5 Natural Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol
For healthy arteries, you’ll need to lower your LDL level, and also try to boost your HDL level. Here are five easy ways to do it
Increase your omega-3s
Fish is much more than a replacement for meat. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, which actually lower LDL cholesterol. Aim to eat fish three times a week-even if it's canned tuna. Your best bets are mackerel, tuna and salmon, all very high in omega-3s. Sardines are great sources, too.
If you absolutely won't eat fish, take a daily fish-oil supplement that contains both EPA and SHA (two types of omega-3 fatty acids). Take 1,000 milligrams twice a day.
Like clams? Indulge! Clams are high in sterols, chemicals that prevent your body from absorbing cholesterol.
Flaxseeds are great sources of omega-3s fats. Grind them and add to your yogurt or cereal. One study found that eating 2 tablespoons of flaxseed daily cut LDL cholesterol by 18 percent. You can also use flaxseed oil in salad dressing.
Eat your oatmeal
Oatmeal is a rich source of soluble fibre, which form a kind of gel in your intestine to reduce y our body's absorption of the fat you eat. Eating 1-1/2 cups a day could lower your LDL 12 to 24 percent. Choose quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats over instant oatmeal.
Other especially good sources of soluble fibre include prunes, barley, beans (legumes), eggplant and okra.
Not getting enough soluble fibre in your diet? Try psyllium, found in dietary fibre supplements like Metamucil. Research shows that taking about 10 grams a day for eight weeks can reduce LDL by seven percent.
Have a glass of wine
Alcohol-no matter what kind you drink-raises HDL levels. "Moderate" means one drink a day for a woman, and two a day for a man. If you drink more than that, the damage could outweigh any benefits. Red wine offers additional benefits: powerful antioxidants that come from the grape skin.
Lace up your walking shoes, and move along briskly for 30 minutes each day. Or climb on a Stairmaster and long your 30 minutes in the temperature-controlled climate of a health club. The benefits of regular exercise are incontrovertible. Studies show that physical activity will improve the ratio of HDLs to LDLs, decreasing your overall risk of heart disease and stroke. Plus, regular exercise helps control diabetes and high blood pressure, which are independent risk factors for heart disease.