Cholesterol is made in the liver and has many important health functions, such as keeping the walls of cells flexible and assisting in the manufacture of hormones. But according to Healthline, too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to clogged arteries, strokes, heart attacks, and kidney failure.
You can lower your cholesterol without medication in just 30 days, says a leading cardiologist. In her practice, Dr. Elizabeth Klodas M.D., who trained at both the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins, has successfully helped hundreds of patients achieve optimal cholesterol and blood pressure levels with dietary changes alone.
In fact, she’s managed to lower artery-clogging LDL levels by as much as 40 percent — a convincing argument to choosing food over expensive and often problematic statin drugs. Klodas tells Newsmax that she believes heart disease is preventable by making positive lifestyle changes.
“There are pockets of people around the world who live into their 100s and it’s not that they are on the perfect combination of drugs or any drugs at all,” she says. “The major difference is nutrition. Unfortunately, it’s not something that we cardiologists are taught to adequately address. Instead, we are trained to treat the effects of poor diet with drugs instead of changing the food. So, the vast majority of high cholesterol is due to lifestyle factors, especially the foods we eat.”
Here are tips to lower your cholesterol naturally:
- Eat a whole food, plant-based diet. The fiber and plant sterols only found in plants work wonders on cholesterol levels by affecting how cholesterol is more efficiently circulated through the digestive tract. Because we cannot digest fiber, it traps cholesterol-rich bile and excretes it so that it doesn’t get reabsorbed it the body.
- Eat only fats that are liquid at room temperature. Foods like olive oil, canola oil, and the oils in nuts and seeds are good examples. “You can also benefit from the oil in avocados and fish,” says Klodas. “Plant and fish-based oils are a good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These help lower LDL, raise HDL, also called the ‘good’ cholesterol, and lower triglycerides. They are also anti-inflammatory.”
- Get plenty of antioxidants. For LDL cholesterol to accumulate in artery walls, it first must be oxidized, Klodas explains. “So even if your LDL is elevated, eating at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables will help the LDL become less toxic.”
- Avoid simple or processed carbohydrates. These foods drive your cholesterol numbers up, says the cardiologist. Foods such as bagels, many breakfast cereals, and white rice, among others, are broken down into sugar and absorbed into the body quickly, causing insulin spikes. “Insulin is a vital hormone designed to put sugar away but it also puts our bodies into a general storage mode, so the body not only stores sugar but LDL,” says Klodas, who adds that processed foods also cause HDL levels to plummet and raise triglyceride levels.
- Eat soluble fiber. According to Healthline, the beneficial bacteria that live in our intestines require fiber to survive. These probiotics reduce harmful LDL levels in the body. In one study, taking 3 grams of soluble fiber supplements daily for 12 weeks decreased LDL by 18%.
- Exercise. Aerobic exercises like walking, running, biking, and swimming, coupled with resistance training provide a win-win situation for your heart. This combination helps lower LDL levels and boost the level of HDL, the so-called “good” cholesterol in the blood, according to Healthline. Aim for 85% of your maximum heart rate during a workout and increase the duration gradually.
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