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How To Lower Cholesterol Levels


Learning how to lower cholesterol levels is critical for preventing and reducig your risk of heart disease. While genetics play a big role in your cholesterol levels, the good news is that there is something you can do about it. There are steps you can take to significantly reduce your cholesterol levels and that's the topic of this article.

In this article you will learn the various ways you can lower your cholesterol levels and improve your heart health. Please keep in mind that the information contained in this article is for educational purposes only. As always, you need to consult your physician for proper medical advice.

The following are the six mains ways you can lower cholesterol:

1. Low cholesterol diet
2. Aerobic exercise
3. Heart healthy supplements
4. Quit smoking
5. Stress management/reduction
6. Medication
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1. Low Cholesterol Diet

To lower your LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol) you need make the following changes to your diet:

1. Eliminate bad fats (saturated and trans fats) as much as possible. The type of fat raise your LDL. Common sources of bad fats are red meats, butter, egg yolk, whole milk and cheese.

2. Increase your intake of healthy fats (monounsaturated fats and omega-3s). Good fats lower your LDL and triglycerides. Sources of good fats include: avocado, nuts, olives, olive oil, canola oil, fish oil, sunflower oil, flaxseed oil, fatty fish (herring, mackerel, salmon, trout, tuna), and dark leafy vegetables.

3. Eat natural foods, not processed foods. Natural whole foods have more:
  • vitamins and minerals;
  • antioxidants and phytochemicals (fights heart disease and cancers); and
  • contains less calories. 
4. Eat low glycemic foods. Diabetics are at a higher risk for heart disease, so keeping blood sugar levels normal is important. To determine which foods you can eat, use these low glycemic food charts.

Be sure to also read our article, low gi diet.

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2. Aerobic Exercise

Exercise will DRAMATICALLY reduce your chances of heart disease (by as much as 45%). Aim to do 20-30 minutes of exercise 3-7 days per week. Train at an intensity level that you feel comfortable talking to someone at.

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3. Heart Healthy Supplements

The following supplements may help lower your LDL levels:
  • Artichoke Extracts;
  • Barley;
  • Red yeast rice;
  • Stanols and sterol; and
  • Vitamin B3 (aka niacin).
Vitamin B3 will also raise your HDL levels, which is good!

Supplements that will lower your triglycerides:
  • Fish oil, and
  • Vitamin B3.
Supplements that lower your Lp(a):
  • L-carnitine, and
  • Vitamin B3.
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4. Quit Smoking

Smoking greatly increases your risk of heart disease. Approximately 1 in 3 deaths from heart disease is a result of smoking!

Here's why smoking is so bad for your heart:
  • lowers your HDL cholesterol;
  • causes atherosclerosis (buildup of fatty substance in arteries);
  • narrows arteries;
  • damages arteries and blood vessels;
  • diminishes supply of oxygen to the heart;
  • promotes blood clots; and
  • increases risk of diabetes (and therefore heart disease).
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5. Stress Management/Reduction

Stress increases your cholesterol levels, which is why you need to minimize it. Here are a few ways you can reduce your overall stress levels:
  • exercise,
  • massage,
  • meditation,
  • pilates,
  • socialize with friends and family,
  • watch comedy shows/movies, and
  • yoga.
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6. Medication

Here are common medications that may be prescribed by doctors for those with high cholesterol:
  • Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors
  • Aspirin
  • Beta-Blockers (28);
  • Calcium channel Blockers
  • Nitroglycerin
  • Plavix
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