Statistics have shown that more than 1/3 of U.S. adults suffer from hypercholesterolemia, also known as LDL cholesterol.
These high levels of bad cholesterol affect our overall health, as they increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and heart attack. Cholesterol divides into three types:
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL)
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
- Very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)
The first type is good for you, but the two other can significantly affect your quality of life, no matter the age, ethnicity or gender. Some factors that are responsible for increasing the risk of cholesterol are obesity, smoking, poor diet, diabetes and lack of exercises.
Luckily, cholesterol can be treated using specific natural foods which help the body fight the condition and improve the immune system. Some of these foods are:
Almonds are loaded with fiber, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats as well as polyunsaturated fats which help lower the bad LDL cholesterol while increasing the HDL cholesterol. According to studies, consuming 3 almonds or other types of nuts per day can help lower bad cholesterol for up to 19%.
Oatmeal is one of the easiest ways to reduce high cholesterol. Having oatmeal for breakfast can decrease the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream thanks to the high soluble fiber it contains. On top of that, it will also help you avoid overeating as it will fill you up quickly.
Many people are not aware that salmon is loaded with EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids which prevent high cholesterol levels all while reducing triglycerides and increasing the good cholesterol, therefore reducing the risks of heart disease.
According to a study published back in 2000 in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition Journal, orange juice improves the levels of blood lipid in hypercholesterolemia patients, thanks to its richness in vitamin C, folate as well as flavonoids. It is recommended that you consume 2-3 cups of orange juice a day.
Drinking 3-4 cups of green tea per day is considered to be one of the simplest yet most efficient ways to lower the total and bad cholesterol levels. Green tea is loaded with compounds which help the excretion of cholesterol and prevent it from being absorbed in the digestive tract.
Soybeans and Soy Products
Soy products contain a plant-based protein which is highly effective when it comes to treating high cholesterol levels. While it won’t help achieve you lower a significant amount of your cholesterol level, it can still reduce the bad cholesterol, which is why it is recommended that you consume soy products alongside other cholesterol-fighting foods.
Studies have shown that the high amounts of monounsaturated fats found in avocados help significantly lower the LDL cholesterol in overweight people, and increase the levels of HDL cholesterol. On top of that, Avocados are loaded with protein, fiber, vitamin K, minerals and B-complex vitamins.
Just like the avocado, olive oil is also known for having high levels of monounsaturated fats that help reduce LDL cholesterol, and with this, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Olive oil is also rich in vitamin E, which improves your overall health and immune system.
Aside from being delicious, dark chocolate can also help reduce LDL cholesterol and increase the HDL cholesterol levels, and according to some studies, the component responsible for this health benefit is theobromine, which is found in the chocolate. Aside from that, it is also rich in antioxidants and flavonoids which prevent blood platelets from sticking together and preventing clogged arteries, thus lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Garlic is one of the oldest remedies used since ancient times to treat various health conditions, including preventing blood pressure, blood clots and heart disease. According to research, garlic is a far better and safer alternative to pharmaceutical cholesterol and blood pressure-lowering medications. It is recommended that you consume 2-3 cloves of garlic on an empty stomach on daily basis, as well as to add garlic in various dishes.
Additional Tips to Lower Cholesterol:
- Avoid smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week
- Follow a healthy diet
- Avoid alcohol consumption
- Avoid fried or fatty foods
- Follow a low-saturated fats diet
- Avoid egg yolks, red meat and full-fat dairy products