Cholesterol is made in the liver and has many important health functions, such as keeping the walls of cells flexible and assisting in the manufacture of hormones. But according to the medical experts too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to clogged arteries, strokes, heart attacks, and kidney failure.
You can lower your cholesterol without medication in just 30 days, says a leading cardiologist.
In her practice, Dr. Elizabeth Klodas MD, who trained at both the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins, has successfully helped hundreds of patients achieve optimal cholesterol and blood pressure levels with dietary changes alone.
In fact, she has managed to lower artery-clogging LDL levels by as much as 40%, a convincing argument to choosing food over expensive and often problematic statin drugs.
Dr. Klodas tells us that she believes heart disease is preventable by making positive lifestyle changes.
“There are pockets of people around the world who live into their 100’s and it is not that they are on the perfect combination of R xdrugs or any drugs at all,” she says. “The major difference is nutrition. Unfortunately, it’s not something that we cardiologists are taught to adequately address. Instead, we are trained to treat the effects of poor diet with drugs instead of changing the food. So, the vast majority of high cholesterol is due to lifestyle factors, especially the foods we eat.”
Here are her tips to lower cholesterol naturally, as follows:
- Eat a whole food, plant-based diet. The fiber and plant sterols only found in plants work wonders on cholesterol levels by affecting how cholesterol is more efficiently circulated through the digestive tract. Because we cannot digest fiber, it traps cholesterol-rich bile and excretes it so that it does not get reabsorbed in the body.
- Eat only fats that are liquid at room temperature. Foods like olive oil, and the oils in nuts and seeds are good examples. “You can also benefit from the oil in avocados and fish,” she says. “Plant and fish-based oils are a good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These help lower LDL, raise HDL, also called the ‘good’ cholesterol, and lower triglycerides. They are also anti-inflammatory.“
- Get plenty of antioxidants. For LDL cholesterol to accumulate in artery walls, it 1st must be oxidized. “So even if your LDL is elevated, eating at least 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables will help the LDL become less toxic.”
- Avoid processed and simple carbohydrates. These foods drive cholesterol numbers up Foods such as bagels, many breakfast cereals, and white rice, among others, are broken down into sugar and absorbed into the body quickly, causing insulin spikes. “Insulin is a vital hormone designed to put sugar away but it also puts our bodies into a general storage mode, so the body not only stores sugar but LDL,” says Dr. Klodas, who adds that processed foods also cause HDL levels to fall and raise triglyceride levels.
- Eat soluble fiber. The beneficial bacteria that live in our intestines require fiber to survive. These probiotics reduce harmful LDL levels in the body. In 1 study, taking 3 grams of soluble fiber supplements daily for 12 wks decreased LDL by 18%.
- Exercise. Aerobic exercises like walking, running, biking, and swimming, coupled with resistance training provide a Win-Win situation for the heart. This combination helps lower LDL levels and boost the level of HDL, the so-called “good” cholesterol in the blood. Aim for 85% of your maximum heart rate during a workout and increase the duration gradually.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively
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