Eating a healthy diet and regular exercise can help lower the level of cholesterol in your blood. Adopting healthy habits, such as eating a healthy balanced diet and exercising, will also help prevent your cholesterol levels from becoming high in the first place. In this mega guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about keeping your cholesterol levels in check and avoiding heart disease. Natural Tips to Reduce Blood Cholesterol
Eat more fiber
Fruits and vegetables, including whole grains, are good sources not only of heart-healthy antioxidants but also cholesterol-lowering dietary fiber. Soluble fiber, in particular, can help lower cholesterol. It "acts like a sponge to absorb cholesterol" in the digestive tract. Good sources of soluble fiber include dried beans, oats, and barley, as well as fiber products containing psyllium.
Relegate meat to a minor part of your diet instead of making it the centerpiece of most meals. Trim off fat and skin from meats and poultry. Avoid fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb; instead choose lean meats, or substitute fish or skinless white-meat poultry. When dining out, choose a smaller portion of meat, or meatless pasta or fish dishes.
Fish and fish oil supplements lower levels of triglycerides, which are fats related to cholesterol. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found a combination of fish oil, red yeast rice and lifestyle changes can be just as effective as prescription drugs when it comes to lowering a person's cholesterol. Over the course of 12 weeks, study participants showed significant decreases in their levels of LDL cholesterol.
Drink green Tea
Green tea as a healthier alternative to sodas and sugary beverages helps a lot to reduce cholesterol. Recent research in both animals and humans has shown that green tea contains compounds that can help lower LDL cholesterol. In a small study conducted in Brazil, people who took capsules containing a green tea extract were able to reduce their total cholesterol.
Extensive research has demonstrated that regular consumption of nuts can bring modest reductions in cholesterol. Walnuts and almonds seem particularly beneficial. But nuts are high in calories, so limit yourself to a handful a day, experts say.
Roasted almonds with the Skins
Just a fistful of almonds packs a whopping 9 grams of monounsaturated fat, helping slash bad cholesterol, while boosting the good kind. Opting for almonds instead of a doughnut, chips, or pretzels for two snacks a day could cut your "bad" cholesterol by nearly 10 percent. Natural vitamin E in the almond's "meat" plus flavonoids in this nut's papery skin also help halt the development of artery-clogging plaque.
In a study from Mexico's Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, women and men who ate one avocado per day for a week had a reduction in total cholesterol of 17 percent. The amazing details: While their levels of unhealthy LDL and triglycerides fell, good HDL levels actually rose thanks, perhaps to the avocado's high levels of "good" monounsaturated fat. This fatty fruit is also full of cholesterol cutting beta-sitosterol.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Stock up on foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids raise HDL and lower LDL cholesterol levels. Some good sources include salmon and herring fish, walnuts and almonds, dried cloves, and flax-seed oil. Many of these foods also contain antioxidants and vitamins.
Brinjal contains a substance called chlorogenic acid that has the ability to act as an antioxidant. As a result of this action, it has the ability to counteract the increase of LDL cholesterol and therefore, consuming brinjals may prove to be useful in the fight against high cholesterol. A word of caution, though. Brinjals are known to be rich in oxalates and their consumption can lead to health problems for people with pre-existing gall bladder or kidney ailments.
Tomatoes fresh, sun-dried, and in sauce
Eating seven or more servings per week cut risk of cardiovascular disease by 30 percent in a recent study of more than 35,000 women conducted by doctors at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. The heart-smart factor? It could be the antioxidant lycopene or the tomato's stellar levels of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Cooking tomatoes for 30 minutes or longer raises levels of available lycopene. And 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes has more blood pressure lowering potassium than a medium banana!
Garlic appears to be an important protective factor against heart disease and stroke for many reasons. Garlic has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels even in apparently healthy individuals. In numerous double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of patients with initial cholesterol levels greater than 200 mg/dl, daily supplementation with commercial preparations providing at least 10 mg alliin can lower total serum cholesterol by about 10-12 %.
We know of turmeric’s excellent wound healing properties as well as expectorant action. But some studies have also found that it also has a protective action on the heart. Turmeric has been shown to lower the levels of LDL cholesterol and therefore, it can help cut down on the build-up of plaque on the walls of the arteries. Adding a pinch of turmeric powder to the curries and vegetable preparations is one of the best ways to ensure you get your daily dose of this powerful herb.
Plant sterols and stanols
Phytosterols and phytostanols are structurally similar to cholesterol and can act in the intestine to lower cholesterol absorption by displacing cholesterol. Because phytosterols and phytostanols are poorly absorbed, blood cholesterol levels will drop as cholesterol is excreted. These compounds are being added to so-called functional foods (e.g., margarine and other spreads, orange juice, granola bars) and are also available as dietary supplements. Phytosterols and phytostanols are effective in lowering LDL in some people. A meta-analysis of 41 trials showed that an intake of 2 grams of stanols or sterols per day reduced LDL by 10%. The best and safest ways to get these nutrients, though, is by eating foods that are high in stanols and sterols: grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Soluble fiber found in legumes, fruit and vegetables is effective in lowering cholesterol levels. To help lower cholesterol, try to eat 35 grams of fiber per day from fiber-rich foods, which, again, you should familiarize yourself with so you'll get used to buying high-fiber foods. Oat bran and oatmeal are especially good sources of high-value soluble fiber. Natural fiber supplements can also help to boost soluble fiber in your system, if you just aren't getting enough roughage in your diet.