholesterol and fat-soluble vitamins in various parts of the body. Different types of lipoproteins have different health effects. For example:

  • The presence of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in excess results in cholesterol deposits ( plaque ) in the blood vessel walls, that can lead to kidney failure, heart attacks, and strokes.
  • On the other hand, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) helps to deliver unused LDL back to the liver. It protects against clogged arteries and different types of diseases.

When to Visit a Doctor?

Consult your doctor if you should have a lipid profile cholesterol test. It is recommended that adults ( 20 years and above ) with no symptoms for stroke and heart disease should get this test done, every five years.

If you have high cholesterol levels, your doctor can prescribe certain medicines to keep the cholesterol levels within the desirable range. However, these medications can cause side effects such as nausea, muscle cramps, and headaches.

Check Out These 5 Natural Ways to Lower your Cholesterol Levels Without Medication:

1. Avoid Trans Fats

Trans fats are unsaturated fatty acids that have undergone various industrial processes called hydrogenation to make them solid at room temperature.
Avoid Trans Fats

Some Common Sources of Trans Fats are:

  • certain processed and prepackaged foods;
  • fried foods;
  • partially hydrogenated vegetable oils;
  • vegetable shortening

Bacteria in the stomach of goats, sheep, and cows also produce natural trans fats. Most dairy products such as milk, cheese, etc. also contain a decent amount of natural trans fats.

Unsaturated Trans Fats can Affect a Person’s Health in two Different Ways:

  • Trans fats reduce blood levels of good cholesterol ( high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol ).
  • They raise blood levels of bad cholesterol ( low-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol ).

2.   Increase Physical Activity

Regular exercise can improve cholesterol. It not only improves your physical fitness and helps reduce your weight, but also increases beneficial HDL and reduces harmful LDL.

For a healthy person, do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise such as walking, jogging, or cycling, five times a week. Alternatively,  perform vigorous aerobic activities such as resistance-band training, jumping jacks, or low-intensity Korean dance for 20 minutes, three times a week.

Adding Physical Activity to your Lifestyle can Help you Maintain Healthy Weight.

You can:

  • Play your favorite sport;
  • Ride a bike to work;
  • Take a brisk daily walk after lunch;
  • Pair with an exercise buddy; and
  • Join an exercise group.

3.   Consume Fewer Saturated Fats

A diet containing high saturated fats raises LDL cholesterol levels of a person. It can accumulate and form thick deposits in the arteries, blocking the smooth blood flow that may lead to a serious condition called atherosclerosis.

Common Dietary Sources of Saturated Fats are:

  • Cheese
  • Red meat
  • Chicken with the skin on
  • Butter
  • Pork
  • Cooking oils, such as coconut oil and palm oil
  • Full-fat dairy products.

The recommended limit of saturated fat is about  5% to 6% of a person’s daily calorie intake. Higher than this limit increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and sudden death. Limiting your consumption of saturated fats can help reduce your LDL.

4.   Eat Polyunsaturated Fats

Including polyunsaturated fats ( omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid ) in your diet can reduce LDL cholesterol without changing HDL cholesterol levels. It improves irregular heartbeat ( arrhythmia ), and promote overall heart health.

Eat Polyunsaturated Fats

Common Dietary Sources of Polyunsaturated Fats are:

  • Walnuts
  • Avacado
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Flax oil or flax seeds
  • Plant oils, such as safflower oil, soybean oil, and corn oil
  • Fish, such as Trout, Salmon, Albacore Tuna, Herring, and Mackerel.

However, consuming a high level of polyunsaturated fats may cause adverse health effects.

5.   Consume More Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber lowers LDL levels but does not affect triglyceride or HDL levels. It absorbs water to create a thick, gel-like paste in the digestive tract of a person to supports digestive health.

Common Sources of Soluble Fiber are:

  • Legumes
  • Dried beans, peas, and lentils
  • Fruits, such as strawberries, apples, citrus fruits, etc.
  • Vegetables, such as potato, sweet potato, broccoli, etc.
  • Whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal, oat bran, etc.

Takeaway

Cholesterol has essential functions in the body but an excess of bad cholesterol can cause clogged arteries and increase the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, etc. If you are at risk of high cholesterol, some simple lifestyle changes are the first line of treatment.

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