How to Lower Arterial Cholesterol
Some sources of cholesterol raise your high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or "good") cholesterol levels, while others raise your low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol levels.Elevated LDL cholesterol levels can cause atherosclerosis, a condition in which cholesterol accumulates in the arteries and prevents the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.Arterial cholesterol levels accumulate over time, and certain lifestyle factors can increase the severity and the rate of accumulation.High cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease and stroke, two of the most common causes of death in America.Learning how to lower your cholesterol can reduce your chances of developing heart disease and can help you live a healthier and longer life.
Changing Your Diet
Cut out bad fat sources.Trans fat and saturated fat are the worst forms of fat, as they carry the highest risk of heart disease.Saturated fat is one of the biggest sources of cholesterol in many people's diets.Reducing or eliminating your intake of trans and saturated fats can help significantly reduce your cholesterol levels, when combined with other dietary and lifestyle changes.
- Common sources of saturated fat include red meat, poultry, and full-fat dairy products.
- Trans fat is found in some meat and dairy products, as well as baked goods, chips (potato, corn, and tortilla varieties), fried food, margarine, and some non-dairy creamer.Avoid foods labeled with "partially hydrogenated," as these are often high in trans fat.
- Health experts recommend limiting your saturated fat consumption to 10 percent or less of your total caloric intake, but advise even lower levels (no more than seven percent of your total calories) to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Trans fat intake should be kept as low as possible, as many doctors consider it one of the worst types of dietary fat in existence.
Choose healthier fats.Our bodies need some fat, and it's important to choose healthy types of fat instead of harmful forms. Healthier sources of fat include monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Good sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats include avocados, olive oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, and corn oil.
- Common plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids include ground flaxseed, canola oil, soybean oil, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.
- Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Choose healthy fish like salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring.
Eat high-fiber foods.Certain high-fiber foods have been shown to be beneficial to the heart, and can even lower cholesterol levels when paired with other lifestyle changes.That's because soluble fiber reduces the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream, and can reduce your overall LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels.
- Good sources of soluble fiber include oatmeal, oat bran, kidney beans, apples, pears, barley, and prunes.
- Aim to eat at least five to ten grams of soluble fiber each day to help lower your total and LDL cholesterol.
Look for plant sterols or stanols.Sterols and stanols are naturally-occurring plant components that have been shown to help block the absorption of cholesterol in the body.Incorporating plant sterols and stanols into a heart-healthy diet can help reduce your cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease.
- Plant sterols can lower LDL cholesterol levels by five to fifteen percent, according to some studies.
- Eat at least two grams of plant sterols/stanols each day to see results in your cholesterol.
- Sterols are naturally occurring in all plants. Excellent sources of naturally-occurring plant sterols include vegetable oils, nuts/legumes, grains, cereals, and many leafy vegetables.
- Sterols/stanols are usually added as a fortified supplement to certain foods, including some types of margarine, orange juice, and yogurt drinks. Not every margarine or orange juice will be fortified, so check the label to confirm that a given product has added sterols/stanols.
Take whey protein supplements.Whey is one of the two primary proteins in dairy products. Whey protein supplements have been shown to lower both LDL cholesterol and overall cholesterol levels.
- Whey protein powder is a common form of this supplement. You can find it at most health food stores and many grocery stores. Dosing will vary depending on the brand and formula you use, so it's best to follow the instructions on the package.
Lower your carb intake.Some studies suggest that a diet low in carbohydrates can help reduce the arterial accumulation of lipids, including cholesterol. Though more research is needed on the subject, it shows promising results in potentially preventing atherosclerosis in people with high cholesterol levels.
- A heart-healthy low-carb diet should focus on lean protein sources, like poultry, fish, eggs, or tofu, as well as non-starchy vegetables.
- Most low-carb diets limit daily carbohydrate consumption to roughly 60 to 130 grams.
- Talk to your doctor about low-carb diets and other options before beginning any dietary plan.
Consider a plant-based diet.Studies have shown that plant-based diets, like those followed by vegetarians and vegans, can help lower LDL cholesterol and significantly reduce the risk of heart disease compared to meat-based diets.
- While many vegetarian- and vegan-friendly foods are still high in sugar and trans fat, a plant-based diet that incorporates fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils is generally considered to be very heart healthy.
Making Lifestyle Changes
Get more exercise.In order to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, it's important to live a healthy lifestyle. You should aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity at least five days each week. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, or 75 minutes per week of high-intensity exercise.
- Walking, bicycling, swimming, and jumping rope are all excellent forms of aerobic exercise.
Lose excess weight.Doctors recommend a weight-loss plan for patients who are overweight and have high cholesterol. That's because being overweight puts more strain on the heart and raises your blood pressure.Even losing just a few pounds of weight will help improve blood pressure and lower the risk of atherosclerosis.
- If you are overweight and experiencing high cholesterol levels, talk to your doctor about a weight-loss plan that's right for you. Often times, changing your diet and increasing your daily exercise levels can help you lose weight and live a healthier life.
Stop smoking.Smoking is widely considered a factor in atherosclerosis and heart disease.Even occasional or light smoking habits can damage the heart and blood vessels, and increase the risk of developing atherosclerosis.
- If you're a current smoker, talk to your doctor about ways to give up tobacco and lead a healthier lifestyle.
Limit or avoid alcohol.Regular consumption of alcohol in excess has been shown to raise blood pressure, and may contribute to atherosclerosis. Excess alcohol consumption can also cause weight gain, which is another factor that contributes toward atherosclerosis.
- To track alcohol consumption, adhere to the recommended consumption limits.The NHS calculates units of alcohol in a given serving by multiplying the strength (alcohol by volume) times the volume (in milliliters) and dividing that total by 1,000. The recommended daily maximum for alcohol consumption is approximately one to two glasses of wine or beer.
Taking Medication to Lower Cholesterol
Know when to seek help.If diet and exercise alone do not lower your cholesterol levels, you may need to take medication. If you are concerned about your weight, your cholesterol levels, or your overall lifestyle, talk to your doctor about developing a plan and taking cholesterol medication.
Try statins.Statins are a class of drugs that slow down or stop one of your body's enzymes responsible for producing cholesterol. Statins are one of the most successful medications for lowering cholesterol levels. Some studies suggest statins can reduce LDL cholesterol by 20 to 55 percent.
- Common statins include atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and simvastatin (Zocor).
- Some people experience muscle pain, joint pain, and changes in liver enzyme levels. Do not take statins if you have liver disease or are pregnant.
Take Ezetimibe (Zetia).Ezetimibe helps lower the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body. It can be taken in conjunction with statins, but even on its own Ezetimibe has been shown to reduce LDL levels by 18 to 25 percent.
- Ezetimibe may cause joint pain, diarrhea, and sleepiness. Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how Ezetimibe will affect you.
Try bile acid resins.Bile acid resins are a class of drugs that bind to cholesterol-rich bile acids in the intestines, then eliminate them through bodily wastes. This class of medications has been shown to reduce LDL levels by 15 to 30 percent.
- Common bile acid resins include cholestyramine (Prevalite), colestipol (Colestid) and colesevelam (Welchol).
- This class of medication may need to be taken with other cholesterol medications to effectively reduce cholesterol levels.
- Possible side effects include stomach pain and constipation.
- For some people, making dietary and lifestyle changes are enough to reduce cholesterol levels. For others, medication is required, but should always be used in conjunction with a heart-healthy lifestyle.
- Talk to your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise regimen.
Sources and Citations
In other languages:
Español: , Italiano: , Português: , Français: , Русский: , 中文: , Deutsch: , Bahasa Indonesia: , العربية: , 한국어: , 日本語: , Tiếng Việt:
Video: Only a Glass of This Juice will Remove Clogged Arteries And Control Blood Pressure
What Is Sepsis This Life-Threatening Condition Is on the Rise
These 13 Zombie Movies Will Literally Scare the Life Out of You
18Fresh Comedies That Can Make Your Summer Evening Even Brighter
Secrets of a Top Skin Doctor
Out of Hundreds of High-Street Leopard Coats, These 13 Are the Best
5 Ways to Make Any Hot Chocolate Recipe Even Better
The 13 Best and Worst Foods for Runners
How Team Marie Claire surivive London Fashion Week
40 Gallifreyan Tattoo Designs For Men – Doctor Who Ink Ideas
Girl Orders Prom Dress Online, Winds Up With This Instead
BAFTAs 2019: Best Dressed Celebs On The Red Carpet
18 Simple and Easy Ways to Save Money on Everything
4th of July Outfit – 18 Ideas What to Wear on 4th July 2019
FDA OKs Sale of Morning-After Pill Without Age Limit