3 ways to lower your cholesterol naturally

Flaxseed is a fibre-rich plant that has been shown to improve cholesterol levels and inflammation in the colon. Picture: Be Brain Fit

Flaxseed is a fibre-rich plant that has been shown to improve cholesterol levels and inflammation in the colon. Picture: Be Brain Fit

Published Jan 9, 2023

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The liver produces cholesterol, which serves a variety of vital purposes.

For instance, it's necessary to produce many hormones and keeps your cell walls flexible.

However, too much cholesterol (or cholesterol in the incorrect areas) raises issues, just like everything else in the body.

Cholesterol does not dissolve in water like fat does. It relies on chemicals called lipoproteins to circulate across the body instead. These transport triglycerides, fats, and fat-soluble vitamins throughout your body.

The impact of various lipoprotein types on health varies. According to a 2012 study titled "Atherogenic Lipoprotein Determinants of Cardiovascular Disease and Residual Risk Among Individuals With Low Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol," high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cause cholesterol deposits in blood vessel walls, which can result in clogged arteries, stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL), on the other hand, helps transport cholesterol away from vessel walls and aids in the prevention of these disorders.

There are several all-natural techniques to raise HDL (good) and decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol.

While diet might not have much of an impact on your body's cholesterol levels, other aspects of your life, such as family history, smoking, sedentary behaviour, and frequent alcohol use, might.

By raising the good HDL and lowering the bad LDL, healthy lifestyle choices can help reverse the trend. Continue reading to see how you may lower your cholesterol naturally.

1. Pay special attention to mono-unsaturated fats

Unsaturated fats differ from saturated fats in that they include at least one double chemical link, which alters how your body uses them. Fats that are mono-unsaturated only have one double bond.

Some advocate a low-fat diet to help people lose weight. However, there is conflicting evidence about how well it can lower blood cholesterol.

One study confirmed that consuming less fat is a useful strategy for lowering blood cholesterol levels. Researchers were worried about the possible side effects of low-fat diets, such as reducing HDL (good cholesterol) and raising triglycerides, according to certified dietitian Priyanka Bhandari.

Research suggests that mono-unsaturated fats may potentially lessen the oxidation of cholesterol.

Free radicals and oxidised cholesterol can interact, causing blocked arteries.

According to a research titled "Role of cis-Mono-unsaturated Fatty Acids in the Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease," this can result in atherosclerosis or heart disease.

Overall, mono-unsaturated fats are healthful because they raise HDL cholesterol, lower damaging oxidation, and lower bad LDL cholesterol.

The following foods are excellent sources of mono-unsaturated fats. Olive oil, nuts including almonds, cashews, pecans, and macadamias, canola oil, avocados, nut butters, and olives are a few more foods that are excellent sources of polyunsaturated fat.

2. Use polyunsaturated fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids

Multiple double bonds in polyunsaturated fats cause them to function differently in the body than saturated fats. According to research, polyunsaturated fats lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower the chance of developing heart disease.

In one research, for instance, polyunsaturated fats were substituted for saturated fats in the diets of 115 people for eight weeks. Total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels had decreased by roughly 10% by the conclusion of the research.

Additionally, polyunsaturated fats may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

In a different study, "Effects of Saturated Fat, Polyunsaturated Fat, Mono-unsaturated Fat, and Carbohydrate on Glucose-Insulin Homeostasis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomised Controlled Feeding Trials," 5% of the calories that were from carbohydrates were swapped out for polyunsaturated fats in the diets of 4 220 adults.

They had lower levels of fasting insulin and blood sugar, which suggested a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

A particularly heart-healthy kind of polyunsaturated fat is omega-3 fatty acids. They can be discovered in fish oil and seafood supplements.

Salmon, mackerel, herring, deep sea tuna like blue-fin or albacore, and shellfish (to a lesser extent), especially shrimp, have particularly high levels. Not including peanuts, other sources of omega-3 fatty acids include seeds and tree nuts.

3. Prevent trans fats

Unsaturated lipids that have undergone a process known as hydrogenation to become trans fats.

This is done to increase the stability of the unsaturated fats found in vegetable oils. The resultant trans fats are known as partly hydrogenated oils since they are not entirely saturated (PHOs).

Since they are solid at room temperature, they offer spreads, pastries, and cookies a more substantial texture than unsaturated liquid oils. The enhanced texture and shelf stability of trans fats are what draw food manufacturers to them.

However, partly hydrogenated trans fats are processed in the body in a negative way relative to other fats. Trans fats reduce healthy HDL while raising total and LDL cholesterol.

By 2023, all industrially generated trans fats must be eliminated from the world's food supply, according to a global demand by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Margarine and shortening, pastries and other baked products, certain microwaveable popcorn, fried fast food, some pizzas, and non-dairy coffee creamer are examples of foods that frequently include trans fats.

According to a study on global health trends, excessive trans fat consumption, together with a lack of polyunsaturated fats and an excess of saturated fats, is a major contributor to coronary heart disease mortality worldwide.