Although medication like statins can reduce bad cholesterol, such treatment can also lead to a number of unpleasant side effects, including muscle pain, memory loss, and elevated liver enzymes. In fact, muscle pain affects between 2 and 11 percent of patients taking statins and can even persist for several months after you stop taking the medication.
Luckily, there are plenty of effective ways to lower your cholesterol naturally, without the need for medication. All you need to do is focus on particular aspects of your lifestyle and change what you put on your grocery list.
1. Cut Down on Bad Fats
Saturated fats and trans fats, including partially-hydrogenated fat, all contribute to a high cholesterol. They are present in the greatest quantities in foods like egg yolks, organ meats, and shellfish. However, not all fats are bad. Omega-3 fatty acids may even protect you from heart disease, whereas polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats lower cholesterol. You can find these fats in plant-derived oils, fatty fish, nuts, seeds, soybeans, and avocados.
When cooking at home or eating out, opt for meals that are low in bad fats — like read meat — but high in good fats, such as omega-3s, found in herring, mackerel, salon, halibut, trout, sardines, and other cold-water fish. In addition, avoid any restaurants that cook with partially-hydrogenated oil.
Physical exercise can both lower cholesterol naturally and raise your levels of good cholesterol. Exercise doesn’t need to be strenuous — even brisk walking can help you gain these benefits.
3. Increase Your Fiber Intake
Any foods that are high in fiber can improve your cholesterol levels. Add more fibrous food to your
4. Change Your Drinking Habits
Women may drink up to one alcoholic beverage per day and men up to two to raise their good cholesterol levels. Plus, you can lower bad cholesterol by drinking less soda but more green tea.
5. Stop Smoking
You already know that smoking puts you in danger for all sorts of health issues, but did you know that it also affects your cholesterol levels? Smoking decreases your good cholesterol, putting you at higher risk for heart disease.
By lowering your bad cholesterol naturally, you may be able to avoid medication entirely. For optimal results, work on all of the above points every day.