Lower cholesterol without drugs

Lower cholesterol without drugs

Cholesterol has a terrible reputation – but as so often, the right amount is essential here. The human body needs blood fat, for example, to build cells or to form vitamin D. On the other hand, high cholesterol is considered unhealthy because it increases the risk of a heart attack. Statins are often prescribed to lower cholesterol. But it can also be done without medication: With the proper diet and regular exercise, the cholesterol level can be lowered naturally. We show you how it works!

What exactly is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance partly formed by our body itself and partly obtained from food. This substance is essential for the function of the cells and contributes, among other things, to the formation of hormones and bile acid.

However, high cholesterol is a common cause of heart disease. Of course, many factors promote coronary heart disease – so it is essential that you at least keep an eye on those that you can influence and eliminate them if necessary. One of these is cholesterol.

 

Two types of cholesterol

There are two types of cholesterol, which are transported through the body as a so-called lipoprotein (HDL or LDL):

  • If there is an excess, the “bad” LDL cholesterol can build up on the vessel walls and thus promote arteriosclerosis, which can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
  • HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is referred to as “good” cholesterol. It collects the LDL cholesterol in the body so that the liver can excrete it – it protects the blood vessels.

What cholesterol level is ideal?

Various factors are essential to calculate the ideal cholesterol value: Gender and age play just as important a role as membership in certain risk groups.

Doctors think that in healthy people between the ages of 35 and 65, an average total cholesterol value of 200 mg/dl (milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood) should not be exceeded.

 

Cholesterol levels – when is it too high?

A high cholesterol level is defined as a threshold of 240 mg/dl or an LDL value of 160 mg/dl. Ideally, good HDL cholesterol is greater than 40 mg/dl. However, the ratio of LDL to HDL is also crucial: it should be a maximum of 4 to 1.

If the LDL value is too high, acting as quickly as possible and ensuring the ratio is balanced again is essential. However, this is only possible to a limited extent if you tend to have high cholesterol levels for genetic reasons.

However, one should still try to prevent the cholesterol level from rising further and further damaging the body.

Cholesterol Lowering Foods

You don’t have to take medication to lower your cholesterol. It is often possible to do without medication if you pay attention to your diet.

Numerous foods can have a positive effect on our cholesterol levels:

  • A good choice is tomatoes, which contain the substance lycopene. It ensures that cholesterol cannot settle in the blood vessels.
  • Whole grain products score points for their cholesterol-lowering dietary fibre. These absorb fluid, including bile acid containing cholesterol, and dispose of it through the normal digestive tract.
  •  Fibre is also found in fruits and vegetables. In addition, they do not contain any cholesterol but instead contain antioxidant vitamins that prevent the LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and damaging the blood vessels.
  • Products with soy, such as tofu or soy milk, are also recommended as cholesterol-lowers. They contain sterols, i.e. particular plant substances that reduce cholesterol levels.
  • Garliconions and leeks also fulfil the same function: they contain the vegetable substance allicin, which removes LDL cholesterol from the body.
  • Nuts are also recommended. Anyone who eats around seven walnuts a day can reduce cholesterol levels by up to seven per cent – researchers have also found this during a study.
  • Blood fat levels can also be lowered with green tea because the tannins and saponins it contains inhibit the absorption of fats from food.

Unique cholesterol-lowering products from the supermarket are enriched with phytosterols and can lower cholesterol levels. However, it would help if you consumed a maximum of three grams per day, as they make it challenging to absorb valuable carotenoids.

Be careful with these foods.

To lower your LDL cholesterol level, you should use animal fats sparingly. These are found, for example, in fatty meat, cream or butter. Better here are vegetable fats such as safflower, rapeseed, or olive oil, which can even counteract LDL cholesterol.

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in nuts and fatty seafood such as mackerel or salmon, are mainly positive. But beware: A lot of cholesterol is contained in eel, crustaceans or smoked fish.

 

Avoid trans fats and alcohol.

So-called trans fatty acids, which can occur when vegetable fats harden, should also be avoided. They can cause bad LDL cholesterol to rise. Such trans fats are often found in fried foods such as chips, french fries, greasy baked goods, or cheap margarine.

In addition, you should avoid alcohol if possible or reduce consumption to a minimum because alcohol can also increase cholesterol levels in large quantities.

Do Eggs Raise Cholesterol?

It is known that eggs contain a lot of cholesterol, but it has not yet been conclusively scientifically clarified how these ultimately affect our health. Whether and to what extent eggs contribute to increasing cholesterol levels is unknown. Numerous factors come into play here, including genetic predisposition and the rest of the diet.

For example, Dutch and German researchers have studied how cholesterol levels change when you eat eggs with buttermilk. The result of the study was that buttermilk may contain ingredients that inhibit cholesterol absorption from the intestine and thus prevent the blood fat level from rising.

Increase HDL cholesterol with exercise.

If you want to lower your cholesterol level effectively, it is essential to exercise enough in addition to an appropriate diet. When swimming, jogging, playing tennis, walking, or cycling, the heart rate increases and contributes to a sustained increase in the HDL level in the body.

Of course, you shouldn’t become an extreme athlete overnight and overtax your body – it’s sufficient if you move a little more than usual now and then, go jogging for half an hour or treat yourself to an hour in the swimming pool. Moderate endurance training is ideal, done two to three times a week for half an hour.

 

Integrate movement into everyday life.

It can also help to create small daily routines: the lunch break is ideal for a quick walk around the block. After dinner, an after-dinner walk is an excellent way to exercise. Last, it also helps if you often ignore the lift or escalator and take the stairs instead.

In this way, you also avoid excess pounds, which can negatively affect cholesterol levels.

When are medications necessary?

Statins can be used if exercise and diet are insufficient to lower high cholesterol. In particular, people at increased risk of developing arteriosclerosis should have their cholesterol levels checked regularly by a doctor. Risk factors for hardening of the arteries include, for example, smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure.

With an appropriate diet and regular exercise, however, it is also possible to lower cholesterol levels without statins in such cases.

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