Many people are taking a closer look at all the medication some doctors regularly prescribe and are choosing to look for alternatives to many. One of those drugs is statin drugs. Just like any drug, there are side effects, which can be avoided if you lower your cholesterol naturally. That doesn’t mean all statin drugs are bad or that you should immediately quit the drug. That’s a discussion for you and your health care professional to decide. However, if you want to lower cholesterol, you can do it with positive lifestyle changes and the only side effects are better health, a more youthful appearance and more energy.
Exactly what is cholesterol and is it all bad?
Your liver makes cholesterol and it definitely isn’t all bad. It plays an important role in many functions. Your cells need it to create flexible cell walls and you also need it to make certain hormones. Cholesterol travels through the body via lipoproteins. Lipoproteins carry not only cholesterol, but also fat-soluble vitamins and fat in the blood. When you have an abundance of low density lipoproteins called LDLs, they can deposit in the walls of the blood vessels and cause artery clogging that leads to heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. HDL—high density lipoproteins—do the opposite, carrying the cholesterol off the vessel walls. Lowering cholesterol is more about raising good cholesterol and diminishing bad cholesterol.
What you eat makes a huge difference.
There’s a difference in fats. Within the unsaturated group there are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. The monounsaturated fats have been shown to increase the good cholesterol, the HDL. One study showed that just by adding olives, canola oil, tree nuts or avocados to the diet and boosting the monounsaturated fat level, it increased the HDL by 12% more than a diet that was low in saturated fat. It also reduced the oxidation of lipoproteins that are part of the reason arteries clog. Don’t discount those polyunsaturated fats, either. Studies also show they reduce the LDL and the risk of heart disease. Just switching out saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fat, especially omega-3 fatty acids found in krill and fish oil, you also lower the risk of metabolic disease, such as diabetes.
A program of regular exercise not only can lower cholesterol, it can make you look fabulous.
Talk about side effects, exercise definitely has a side effect if you’re using it to lower your cholesterol. You’ll end up with far more energy and looking fabulous, too. Studies show that a well rounded program of exercise can help you lose weight, while also lowering the bad cholesterol levels and boosting the HDL—good cholesterol levels. The more intense the exercise, such as activity that raises the heart rate to 85% of its maximum rate, tends to be the best. The longer you do it, the better.
- Increasing soluble fiber in your diet can help you lower your cholesterol naturally. Good sources of soluble fiber are fruit, peas, beans, lentils, oats and whole grains.
- Avoid trans fats. Read the label. If there’s less than a half gram per serving, the manufacturers can round down and say it has zero trans fats, so check the label for partially hydrogenated oil. That means it has trans fats.
- Losing weight is a good way to lower cholesterol. That healthy diet and regular exercise can help you do it.
- If you want some great exercise routines that will get your heart thumping, check out the downloads and DVDs available at JariLove.com.