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How to Lower Your Bad LDL Cholesterol Naturally

Updated on April 4, 2015

How to lower cholesterol

What is cholesterol?

What is cholesterol and do we actually need cholesterol? It is a big concern for many people, and a serious health problem.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance contained in some foods such as red meats and produced by our livers.

A lot people think about cholesterol as a harmful substance which can clog up arteries and cause heart attacks. Cholesterol can cause problems however we need cholesterol so that our bodies can make vitamin D and produce hormones, without cholesterol our bodies could not form cell membranes, insulate nerves and produce bile.

The reason there is a problem with cholesterol is because our modern diet contains much more than we need. We consume about 500 mg per day and our bodies cannot "police" against this amount of cholesterol.

Eating healthy fats such as unsaturated fats helps us to keep our cholesterol levels in check as cholesterol cannot dissolve in the blood. To confuse matters, there are different types of cholesterol and we are going to take a brief look at them.

Good Cholesterol vs Bad Cholesterol

HDL cholesterol

HDL cholesterol is high density lipoprotein and is really important as it appears to protect against cardiovascular disease. A lot of research seems to show that HDL cholesterol tends to carry LDL cholesterol away from the arteries.

The LDL cholesterol travels back to the liver where it in turn is removed from the body.

Good cholesterol - how to increase HDL

Increasing good cholesterol levels is really important, and we need a minimum amount of this very important lipoprotein for our bodies to work. It is surprisingly easy to increase your good cholesterol and one of the most effective way is to exercise.

Going for a walk before you eat, or taking some other light exercise is the best way.

Food Low in LDL
Food to lower LDL
Herbs to lower LDL
Cold water fish
Milk thistle

Symptoms of High Cholesterol

Heart attacks and strokes are the main symptoms of cholesterol problems. The arteries have become inflexible or even blocked forming clots which lead to both conditions.

However there are other indicators such as poor circulation, you might feel cold as circulation is reduced.

1) Leg cramps, or pains in the legs, are other signs which may indicate you have a build up of plaque in your arteries.

2) Headaches - many people with raised cholesterol levels complain of headaches. Less oxygen rich blood carried to brain do result in headaches.

What is high cholesterol and low Cholesterol?

Cholesterol levels are measured in a blood test but what is a good and a bad level?
The level of HDL cholesterol is very important and it needs to be at least 40 mg/dl to ensure the lipoprotein process works.

When you lose weight your HDL level increases and it goes up about 2 mg for every 500 grams lost. So,if you have a good level of HDL it benefits your all overall health, and stimulates fat lowering enzymes in your body. Try to strive for a HDL level of 60.

LDL cholesterol is the level which most doctors are concerned about and I work from my own chart when I review blood tests.

Less than 100 - you are doing great.
Between 100 - 135 - almost at a good level
Between 135 - 160 - this is getting to be a bit high
Between 160 -190 - considered high
Above 190 - this is very risky and need to be brought under control.

If you have high cholesterol it may not be your fault. There are genetic disorders which can cause cholesterol levels to be high but it is very important to know your cholesterol level.

Don't blame yourself just ask for help is my advice to everybody, I dislike the idea of the finger "righteous health" being pointed at anybody. The overall cholesterol level in your blood should be around 200 mg.

Cholesterol and you

Do you know your cholesterol levels?

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Cholesterol Test Kit

There are home kits which you can use at home but I always recommend to go to a clinic to get a professional cholesterol test. Your medical adviser will advise you to fast 6 - 10 before your test so it is a good idea to schedule your test in the morning.

This ensures an accurate reading. If you are taking a cholesterol test for a new medical or health policy, don't eat red meats and cheese in the weeks leading up to the test.

Artichokes Can Help to Lower LDL Cholesterol

Lower your LDL with artichokes
Lower your LDL with artichokes | Source

How to reduce cholesterol

The best way to reduce cholesterol is to increase your intake of fruit and vegetables, and try to reduce read meat, cheese and eggs from your diet. By removing these foods you are reducing your intake of saturated fats.

Cholesterol diet

There are two types of fats - saturated and unsaturated fats. When you eat saturated fats you risk raising your cholesterol level. Most people in the Western world eat too much saturated fats.

Foods high in saturated fats include fatty cuts of meat, cream, cheese, butter, cakes and biscuits and coconut oil. The best foods are the food which contain unsaturated fats oily fish, nuts, seeds and vegetable oil. Trans fats and hydrogenated fats which are found in processed foods and ready made foods can also raise your cholesterol level.

Fiber is really important so try adding as much wholemeal foods to your diet as possible including bread, fruits and vegetables. Lentils, peas and oats are excellent sources of foods that will help you to lower your cholesterol. Fiber is like a broom which sweeps away fatty substances in your blood.

Sterols found in products like soya are excellent. Flaxseeds whole or ground can help, and any type of sprout such as Alfa Alfa. Try sprouting flaxseed by placing a table spoon in water overnight. Just cover the seeds with water and you will wake up to find a gel has formed. This is the sprouting process beginning. Eat the mixture ( the gel as well) in a yoghurt or on its on. It has a slightly nutty taste and is beneficial for your intestines as well as your arteries.

Optimize the amount of nutrition per meal by steaming, poaching, grilling your food instead of roasting and frying. Cook with healthy oils such as olive oil.

In the Mediterranean countries the incident of heart disease is much lower as people eat more fish, fruit and vegetables and cook with olive oil.

Supplements for Lowering Cholesterol

Statins is the conventional way of lowering cholesterol however natural ways work well when combined with a healthy diet. I always find that people on statins actually start to eat more saturated fats as they think they are safe from the harmful effects of cholesterol by taking a statin.

Niacin - this is a water soluble B vitamin and increasing your intake will help you to lower your LDL cholesterol level and raise your HDL cholesterol level.

Lecithin - helps to break downs fats and flush them out of your system. A lot of doctors claim that Lecithin does not work but I have never known lecithin not to be beneficial.

Fish oil and selenium - taken as a combination treatment also helps to lower cholesterol as well as reducing inflammation in your arteries and keeping the arteries more flexible.


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    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      These are great insights, Annie. my father-in - law has cholesterol problems. Eats food high in trans fat, though my husband tries hard to stop him. I will forward this so that they have access to more information.

    • Healthyannie profile image

      Healthyannie 4 years ago from Spain

      Thank you for reading my hub. Trans fats are really bad for the body as we just can't process them.

      Processed foods are not only full of bad fats but also parabens which stop our bodies absorb nutrition. Annie

    • profile image

      joaniebaby 4 years ago

      Thanks for all of the interesting and useful information. I have had high cholesterol for many years. At one point I took a statin but my body could not handle it. Every muscle in my body ached and I could hardly get up and down. As soon as I quit taking the statin, my muscles were back to normal. So now I try eating right and exercising, but I am not good at that, so my cholesterol remains high.

    • Healthyannie profile image

      Healthyannie 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi, I suggest you take start taking fish oil which is a great help.

      Also lecithin can help if your diet is high in fats or you have a problem with cholesterol. Above all stop kicking yourself . . . enjoy life.

      Statins do cause muscle tissue damage - bear this in mind. What is the heart? A muscle - the truth is that statins do more damage than cholesterol. Annie

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