Cholesterol is a type of fat in the blood that is naturally produced by the liver and can also be obtained from some foods.
Cholesterol supports many essential body functions, such as cell membrane formation and hormone production.
However, having high levels of bad cholesterol which is low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Physicians usually prescribe statins as a treatment, but they can cause some side effects. Is it possible to lower bad cholesterol in the blood without medication?
In this article, we explore some ways to lower bad cholesterol without medication, such as ways to lower bad cholesterol naturally through some lifestyle changes, ways to lower bad cholesterol with exercise, ways to lower blood cholesterol with herbs, and some cholesterol-lowering drinks!
- Why try to lower blood cholesterol without medication?
- Ways to lower blood cholesterol naturally
- Ways to lower blood cholesterol with exercise
- Herbal ways to lower blood cholesterol
- Drinks that lower blood cholesterol
Why Try to Lower Harmful Blood Cholesterol Without Medication?
In the event that high blood cholesterol is discovered, the question of treatment options available to reduce it begins.
Blood cholesterol can be lowered with prescription medications, which are often the recommended first line of treatment. However, many are looking for other ways to lower cholesterol without drugs; Because of the side effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins, which some see as worse than the risks of high cholesterol itself.
Ways to lower blood cholesterol without medication include several natural and home methods, and some herbs and natural drinks can help with this. However, it should be noted that severe high cholesterol should be treated with a prescribed treatment plan as soon as possible, by a specialist doctor.
Ways to Lower Bad Blood Cholesterol Naturally
Ways to lower blood cholesterol naturally include:
Eat plenty of soluble fiber
Soluble dietary fiber, such as whole grains and oatmeal, naturally lowers blood cholesterol.
Blood Cholesterol can also be lowered with fruits and vegetables for their fiber content. However, consuming too much soluble fiber can lead to constipation, bloating, and stomach pain. Therefore, you should gradually increase your fiber intake when trying to lower your cholesterol without medication.
Eat more Polyunsaturated Fats
Foods rich in polyunsaturated fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, are one way to naturally lower blood cholesterol.
Sources of these fats include fish such as salmon and tuna, and vegetable oils such as soybean, corn and sunflower oils.
It is important to balance the intake of omega-6 fatty acids with omega-3 fatty acids when lowering cholesterol without medication. Consuming too many omega-6 fatty acids can lead to adverse health effects.
Eat More Monounsaturated Fats
Eating a diet rich in monounsaturated fats, such as oleic acid, also naturally lowers blood cholesterol.
Sources of these fats include vegetables, fish, avocados, and vegetable oils such as olive, peanut, sesame and sunflower oils.
Whey protein: Whey protein also reduces levels of harmful blood cholesterol.
This protein can be obtained from dairy products and can also be taken as a supplement, usually in the form of a powder that can be added to soft drinks or foods when trying to lower cholesterol without drugs.
Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios can reduce harmful blood cholesterol.
They are a good source of fiber and monounsaturated fats that naturally lower cholesterol.
Soy protein: Eating soy protein in place of other animal proteins has been shown to prevent coronary heart disease by naturally lowering blood cholesterol, as well as by lowering triglycerides. Soy protein is found in food products made from soybeans.
One way to lower blood cholesterol without medication also includes avoiding or reducing your intake of the following:
Avoid eating trans fats: Eating foods that contain trans fats can increase the level of cholesterol in the blood.
They are unsaturated vegetable fats that have undergone an industrial process called hydrogenation, which makes them solid at room temperature. Sources of trans fats include margarine, fried foods, and some processed and packaged foods.
Reduce intake of saturated fat: A diet rich in saturated fat may raise levels of harmful blood cholesterol.
Dietary sources of saturated fat include red meat, butter, cheese and other dairy products, and cooking oils such as palm oil and coconut oil.
Some lifestyle changes can also help lower harmful blood cholesterol without medication, for example:
Quit Smoking: Smoking cigarettes tends to constrict the blood vessels. Hence, constricted blood vessels and high bad cholesterol levels can lead to atherosclerosis, heart attack, or stroke.
Maintain a healthy weight: Proper weight management can help lower cholesterol levels, allowing the individual to reduce food intake, especially those food high in fats.
Reduce stress: Stress can stimulate the release of stress hormones, like cortisol, in the blood. These hormones activate the body’s fight or flight response, triggering triglycerides that increase bad cholesterol levels. Moreover, many people tend to eat when they feel stressed.
Drink enough fluids: Ensure you drink an adequate amount of fluids, especially water, to dilute the cholesterol and other related substances in the blood.
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Sports & Exercise to Lower Bad Cholesterol Level in Blood
Exercising regularly can help lower cholesterol without medication and raise HDL levels, especially when you’re exercising three or more times a week.
Thus, blood cholesterol can be lowered with sports by including some exercises in daily life such as walking, jogging, or cycling.
Harmful Blood Cholesterol can also be lowered with mental exercise through yoga and meditation. These holistic interventions can help reduce your stress levels. Moreover, you’ll gain a more positive mindset and a happier life disposition.
People with cardiovascular disease should consult their physician before engaging in any intense physical activities when trying to lower blood cholesterol with exercise. Consulting a physical therapist is also advisable if you have mobility issues. That way, your safety is the priority before implementing an exercise program tailored for you.
Aside from helping lower bad cholesterol and help regulate blood pressure, exercise classes can help boost older people’s fitness. These classes can keep fit for seniors, especially when assisted by professional physical therapists, improving mobility.
Many factors can impair seniors’ mobility, including degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, and other chronic medical conditions. Regular exercise improves the range of motion and avoids the consequences of inactivity, including bed sores and contractures.
Herbal Ways to Lower Bad Cholesterol Level in Blood
An herbal remedy for heart disease is often aimed at controlling cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure, and improving overall heart health.
However, before trying any herbs as an alternative remedy, you should consult your doctor; Some herbs can interfere with some medications or have harmful side effects. Cholesterol can be lowered with herbs through the following:
Guggulipid to Lower Bad Cholesterol in Blood
Guggulipid is a gum that comes from a myrrh tree. In clinical studies conducted in India, Guggulipid reduced total and LDL cholesterol levels. However, more research is needed to determine the safety and effectiveness of Guggulipid as an herbal cholesterol-lowering method.
Policosanol to Lower Bad Cholesterol in Blood
Policosanol is a compound extracted from sugar cane, which has been found to be effective in lowering LDL cholesterol in several studies. More studies on sugar cane policosanol are needed to find out how effective and safe it is for lowering cholesterol.
Astragalus to Lower Bad Cholesterol in Blood
Astragalus is an herb used to support the immune system in traditional Chinese medicine, and it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Limited studies suggest that astragalus may have some benefits for the heart.
More research is needed to find out how astragalus may affect bad cholesterol levels and heart health in general.
Flaxseeds to Lower bad Cholesterol in Blood
Flaxseeds: Both flaxseeds and the oil extracted from them contain high levels of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may help reduce the risk of heart disease, so flaxseed is one of the herbal cholesterol-lowering methods.
Garlic to Lower Harmful Cholesterol in Blood
Garlic: Garlic has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. It can be eaten raw or cooked. It is also available in supplement form. Garlic may help lower blood pressure and total cholesterol levels, but only in the short term. Garlic may also affect blood clotting time, so garlic or garlic supplements should not be taken before surgery, or with blood-thinning medications such as warfarin when used as an over-the-counter cholesterol-lowering method.
Drinks That Lower Harmful Cholesterol Level in Blood
Many types of drinks can be used as a way to lower cholesterol without medication, because they contain natural chemical compounds that may help reduce or maintain healthy cholesterol levels. The most important cholesterol-lowering drinks include:
Green tea is one of the best cholesterol-lowering drinks. Because it is rich in antioxidants, especially catechins, which have been found to help reduce harmful cholesterol levels.
Caffeine can also help raise levels of good cholesterol. Black tea may also have a positive effect on cholesterol, but to a lesser extent than the green kind.
Oat drinks are one of the ways to lower bad cholesterol without medication because they contain beta-glucan, which creates a gel-like substance in the intestines that reacts with bile salts.
This reduces cholesterol absorption. It was also found that oat drinks, such as oat milk, may provide a greater reduction in cholesterol, compared to semi-solid or solid oat products.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which improves lipid levels and reduces bad cholesterol, especially when tomatoes are turned into juice.
Tomato juice is also rich in cholesterol-lowering fiber.
Many types of berries, such as strawberries, blackberries, and cranberries, are rich in antioxidants and fiber, both of which are cholesterol-lowering agents without medication.
In particular, anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant in berries, can help improve cholesterol levels. Berries are also low in calories and fat.
Cocoa contains antioxidants flavanols, which may improve cholesterol levels. Cocoa contains high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids, which can also help improve cholesterol levels.
However, drinks that contain raw cocoa or have a low amount of added sugars, and dark chocolate drinks that contain more than 70% cocoa, should be chosen when trying to lower cholesterol without drugs.
Citrus juices: Citrus juices such as lemon and orange are one of the ways to lower cholesterol with fruits. Because it is extremely rich in antioxidants that can benefit heart health, and lower cholesterol levels.
Grape juice contains flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol levels. Dark red and purple grape juices are best used when trying to lower cholesterol with fruits. Because it contains a higher percentage of antioxidants, compared to green grape juice.
The antioxidant properties of pomegranate juice are much higher than that of other fruit juices, including blueberries and oranges. Pomegranate contains nearly three times more antioxidants than green tea, making it an ideal cholesterol-lowering beverage.
To get the most benefits of pomegranate juice in lowering cholesterol naturally, you should drink pure pomegranate juice without added sugar. Added sugar adds more calories and negatively affects heart health.
If cholesterol-lowering methods without medications, such as diet and regular exercise, do not help lower cholesterol adequately, consult your doctor about taking cholesterol-lowering medications.