A common misconception about cholesterol is that it is bad. This isn’t true as the body requires cholesterol, so that cells, hormones, and nerves function properly. The bad thing is when cholesterol builds up in the walls of the arteries (plaque) and this decreases blood flow in the important areas of the body. Long-term accumulation of plaque hikes up the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Cholesterol should be kept in equilibrium, but most of our diets consist of refined carbohydrates and hydrogenated fats, which lead to imbalance and high risk of chronic diseases. If your total cholesterol is 200 to 239 mg/dL (borderline high) or at least 240 mg/dL (high), it is important to take the necessary steps to reduce cholesterol. Here are easy ways to help you decrease your cholesterol levels naturally and quickly:
1. Eat the right foods.
The following can help reduce your low density lipoproteins (LDL) or bad cholesterol, while increasing high density lipoproteins (HDL) or the good cholesterol:
Foods rich in soluble fiber
Herbs like turmeric, basil, and rosemary
Garlic and onions
2. Avoid some foods.
Some foods and drinks raise cholesterol, including:
Refined carbs and sugar
Hydrogenated fats like vegetable oils
3. Exercise regularly.
You can lower your cholesterol levels rapidly by simply exercising. The best exercises are weight and burst training. Both of which can help boost the human growth hormone or HIGH, which can lead to lower LDL cholesterol and increased HDL cholesterol.
4. Use essential oils.
There are essential oils that are great for lowering cholesterol levels. One is lavender essential oil, which can help reduce emotional stress – a common cause of high cholesterol. Rosemary oil is also helpful in reducing cholesterol due to its antioxidant properties and is also supportive to the cardiovascular system. Cypress oil is also used to lowering cholesterol and can help in improving circulation.
5. Stop smoking.
For those who are smoking, it’s time to stop. The benefits don’t end at improving your HDL cholesterol levels. With just 20 minutes of stopping your bad habit, both the heart rate and blood pressure decrease. In just one year, your heart disease risk decreases up to 50% compared to smokers. In 15 years, your heart disease risk is equivalent to that of someone who never smoked.
Sometimes, lifestyle changes are not enough. You should listen to what your doctor tells you, particularly when it comes to taking your medications. It is important, however, to continue eating well and exercising to take your progress even further.
In some people, cholesterol levels in the blood become too high. This is called high cholesterol or hyperlipidemia. High levels of LDL cholesterol (so-called "bad" cholesterol) are considered a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. There are several foods which are not just part of a healthy diet; they actively help to lower your cholesterol too. Try to eat some of these every day. The more you add to your diet, the more they will lower your cholesterol naturally, especially if you cut down on saturated fat as well. Try switching some of your usual meat, dairy products and deserts, such as milk, yoghurt and custard, to soya alternatives to help you lower your cholesterol level.