13 homemade remedies to lower your cholesterol
If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, it is so important that you do everything you can to lower it, as having a raised cholesterol can put you more at risk of developing serious health conditions, such as heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. Although in some cases you might be given medication to lower your cholesterol, a lot of the time it can be controlled through food.
High cholesterol will cause a build up in the artery wall, which will then restrict the blood flow to the heart, brain and the rest of your body, which is why you will then have an increased risk of coronary heart disease developing.
There are often no symptoms of having high cholesterol; however, there are many lifestyle factors that can put you more at risk of developing it at some stage. These include, an unhealthy diet, having diabetes or high blood pressure, or having a family history of stroke or heart disease.
Like we have previously said, high cholesterol often manifests without displaying any symptoms; however, one Dr, Dr Chris Steele, went on the daytime television programme, This Morning recently to discuss some skin symptoms that are often missed, or mistaken for a less serious condition. He recommends paying close attention to the skin around your eyes, and to look for ‘yellow blobs’, a condition called Xanthelasma, and one that could indicate high cholesterol. The patches usually occur on the inside corners of your eyelids, and this is literally a build-up of the cholesterol that is underneath your skin. Unfortunately, though, many people mistake this symptom for simply being your skin ageing naturally.
Another more common sign is the presence of diagonal earlobe creases, which could be linked to an increased risk of coronary artery disease. In fact, experts from China found that patients who had these creases present on both earlobes had a much higher prevalence of coronary artery stenosis.
Like we have said already though, you can manage your cholesterols significantly through your diet, and many healthy food options will actually help to lower your cholesterol levels naturally. Here are some of the best foods to eat to help do this.
Eating oats are a really great way of lowering cholesterol. Start the day right with a bowl of hot oatmeal or some cereal that is oat-based. This is great because it contains loads of soluble fibre, and just one bowl will give you 1 to 2 grams. You can increase this amount by adding some fruit – bananas and strawberries are really great options.
When you consider that guidelines recommend that you get 20-35 grams of fibre a day, with 5-10 grams coming from soluble fibre, you really are well on your way; however, the average person will not be consuming this amount on a daily basis.
Wholegrains and barley
Again, barley, along with other whole grains contain a high amount of soluble fibre, which will keep your cholesterol levels low, thus reducing your risk of developing heart disease, and other serious health complaints that are associated with having high cholesterol levels.
There is a common theme going on here, but again beans are really great as they are so rich in soluble fibre. They also take longer for your body to digest them as well, which will mean that you will feel fuller for longer, so you will eat less. This is one of the reasons why people often turn to beans when they are trying to lose weight.
The great thing is with beans is that you have so much choice, and can make so many meals from them. They are incredibly versatile, and can also provide a great source of protein, which again is a plus for those who are looking to improve their diet.
Aubergine is a really great option and again is very versatile. It is very low in calories, which is great for people who are trying to lose weight, and it is also a great source of soluble fibre, which as we know is fabulous for lowering your cholesterol and protecting your heart.
A number of different studies have suggested that nuts are actually very beneficial for your heart. Particularly, almonds, walnuts and peanut. You should aim to eat 2 ounces of these nuts a day. Even better, they are packed full of heart-friendly nutrients, so are great at keeping your heart healthy.
If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, swapping your butter, lard, or shortening when cooking can really help. Instead, use a vegetable oil. Again, you have a choice like canola, sunflower, safflower to name a few.
You are unlikely to notice this change in your food, but it can make a huge difference to your cholesterol level and will help to keep you healthier in the long run.
Fruit and vegetables are staples for a healthy diet, but certain fruits, like apples, grapes, strawberries and citrus fruits are really rich in protein and soluble fibre.
Soy is not to everyone’s taste, and many people are reluctant to use them in place of other ingredients when cooking, but the truth is, they are really great ways of lowering your cholesterol without turning to medication.
Tofu and soy milk are great alternatives, and because it is becoming more popular to use dairy alternatives these days, there are some great recipes out there, so you can still make your meals taste as good.
Research has suggested that eating 25 gram of soy protein a day, which equates to 10 ounces of tofu or 2 ½ cups of soy milk can help lower LDL by up to 6%.
Eating fatty fish, such as salmon two or three times a week can have a great effect on your cholesterol level. They are full of omega-3, which can help to reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream and protect the heart by preventing the onset of abnormal heart rhythms.
Consuming omega-3 has so many health benefits; lowering your cholesterol is just one of a very long list, so it is really important for a healthy lifestyle to be eating this regularly anyway.
Research has suggested that replacing harmful saturated fats with omega-3 can help to raise good cholesterol by a huge 4%.
If you are still concerned about ensuring that you are getting the right amount of fibre in your diet, taking a supplement is one of the easiest ways. You can purchase this powder from chemists, but as standard, just two teaspoons of the supplement can provide you with 4 grams of soluble fibre.
This is great news for all you who love a glass of wine. Scientists have long been promoting the benefits that red wine has on the heart, and it has not been suggested that it can help to lower your cholesterol.
This only applies to the high fibre Tempranillo red grapes, which can often be found in Rioja’s can significantly lower cholesterol levels. During a study that was carried out by the Department of Metabolism and Nutrition at the Complutense University of Madrid showed that individuals who consumed the same grape supplement that was found in their red wine, had their LDL levels decrease by a huge 9%. Of those people that they studied, it was found that those with high cholesterol actually saw a drop of 12% in LDL.
So, here are just some of the foods that are great at naturally lowering cholesterol levels without having to turn to medication. But, just as it is important to know which type of food you should be eating, it is just as important, if not more so to know the type of foods that are actually more detrimental to your health, with particular focus which focuses on your cholesterol level. Here are some of the foods that you should eat in moderation with normal cholesterol and things that you should definitely avoid if you have already been diagnosed with high cholesterol levels.
Saturated fats are commonly found in animal products, such as red meat, full-fat dairy products and eggs. Although we have previously said that vegetable oils can lower cholesterol levels, which they can; but some can do the opposite. Palm oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter are some which are best to be avoided.
Saturated fats can increase the levels of LDL cholesterol that you want to avoid. It should be noted though that saturated fats do have some benefits, such as lowering triglycerides and can increase levels of good HDL cholesterol.
It has not actually been proven how saturated fat and heart disease are linked; however, experts do recommend that you limit your intake of these foods.
Trans fats can be really harmful; in fact, the FDA has banned these from the US food supply, so they really should be avoided at all costs.
They are a by-product of the chemical reaction that turns liquid vegetable oil into solid margarine or shortening, as well as preventing these liquid oils from turning bad.
The reason that these type of fats are so bad is that they contain absolutely no nutritional value, and are certainly bad for your heart health. They have been proven to increase LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, whilst reducing the levels of HDL cholesterol.
They really should be avoided, particularly if you have already been diagnosed with high levels of cholesterol.
So, to summarise, you should be eating plenty of soluble fibre, to help lower your cholesterol, and avoid food that contains high levels of saturated fat. It should be noted that it is not just set ingredients either. Chocolate, toffee, cakes, puddings, pastries, pies and rich biscuits should be eaten in moderation anyway, but they have also been proven to increase cholesterols, so really should be avoided.
Although not related directly to food, it should be noted the importance of your weight and exercise. Being overweight and not exercising enough are two major contributing factors that put you far more at risk of developing high cholesterol.
They both affect the fats that are circulating in the bloodstream, and excess weight will definitely boost your harmful levels of LDL, and a lack of activity will depress the protective HDL, so when you combine the two, and generally they do come hand in hand, it really can put you at high risk.