High cholesterol is a serious problem that often requires intervention from a doctor to help lower the numbers. When cholesterol levels are too high, the risk of heart attack and stroke rises dramatically when compared to those who have normal or low cholesterol levels. While statin drugs are commonly used for cholesterol, it does have risks that are often best avoided.
Higher Diabetes Risk Study:
A new study has found that taking statin medications for an extended period of time has some negative consequences. According to USA Today, the study has found that after several years of taking statin drugs, the risk of developing diabetes type two increases by 50 percent.
These levels are particularly noticeable in older women, but the study confirmed that the risk of diabetes is increased with the continued use of statin medications to treat high cholesterol.
The problem is that those who already have high numbers also have a higher risk of heart attack. Fortunately, the drugs are not the only way to lower cholesterol numbers. Natural treatment solutions are available to help bring the numbers down until the drugs are no longer necessary.
Minimize Saturated Fats:
When trying to lower cholesterol levels naturally, it is important to minimize the saturated fats. A diet that is high in saturated fats, which are primarily found in animal products like meat, results in a higher rate of cholesterol in the body. Saturated fats increase the “bad” cholesterol levels, or the LDL, levels while having a negative impact on the HDL, or “good,” cholesterol levels.
Minimizing saturated fats does not mean giving up all meat and avoiding all animal products. Instead, it means keeping to appropriate serving sizes, eating more lean meats and having more vegetarian days by switching meat to beans or getting more creative in the kitchen.
When picking out an oil for improved health, opt for canola or olive oil instead of vegetable oil, margarine or butter. These oils are best for light sautéing and eating without cooking as a topper for salads. Avoiding fried foods is also a part of minimizing saturated fats.
Eat High Fiber Foods:
A diet that is high in soluble fiber, which is found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, has a much lower rate to cholesterol. While the particular reasons for reducing cholesterol rates from fiber is not fully understood, it is known that the fiber binds to some of the cholesterol and fats in food so that it is not absorbed by the body and thus is flushed out of the body. As a result, the LDL levels are gradually reduced.
Foods that have a high rate of fiber include whole grain breads, whole grain pastas, old-fashioned oatmeal, whole wheat, fruits and vegetables.
The best amount of fiber for the body depends on factors like gender, but in most cases it is best to get at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber or more each day. Adding more fiber in the form of fruits and vegetables will add to the protection provided by the fiber.
Eating fish, or taking a fish oil supplement if it is not possible to eat fish directly, is a great way to help bring down the cholesterol levels in the body. Fish is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which help naturally reduce the LDL levels and increase the HDL levels of cholesterol in the blood.
While other sources of food have omega-3 fatty acids, fish is the best source because it is easier for the body to absorb. Plant-based omega-3 sources require more conversion by the body and thus do not have the same impact as fish. Fish will not require a great deal of conversion and is possible to absorb quickly and effectively. That helps reduce the cholesterol levels more efficiently.
Those who do not like fish or do not feel comfortable eating fish for any reason, can take a fish oil supplement as an alternative. The supplement will have the same impact without eating the fish.
Get More Exercise:
Exercise will naturally increase the rate of protective cholesterol, or the HDL cholesterol, so that it is possible to fight the negative form of the cholesterol. The goal of naturally reducing cholesterol is getting the LDL levels as low as possible while increasing the HDL levels as high as possible. Exercise will naturally increase the HDL levels so that it is possible to improve the overall health.
Beyond simply increasing the HDL levels in the blood, exercise also helps strengthen the heart and improve blood circulation.
Stress results in a higher rate of cortisol in the blood. While the stress hormone is useful in a life-or-death situation that requires a fight-or-flight response, it is harmful to cholesterol levels and heart health if not controlled and kept as low as possible.
Taking measures to reduce stress, such as meditating or getting regular massages, will have a positive impact on cholesterol levels and overall heart health. A reduction of stress hormones and appropriate coping measures will keep the body and heart as healthy as possible.
Naturally reducing cholesterol is not a difficult task, but it does require lifestyle changes. The best way to deal with the problem is eating a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat, getting moderate exercise and taking measures to keep stress as low as possible. It is not necessary to take statin drugs if the root causes of high cholesterol are eliminated.
It’ a guest post by E. M. D. F. He’s a healthy eating expert and blogger. He blogs about the Enrico Forte’s Mediterranean diet system.
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