Many people have high cholesterol levels, which is often correlated with a less healthy lifestyle over the years. And if you want to be heart-healthy, getting those bad cholesterol levels low or back to normal is essential.
Fortunately, it is possible to lower your bad cholesterol levels or the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) through a couple of simple but effective lifestyle changes.
Here are a few excellent tips and ways to lower your LDL levels effectively.
1. Reduce Added Sugars in Your Diet
Added sugars don’t only impact your blood sugar levels but your bad cholesterol levels as well. Cutting added sugars from your diet is one of the best ways to decrease your cholesterol levels, and that includes avoid candies, baked goods, ice cream, and sweetened beverages.
2. Eat a Lot of Healthy Fats
You don’t have to avoid all kinds of fats. The primary key is to choose the kind of fat that is good for you. According to studies, cutting all kinds of fat from your diet is unnecessary, as some healthier fats help reduce your bad cholesterol levels. Some excellent good fat food sources include nuts, avocados, olive oil, and fatty fish.
You can also consider taking an Omega 7 supplement which has many health benefits.
3. Avoid Trans Fat
Trans unsaturated fats or what is often called trans-fat are vegetable fats that have undergone hydrogenation, which is an industrial process that makes fats solid when stored at room temperature. These types of fats are long-lasting and expensive, but it can negatively impact your body. Trans fats increase your LDL levels and reduce your body’s HDL levels.
So, if you want to reduce your bad cholesterol levels, then avoid or reduce trans fat in your diet, and that includes vegetable shortening, margarine, fried foods, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and some prepackaged and processed foods.
4. Reduce Saturated Fats in Your Diet
Another kind of fat that you should kick off your diet if you want to reduce your bad cholesterol levels is the saturated fats. Like trans-fat, saturated fats also usually stay solid when placed at room temperature. According to studies, a diet with high saturated fats raises your risk of having high LDL cholesterol levels.
In this case, avoid saturated fats or food sources that have loads of it such as butter, cooking oils like coconut oil and palm oil, chicken with skin on, red meat, pork, and cheese, and other dairy products. If you couldn’t avoid consuming saturated fats altogether, then you can follow the recommended 5% to 6% of saturated fat in your calorie intake per day.
5. Add More Soluble Fiber in Your Diet
Foods that contain high amounts of soluble fiber effectively help stop your digestive tract from soaking up on bad cholesterol. It is the kind of food you want to add in your diet if you want to reduce your bad cholesterol levels. Foods that are rich in soluble fiber include whole grains cereals like oat brand and oatmeal, fruits like prunes, oranges, pears, bananas, and apples. Legumes, including lentils, kidney beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, and chickpeas are incredible sources of soluble fiber as well.
6. Eat More Healthy Proteins
While you need to avoid most fats if you want to lower your bad cholesterol levels, there are still some fats that you can consume, like foods with high omega-3 fatty acids, which is regarded as good for the heart. Healthy proteins should be part of your diet, and the fattier the fish like tuna or salmon, you’ll get better health benefits from them.
Vegan sausage and tofu are great sources of protein as well if you are looking for plant-based options as ways to lower your LDL levels.
7. Limit Salt in Your Food
Sodium or salt is something that you should limit if you want to lower your bad cholesterol levels. The recommended amount of salt you can consume a day is at 2,300 milligrams, and that includes both the salt you use when cooking and salt that is already in other foods you eat.
Aside from minimizing your use of salt when cooking, you can also choose low salt foods and seasonings or those with the “no added salt” label.
8. Be Mindful of the Carbs in Your Diet
Carbohydrates are often a vital part of most people’s diets. But if you need ways to lower your LDL levels, it is important to be mindful in choosing what type of carbs you are eating. Based on some studies, a low-carb diet can help you shed weight, which in turn also helps minimize cardiovascular risk factors.
When choosing carbs, get high-fiber ones like whole grains, oatmeal, whole fruits, lentils, and beans.
9. Avoid or Limit Alcohol Intake
Alcohol contains lots of calories, which can cause you to gain weight. And excess weight can cause your LDL levels to go high while your HDL levels or the good cholesterol to go lower. As recommended, women should only drink no more than one glass of alcoholic beverage a day, while men should not drink more than two glasses of alcoholic beverage a day.
10. Embrace a Healthier Moderation When Eating
There are foods and drinks that you should avoid and those that would be an essential part of your diet if you want to reduce your bad cholesterol levels. But the bottom line for every lifestyle change is to embrace healthier moderation when it comes to the food you eat. Too much of everything is never good for you.
While you still need to strive for much healthier choices of food, you can have cheat days and eat the foods you want to eat, but in moderation.
11. Exercise Regularly and Embrace a More Active Lifestyle
There are a lot of benefits you can get from embracing a more active lifestyle and exercising regularly. Aside from it helps shred that unwanted weight and fats, regular workouts also help in reducing bad cholesterol levels while raising the good ones. There are a lot of exercises you can do, and running, cycling, swimming, and jogging are some of the incredible activities as ways to lower your LDL levels and improve your overall health.
Changing your lifestyle into something healthier and more active has a lot of benefits to your overall health. It is also one of the ways to lower your LDL levels naturally. Simple changes, especially in how you choose the kinds of foods you eat, can help you naturally reduce your risks of developing other conditions like stroke, heart attack, and heart disease that are often caused by high bad cholesterol levels.