Fighting Cholesterol Without The Meds - Naturally Lowering The LDL And Raising The HDL
Fighting high LDL and/or low HDL cholesterol can definitely seem like an uphill battle. There are many medications doctors can prescribe to help correct this condition, though it's usually better to look for healthy alternatives, such as a balanced diet and exercise, to keep your levels in check.
The trick is to find the foods that will maintain proper LDL and HDL levels, while still appealing to your taste buds. In the end it doesn't matter how beneficial your new diet may be to your health, if you're not enjoying the meals then you are more than likely not going to stick to the program.This is not, in any way, going to be a replacement for the prescriptions that you are currently taking, but it can certainly help to get your LDL and HDL levels stable enough, that you may not need to be on medications for this condition permanently.
What is LDL?
LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein and is only one of the five major lipoprotein groups. The group consists of LDL, HDL,VLDL,IDL and chylomicrons. Lipoproteins allow lipids such as triglycerides and cholesterol to be transported into the blood stream and from there to tissue.
LDL is the "bad cholesterol" a high level of these in the blood stream is often thought to be the cause, in part, to several conditions such as heart disease and atherosclerosis. When LDL levels are high they begin to accumulate plaque within the arteries.
What is HDL
HDL stands for high-density lipoproteins and are often called "the good cholesterol". In the case of HDL, high levels in the blood are a good thing as they tend to lower cholesterol related health risks. Keeping HDL levels high are thought to be just as important as keeping your LDL levels low for the prevention of heart disease and other cholesterol related health risks.
Great foods to lower the LDL
When it comes to lowering LDL cholesterol, fiber is definitely a great start. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of the dietary fiber used for lowering the "bad cholesterol". Soluble fiber is exceptionally good for this purpose. A few examples of soluble fiber include oats, barley and dried beans. Soluble fiber will act as a sponge and absorb the cholesterol within the digestive track. Fiber is also a great source of heart healthy antioxidants.
Fish is another great food for lowering LDL cholesterol. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids which have an extreme effect in lowering both cholesterol and triglycerides. Salmon contains a large amount of omega-3, but even a can of tuna contains omega-3 when you're looking for a more cost effective alternative. Fish is highly recommended by the American Heart Association as the number one source for omega-3 intake.
Though fish are the best source for omega-3, there are some vegetation that can provide the body with these as well. Soybeans, canola, walnuts, flax seeds and the oils contained within any of these are also beneficial for receiving omega-3 acids. Just don't expect the same results from these sources as you would get from consuming fish, as they don't provide anywhere near the same amount of these helpful acids.
Green tea is also known to lower LDL levels and tastes good too. Sodas and other sugar based drinks have nothing healthy to contribute to your body, so why not give green tea a try.
Raising the HDL through your diet
Low HDL levels are thought to increase the risk of coronary heart disease in individuals who are otherwise thought to be healthy. For this reason it is very important that your body keeps a higher level of HDL cholesterol.
Once thought to be a hazard for maintaining proper cholesterol levels, eggs are now known to be a great source of necessary HDL cholesterol. Scientists have found that by just adding one egg to your daily diet you can greatly increase your HDL levels.
Along with lowering LDL levels, soy is also known to raise HDL cholesterol. By replacing animal based products with soy products you are lowering your saturated fat intake and raising your bodies fiber intake.
Berries are a delicious way to increase your HDL levels and with so many to choose from it's unlikely that you will get burnt out on the flavor anytime soon. Some wonderful HDL raising berries include black currants, strawberries, raspberries and bilberries.
Drinking a glass of orange juice every day can increase your HDL intake by about 7%, not to mention all of the other great benefits of OJ. Delicious and nutritious.
Moderately consumed alcohol is another proven method for increasing HDL levels. The keyword is moderate, alcohol consumed in abundance has far to many negative side effects to ever be considered beneficial.
Cocoa is a tasty way to raise HDL cholesterol as well, 1/4 cup of cocoa powder a day, or 1 glass of hot cocoa drink, is known to considerably raise your HDL level.
Cranberry juice is another great tasting drink, known for raising HDL levels as much as 8% by drinking just one 8oz. glass.
Are you currently
Are you currently taking medication to treat high cholesterol?
Other contributing factors to successfully maintaining proper cholesterol levels
There are many ways to help control your cholesterol levels, other than just your diet. To successfully achieve the desired levels of both harmful and beneficial cholesterol it is important to factor in these other tips as well.
If you are a smoker, then stop. There's no reason for me to list all the excellent reasons for you to give up smoking, as I'm sure that you have already heard most of them. Go ahead and add cholesterol levels to that list, quitting smoking is a proven method for raising HDL levels.
A decent cardio workout will do wonders for your HDL levels. Just 30 minutes a day, of moderate to intense exercise, will greatly increase your HDL levels. It's also a great way to help lose weight, which brings me to my next suggestion.
Healthy weight loss, through proper dieting and exercise, is one of the best things you can do for both your body and mind. By losing excess weight you will not only raise HDL levels but decrease many unrelated health risks at the same time. Keeping a trim and fit body can also do wonders for your self esteem, libido and confidence.
As I mentioned earlier, these tips are in no way a replacement to any medications you may already be taking but following these guidelines will increase your chances of never being put on cholesterol medication to begin with. If you are already taking doctor prescribed cholesterol medication then these tips will certainly help you to gain control of the problem, which will in turn improve your chances of being taken off of the expensive medication sooner than you think.