51 Good Ways to Eliminate High Cholesterol
Everyone needs some cholesterol. But too much cholesterol can be bad for your health and can put you at risk for heart disease. Approximately 1 in 3 Americans (over 100 million) have high cholesterol. This article will help give you some ideas on how to get your cholesterol where it needs to be.
Here are 51 Good Ways to Eliminate High Cholesterol
In order for you to start lowering your cholesterol, you first need to understand it. Let’s start with some simple definitions:
HDL’s, or High Density Lipoproteins, are what’s known as “good cholesterol.” A HDL attaches itself to cholesterol and escorts it through your liver and out your body.
LDL’s, or Low Density Lipoproteins, are the “bad cholesterol” that we don’t want in our bodies. It’s the LDL’s that clog our arteries and can cause heart disease.
Finding a good balance between HDL’s and LDL’s is very important.
Here’s a table that shows what they should be:
Desirable Borderline Undesirable
HDL Above 45 35-45 Below 35
LDL Below 130 130-160 Above 160
Eating the right foods can greatly reduce your cholesterol. This next section will list all sorts of foods that have been proven to greatly reduce cholesterol.
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- Know Your Oils
There are so many cooking oils out there. Knowing the healthy ones vs. the non-healthy ones can make a big difference in your cholesterol levels.
Here are some good oils:
- Canola oil
- Olive oil
- Grape seed oil
- Flax seed oil
- Dark Chocolate
Surprised? Oh yes, chocolate can actually help reduce your cholesterol. People who eat lots of cocoa powder and dark chocolate have lower levels of bad LDL cholesterol and 4% higher levels of good HDL cholesterol!
- Go Nuts
Love nuts? No worries! Nuts (especially almonds and walnuts) are finally off the no-no list. A study found that eating 25 almonds a day for 1 month cut bad LDL cholesterol by 4 percent and raised good HDL cholesterol by 5% (Circulation, Sept 10, 2002).
- The Lowdown on Eggs
Through the history of health awareness, a lot of people have had much to say about eggs. Are they good? Are they bad? While eggs are good for you, they do have a lot of cholesterol. Holly McCord, RD
(www.prevention.com) says, “Since one large egg has about 210 mg of cholesterol–almost three-quarters of the 300-mg daily limit set by the American Heart Association (AHA)–you need to pair eggs with low cholesterol foods the rest of the day.”
In general, chicken and turkey are low in saturated fat, especially when the skin is removed. This can really reduce your cholesterol, specifically when you’re substituting poultry for red meat.
- Menu Smart
These days most restaurants have low cholesterol sections on their menus. If you don’t see one, asks your waitress; it may be on a separate menu. You can also ask for smaller, or appetizer-sizes portions of your order.
- Smart Snacking
Don’t be afraid to snack. There are lots of cholesterol friendly snacks out there. Among these are:
- Graham crackers
- Rye crisps
- Soda crackers
- Melba toast
- English Muffins
- Smart Desserts
Believe it or not, there are a lot of cholesterol friendly desserts out there.
So before you say no to temptation, consider these:
- Fruit ices
- Angel food cake
- Frozen yogurt
Adding fiber to your diet can help get you cholesterol down. The soluble kind of fiber, like that found in oat bran, is the type of fiber that actually washes away the bad cholesterol that clings to the inner walls of the arteries. Consuming an adequate amount of water-soluble fiber each day may reduce cholesterol levels by up to 20%.
- Bean Smart
Beans can help lower your cholesterol. The reason these high-fiber legumes are so effective is because they contain pectin. The more of these beans you can eat, the greater the benefits. Some of these include:
- Lima beans
- Kidney beans
- Navy beans
Eating fish two or three times per week instead of red meat can help lower your cholesterol. Fish has Omega-3 fatty-acids, which WebMD (www.webmd.com) says have been shown to lower triglycerides, a type of fat in the bloodstream. Omega-3 fatty acids may also slow down the growth of plaques in the arteries and reduce inflammation throughout the body.
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- Breads and Cereals
Homemade baked goods are great at getting your cholesterol numbers where they need to be. Here are some ideas:
- Whole grain breads
- Hominy Grits
Up your juice intake to lower your cholesterol. Here are some of the best juices to drink:
- Milk and Cheese
Eating and drinking the right cheeses and milks can help. Here’s a partial list of some favorites:
- Skim or 1% milk
- Non-fat or low-fat yogurt
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Low-fat cheese
According to Jennifer Moll of about.com, oatmeal lowers cholesterol. The oat fibers mix with cholesterol in the small intestine and carry the cholesterol out of the body instead of it being absorbed into the blood. The Food and Drug Administration is also convinced of this, as oatmeal was the first food to carry the distinction on its label to lower cholesterol levels.
- Switch to Tea
According to an article on www.prevention.com, in late 2003, USDA scientists reported that 15 people cut their cholesterol by 7% and their bad LDL cholesterol by 11% after just three weeks of drinking five daily cups of black tea. “A cup or two a day for a longer period should also work,” says Joseph Judd, PhD.
Get out that sticky stuff! Studies have shown that honey can lower your cholesterol. It slows the oxidation (dangerous plaque deposits in blood vessel walls that can lead to heart attack and stroke) of bad LDL cholesterol in human blood.
- Fruits and Vegetables
Make sure and get in five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. It’s easier than you think, and it’s probably the simplest way to lower your cholesterol.
- Beware of Trans-Fat Foods
Trans-fat foods are foods with the wrong types of fat in them – the fats that can send your cholesterol levels soaring. Here’s a list of ten bad ones:
- Cake mixes
- Cereal bars and energy bars
- Chips and crackers
- Dried soups
- Fast food
- Frozen entrées
- Nondairy creamers and whipped topping
- Packaged cookies and candy
- Packaged doughnuts, pies, and cakes
Eating the right foods goes hand in hand with exercise. Getting your heart pumping is a great way to get healthy. Here are some good things to do to get that cholesterol where it needs tobe.
Now you have a great reason to hit that golf course. According to Michele Stanten, Prevention.com’s Fitness Director, when 55 sedentary, middle age men started playing golf two or three times a week, over a five month period they Increased “good” HDL cholesterol by 5%, and lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides by 4%.
Walking is a very effective exercise for getting healthy. In fact, taking a 15-20 minute walk every day can reduce your bad cholesterol by up to 8%.
According to www.yoga.com, yoga can be very beneficial at getting cholesterol levels where they need to be. Practicing yoga on a regular basis improves the blood and oxygen flow in the body, which aids in the removal of toxins and waste.
There are lots of vitamins, minerals and herbs that can help get those cholesterol levels where they need to be. Below are some ideas to help you.
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Pantethine can significantly reduce LDL-cholesterol (the bad) while increasing HDL (the good) levels in several clinical trials. While you can get pantethine in supplement form.
Pantethine also occurs naturally in these foods:
- Artichoke Extract
This heart healthy extract can help lower your cholesterol levels. In studies, it’s been proven to lower cholesterol up to 18%.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is great at reducing bad cholesterol. Says Sudhir Kurl, MD, “Vitamin C minimizes artery damage from free radicals, reduces blood pressure, and helps control cholesterol.”
- Vitamin E
Taking Vitamin E each day may help keep the bad cholesterol out of your diet, which in turn helps your heart to be healthy. Vitamin E also raises the level of good cholesterol.
Research shows that calcium can help reduce cholesterol. It attaches to cholesterol-carrying bile acids and expels them from the body as waste, thus lowering the total cholesterol and the LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol).
Policosanol is a mixture of alcohols isolated and refined from sugar cane and has been associated with lower levels of LDL. You can read more and order some here:
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition concluded that chromium significantly lowers cholesterol levels. Among 300 patients, those receiving chromium had cholesterol reductions of 20 points, on average. But don’t overdo it. You only need about 200 mcg a day.
- Beta Glucan
Glucan is found in oats, barley, yeast and mushrooms. Recent studies have shown it to be beneficial in lowering cholesterol. It’s not very expensive and you can buy it in 100 and 200 mg capsules.
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- Soy Isoflavones
The American Heart Nutrition Committee advised in 2000 that Americans with high cholesterol should add soy protein to their diets. In that report it was said that soy isoflavones lower LDL and raise HDL.
- Red Yeast Rice Extract
Red yeast rice is an all-natural powder made from dried, fermented rice. Red rice yeast lowers cholesterol because it contains, among many other chemicals, one of the statin drugs.
- B Vitamins
B vitamins can help reduce your cholesterol. The family of B vitamins includes Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 and Folate (Folic Acid). A good B-complex vitamin will have all of these in it.
- Beta Sitosterol
Beta Sitosterol is a plant product that has structural similarity to the cholesterol made in our bodies. Because of this, it isn’t absorbed into the body very well. This poor absorption “fools” your body into getting rid of the real cholesterol, lowering it as a result. You can learn more and order some here:
Guggul is an Indian herb that has been used for centuries. When studied, it was discovered that guggul reduced cholesterol in some people 14-27%. Guggul also reduces platelet stickiness so over clotting does not occur in the blood, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. You can read more and order some here:
This Asian herb targets heart disease. It sweeps up unstable molecules that damage or destroy healthy cells, reduces pressure within the blood vessels, and lowers the production of bad LDL cholesterol. You can learn more and order some here: www.immortalityherb.com
- Other Herbal Products
There are tons of other herbal products out there that claim to reduce cholesterol. Among them are:
- Fenugreek seeds and leaves
- Holy basil
- Green Tea
- Licorice Extract
When diet and exercise aren’t getting your cholesterol down, it may be time to consult your doctor about medication. There are lots of choices out there. This section will give you the four main types of cholesterol medications.
According to WebMD, statins block the production of cholesterol in the liver itself. Examples include:
- Nicotinic Acid
Nicotinic acid is basically a high-dose B-complex vitamin that can be prescribed to you by your doctor. Examples of nicotinic acid are:
- Bile Acid Resins
Bile acid resins attach themselves to the bile from your liver. Since cholesterol makes up much of bile, this drug is able to get rid of much of this cholesterol. Examples of bile acid resins include:
Also according to WebMD, fibrates reduce the production of triglycerides and can increase HDL cholesterol. Here are some examples of fibrates:
- Ezetimibe (Zetia)
Zetia is a newer cholesterol medication. It works by reducing the amount of cholesterol that your body absorbs. It can lower bad cholesterol by up to 25%. Ezetimibe can also be taken with a statin. One that already combines Zetia with a statin is Vytorin.
Lowering your cholesterol can be a tricky thing for some people. But don’t give up!
Below are some other things to think about and do.
- Lose Weight
If your weight is higher than it should be, slimming down may significantly lower your cholesterol level. Even shedding just five to ten pounds may be enough to improve your cholesterol level. Be careful not to crash diet though. A mere half pound per week is steady and healthy.
- Learn All You Can
There’s a plethora of information out there on cholesterol. Make sure you learn all that you can. You can find information in these sources:
- Your doctor
- The Internet
- The Library
- Cut Stress
Stress can have a powerful, indirect effect on your cholesterol levels. If you have too much extra anxiety, your body gets out of whack, and your LDL’s can sky-rocket. Here are some good ways to cut that stress:
- Take ten minute breaks during the day to relax and/or meditate
- Laugh often
- Pamper yourself
- Check Your Thyroid
If nothing seems to help get your cholesterol down, you may want to have your thyroid checked. A low thyroid level can not only make your cholesterol high, but it can make you very tired. It’s a good idea to get your thyroid checked regularly.
- Quit Smoking
There are thousands of reasons to stop smoking. One of these reasons is to lower your cholesterol. Smoking is a cause of high cholesterol levels and heart disease. It also raises the amount of LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), and lowers the amount of HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol). The good news is, if you stop smoking now, you can reverse this damage.
- Make a Commitment
All lifestyle changes take commitment. If your goal is to lower your cholesterol, make it a real commitment. Make menus. Find an exercise buddy. Schedule your days. As you work at it, those numbers will come down and you’ll feel great!