In order to get your heart healthy and gain the health benefits associated with lowering your cholesterol level, it is vital that you make appropriate lifestyle changes. In fact, if you already take medications, making the right health decisions can improve their cholesterol-lowering effect. Instead of guessing what you should do, take these eight effective steps to lower your cholesterol and give your heart a fighting chance to work properly.
1. Berberine Lowers Cholesterol
Lowering total cholesterol, which is considered the “bad” cholesterol, is one of the many berberine benefits that can occur when this supplement is taken regularly through the mouth. Berberine also lowers triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood) in people with high cholesterol. It works differently from today’s standard cholesterol medications, so it may help treat people who are resistant to cholesterol-lowering drugs.
2. Eat Foods That Are Healthy for Your Heart
Making changes in your diet can cut down cholesterol and improve your heart health. Here are several ways that you can get started:
Reduce saturated fats that are found primarily in red meat and full-fat dairy products because they can raise your total cholesterol. By decreasing your consumption of saturated fats, you get the benefit of reducing your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is referred to as “bad” cholesterol.
Eliminate trans fats because they raise overall cholesterol levels. Keep in mind that trans fats can sometimes be listed on food labels as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” and are often used in margarine and store-bought cookies, crackers, and cakes. Trans fats raise overall cholesterol levels. As a matter of fact, since the first day of 2021, the Food and Drug Administration has banned the use of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Increase soluble fiber that can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream by eating oatmeal, pears, kidney beans, apples, and Brussels sprouts.
3. Substitute Your Oils
If you are having difficulty cutting fats out of your diet entirely, don’t worry, you don’t have to. Simply switch over to unsaturated fats, which may decrease your “bad” cholesterol and increase your “good” cholesterol levels. Examples of what this process could look like would be that instead of butter or mayonnaise on the bread, you use olive oil. Also, when it comes to cooking, try peanut oil, avocado oil, and canola oil instead.
Fats that are solid or semisolid at room temperature like coconut oil and butter are considered saturated fats. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that your consumption of saturated fats should only equal under 5–6 percent of your daily calorie intake.
4. Exercise Regularly
When you make the healthy choice to exercise on the majority of the days of the week and increase your physical activity, you can improve your cholesterol. Also, with moderate physical activity, you can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is commonly referred to as the “good” cholesterol. With your doctor’s permission, get in at least half an hour of exercise five times a week or intense aerobic activity for 20 minutes at least three times a week.
5. Lose Weight
Having too many extra pounds in your body weight is a contributing factor to high cholesterol. Find a way to incorporate more activity into your daily routine, like using the stairs instead of the elevator, taking walks at the office during breaks, or even doing yard work if going to the gym isn’t feasible. Other physical activities that you can add in even short intervals several times a day that can help you begin to lose weight include brisk daily walks, riding your bike, and playing a sport that you enjoy.
If you need a way to stay motivated like many people do when it comes to losing weight, consider finding a friend or family member that you can exercise with or join an exercise group.
6. Only Drink Alcohol in Moderation
If you drink alcohol, make sure that it is only in moderation. For healthy adults, that means once a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and two drinks a day for men aged 65 and younger. Some of the health consequences connected to heavy alcohol consumption include heart failure, strokes, and high blood pressure, similar to diseases that can occur when having high cholesterol.
7. Quit Smoking
For one last way to get cholesterol under control, you should consider quitting smoking improves your HDL cholesterol level, with the benefits happening within 20 minutes of quitting because your blood pressure and heart rate get a relief spike brought about by cigarette smoking. But the health benefits continue the longer that you stop smoking.
After three months of quitting, your blood circulation and lung function begin improving, and after a year after quitting, your risk of having to deal with heart disease becomes half that of someone who smokes.