How to Reduce Your Cholesterol Levels Naturally
If your blood contains too much low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, you have what’s known as high cholesterol, or hypercholesterolemia. LDL cholesterol is not inherently dangerous as you may have been led to believe. In fact, your body needs a certain amount of LDL cholesterol to carry cholesterol to the arteries, protect nerves, and produce healthy cells. The problem arises when your LDL cholesterol levels become too high and cholesterol plaque builds up on the walls of your arteries, leading to limited blood flow, increased risk for blood clots, and potentially a heart attack or stroke.
That’s why in today’s article Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC, the best heart doctor in Tampa Bay, explains what actions you can take to reduce your cholesterol levels naturally and prevent serious complications.
Exercise has been consistently linked to increased levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol or “good cholesterol” and reduced levels of LDL cholesterol or “bad cholesterol.” Moreover, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that increased physical activity and fitness are associated with a significant reduction in the concentration of LDL particles and an increase in the average size of LDL particles. This lower concentration of larger LDL particles is less likely to clog arteries and limit blood flow.
That being said, it can be difficult to determine how much or what type of exercise you should incorporate into your daily routine. Generally speaking, any form of physical activity can be beneficial, such as minor tasks like walking up the stairs or taking a walk. If you can incorporate at least thirty minutes of structured exercise into your daily routine, the following types of exercise have been proven to be effective at reducing cholesterol levels:
In addition to regular physical activity, changing your diet can help to naturally and effectively reduce your levels of cholesterol. A number of health organizations, including the American Heart Association (AHA), have found that the most effective dietary approach to reducing levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood is by avoiding foods that contain saturated or trans fat in favor of those with unsaturated fats. Trans fats occur mostly in fried food, baked goods, and prepackaged food, such as potato chips and buttered popcorn. Saturated fats, on the other hand, occur mainly in meat and dairy products, such as fatty beef, poultry with skin, and dairy products made from whole milk. A good rule to follow is that no more than 25 to 35 percent of your daily calorie intake should come from dietary fats.
Instead, you should move towards a plant-based diet that emphasizes whole grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber, insoluble and soluble, is crucial for cardiovascular health because it binds to cholesterol in the bloodstream and helps control blood sugar levels. Aim for fiber-friendly options within your plant-based diet, such as nuts, seeds, legumes, and the skins of fruit. Put your health first and work towards naturally reducing your cholesterol levels by opting for plant-based dietary components. For a tailored diagnostic and treatment plan, contact Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC today.
To consult Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC, a Tampa heart doctor, please call (813) 344-0934 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.
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