People who suffer from high cholesterol are at a high risk of developing heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack. Many people turn to medication to lower their LDL cholesterol levels, but there are natural ways to improve your heart health without statins.
These easy lifestyle changes can drastically lower your cholesterol and prevent possible heart problems, and you can implement these simple things into your daily life starting today. These simple tips are sure to get your blood pumping!
1. Get A Little Nutty When It Comes To Snacking
Snacking on a handful of nuts can decrease your LDL cholesterol levels and leave you feeling full. Nuts such as walnuts or almonds contain sterols, which prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol.
Snacking on nuts is a definite heart-healthy option, but be wary of portion sizes. Nuts can contain a hefty amount of calories if you overindulge!
2. Ban Refined Carbs And Excessive Sugar
Refined carbohydrates—processed foods such as pasta, cereal, or other sugary snacks—send a signal to the liver to produce more cholesterol, which can cause your LDL cholesterol level to rise.
Keep bad cholesterol in check by limiting these unhealthy, sugary foods that do not provide valuable nutrients to your body.
3. Drop A Few Pounds
Those who are overweight and struggle with their cholesterol levels don’t have to lose a massive amount of weight to positively affect their heart health. Individuals that lose 10 pounds can drop their LDL cholesterol levels up to eight percent.
Improving your eating habits and exercise will help you lose weight safely and effectively. The next tip proves you can still indulge, though!
4. Rethink Your Alcohol Consumption
Although a glass of red wine a day has been proven to be good for your heart, overdoing your alcohol intake can be severely damaging. Alcohol alerts the liver to produce more cholesterol, which increases your cholesterol levels and can lead to heart disease.
Keep your red wine to a minimum and avoid other alcoholic cocktails completely to see a change in your cholesterol!
5. Keep Your Stress To A Minimum
If your stress levels are constantly through the roof, this can do the same to your cholesterol levels. Taking time out of your day to relax and simply be will affect your heart health in a positive way.
Starting a home yoga practice or enjoying a book before bed can help you unwind and keep your cholesterol levels in a healthy range!
6. Kick Nicotine To The Curb
Quitting smoking can help your heart out immensely, and a study has shown that smokers that ditched cigarettes for good saw their good cholesterol levels rise an entire five percent in the first year of going cold turkey.
“Smoking can raise LDL and lower HDL, and quitting often improves those numbers,” explains cardiologist Sarah Samaan.
7. Don’t Overdo Your Daily Cup Of Caffeine
Coffee may be the backbone to your wake-up routine, but excess caffeine can lead to high cholesterol levels. Limit yourself to a cup or two of coffee or tea per day to reap the benefits without causing heart problems in the long run.
Following the next tip can completely change your entire life around!
8. Avoid Trans Fats At All Costs
Trans fats are a major culprit when it comes to high levels of LDL cholesterol. The consumption of trans fats leads to clogged arteries and the eventual onset of heart disease.
You can find trans fats in the majority of processed snacks and in your meal bag when you breeze through the fast food drive-thru. Look to healthier fats found in nuts and lean protein to lower cholesterol and increase heart health!
9. Keep Olive Oil In Your Kitchen
Olive oil is proven to increase your HDL cholesterol—the good kind of cholesterol—so use this oil in place of margarine, butter, or coconut oil to support your heart health.
“Substituting olive oil for butter may reduce LDL cholesterol by as much as 15 percent, which is similar to the effect of a low dose of medication,” said Samaan.
A drizzle of this liquid fat in place of its heart-hindering alternatives is a simple way to impact your cholesterol!
10. Maintain A Good Sense Of Humor
The simple act of enjoying a laugh can make a huge impact on your cholesterol. Laughing can cause your HDL cholesterol levels to increase—which is just another reason to enjoy a friendly conversation with a friend or catch a comedy on television.
The following tip will keep you regular as well as protect your heart health!
11. Fill Up On Fibrous Foods
Eating a diet rich in fiber is a life-changing tool for those looking to lower their cholesterol. Fiber helps the body to excrete excess cholesterol, so don’t be afraid to fill your plate with veggies, fruits, beans, and nuts. Your heart and digestive system will stay in great shape when you snack on sources of fiber.
12. Keep Tabs On Your Vitamin D Levels
As you get older, your body loses its ability to properly synthesize Vitamin D you receive from being in the sun.
Having a Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to cases of high cholesterol, so you should schedule a visit to your doctor to rule this condition out. If your Vitamin D levels are low, you can take a supplement to get everything in balance.
13. Feel Free To Hit Snooze
Sleep is vital to your overall wellbeing, and it has a direct effect on your cholesterol. Depriving yourself of the recommended hours of sleep per night can cause LDL cholesterol to increase, which can lead to high blood pressure and overeating.
Aim for getting eight to ten hours of sleep per night to avoid unnecessary spikes in your cholesterol!
14. Consider Going Gluten-Free
Many of our diets revolve around wheat-based products, which have been proven to lead to inflammation and weight gain issues. These factors can be a major driver when it comes to developing heart disease, so shifting your diet to gluten-free could help you take control of your health. If you aren’t ready to completely kick wheat to the curb, consider choosing whole grain products instead of refined wheat foods.
The following heart health tip will really get your health moving in the right direction!
15. Stay Physically Active On A Daily Basis
Making time to participate in some sort of exercise every day can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure while easing the flow of blood to the heart. Taking a brisk walk or even doing some light resistance training can benefit your entire body—and you can lower your cholesterol in the process!
16. Sprinkle Your Favorite Foods With Cinnamon
Using cinnamon to spice up your coffee or yogurt can have some serious heart benefits. One study showed that consuming a half of a tablespoon of cinnamon each day reduced an individual’s cholesterol by 26 percent. Add cinnamon to other cholesterol-fighting foods such as oatmeal to really protect your heart!
17. Stay Hydrated All Day Long
Water can help you prevent heart disease, and a study at Loma Linda University found that drinking five or six glasses of water per day could lower your risk of heart disease by 60 percent. You can spruce up your refreshment by infusing it with different fruits and herbs.
The next tip will have you heading for the produce aisle!
18. Grab Some Grapefruit While Shopping
Not only are ruby red grapefruit delicious and refreshing, but this powerful citrus helps keep you healthy. Consuming one of these fruits daily can lower your cholesterol by eight to 11 percent.
Grapefruit has been proven to fight heart disease and even cancer—making this fruit a serious disease fighter!
19. Sip On Some Green Tea
Green tea is known for its powerful antioxidants, and it also packs a punch when it comes to heart health. Researchers at Vanderbilt University performed a study that showed drinking seven cups of green tea per day can lower an individual’s LDL cholesterol by an entire 16 percent.
Time to steep some tea!
20. Be Proactive With Your Heart Health
Have your doctor perform a blood sugar level test at your next appointment. Blood sugar levels that are too high can lead to high LDL cholesterol, and you want to combat any cholesterol issues before they become a serious heart problem.
High cholesterol can be reversed through healthy habits you can implement daily, and it’s not too late to make a positive change—from the heart!