Five Ways to Manage Cholesterol Without Medication

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on June 10th, 2024
Reading Time: 5 minutes

High Cholesterol is one of the leading risk factors associated with poor heart health and increased mortality rate from conditions associated with the heart and the cardiovascular system. The quickest way to get dangerously high cholesterol levels under control quickly is through the use of Statin Drugs and similar medications. Still, for patients that are looking to prevent their cholesterol levels from reaching a problematic, dangerous level, there are several steps that you can take to keep your cholesterol under control.

Also, even if you do currently take drugs to control your cholesterol, it's still heavily in your favor as a patient to make strong efforts to improve your natural cholesterol balance, not only to limit your need for Cholesterol Medications but also because these same steps can significantly improve your health in a variety of ways.

Lose Weight to Control Cholesterol

The food that you eat and the bodyfat that you carry play a significant, central role in your underlying cholesterol levels. If you lose weight, you help get your cholesterol in check more effectively. If you eat less of the foods associated with elevated cholesterol, you'll also improve your Cholesterol balance.

A little lost weight can go a long way when it comes to controlling cholesterol. For example, losing only five to ten percent of your weight can lead to major benefits about your cholesterol.

There are a lot of steps that you can take to drop the pounds. For example, many people eat when they are frustrated or bored, but there are lots of more productive things that you can do. Go for a jog or run some errands. Even just taking a walk around the block can help out a lot. Take stock of habits that lead you to overeat or be underactive.

For example, if you are always in a hurry for work and end up having to eat fast food every practically daily, pack lunch, or rearrange your schedule so that you have more time to eat. If you find yourself eating unhealthy food in front of the television, switch to eating fruit or vegetables, such as cauliflower, broccoli, or carrots.

Do everything that you can to increase the activity in your day. Even relatively small things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator can produce significant gains.

Eat Foods that Are Proven Healthy for the Heart

It doesn't matter how long you've catered to unhealthy cravings, or how old you are, altering your diet can quickly lead to immensely positive changes in your health, wellness, and cardiovascular profile.

Not all fats are created equal. For example, you should try to delete transfats from your life, period completely. They are incredibly unhealthy and do nothing but harm your heart in the long term. Saturated fats, on the other hand, are necessary, but most people consume far too much-saturated fat. Most people should only consume around seven percent of their diet in saturated fat. Saturated fat has been clearly shown to elevate Cholesterol Levels.

Most of the fat from your diet should come from unsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Canola, peanut, and olive oil are three strong choices to infuse your diet with monounsaturated fats. To reduce the amount of fat you consume in your diet, turn to dairy products with low-fat, and choose lean meats over their fatty counterparts.

A no-brainer for lowering your cholesterol is to eat less cholesterol. The average, healthy person should have no more than three hundred milligrams of daily cholesterol, and at-risk patients should have even less—two hundred max.

Certain products are particularly high in cholesterol, including whole milk, egg yolks, and meats such as liver that are made from organs.

Ditch the white bread and other highly processed bread for whole-grain bread. Whole grains are loaded with super nutrients that have been shown to promote cardiovascular health strongly. Brown rice, whole-wheat flour, whole-wheat pasta, and whole-grain bread are all awesome choices.

Eat lots of fruits and veggies, especially those with high levels of fiber. Dietary fiber helps cholesterol pass through the digestive system without being fully absorbed, which helps promote lower cholesterol. Dried fruits are also an option, but they are dense in calories and are easy to overeat, so they should be consciously consumed in moderation.

Finally, add Omega-3 Fatty Acids to your diet. These nutrients have been shown to suppress LDL Cholesterol, improving your heart health. Cold-water fish such as herring, mackerel, and salmon are among the best sources of Omega-3s, but flaxseeds, almonds, and walnuts are quality choices as well.

Exercise Regularly to Promote Improved Cholesterol Balance

In addition to controlling what you eat to balance cholesterol, you can also improve your activity level to promote improved cardiovascular health. There is undeniable evidence that modest, regular exercise can boost good HDL Cholesterol. Around thirty minutes of activity four to six times per week can provide significant improvement. You can even chop up that thirty minutes throughout your day if it suits you!

Here are some exercise options to think about:

  • Play sports that you enjoy, such as basketball, golf, or soccer.
  • Go to the pool for a swim.
  • Take your bike, rather than your car, to work.
  • Go for a walk during lunch.

In addition to scheduled exercise, make the conscious decision to be more active in your day-to-day activities. Doing push-ups in front of the television, or using the staircase as opposed to the elevator are smart choices as well.

Stop Smoking for Your Heart!

Smoking causes incredible levels of stress on your heart and your lungs over time. For example, smoking increases your LDL Cholesterol Levels and suppresses your HDL Cholesterol Levels. The cardiovascular benefits of smoking cessation can occur very quickly.

For instance, after only about twenty minutes, blood pressure drops. Within a single day, you become less likely to have a heart attack. After a single year, you drop your heart disease risk by fifty percent. If you stop smoking for the long haul, your heart will be nearly as healthy as a non-smoker after fifteen years.

Consume Moderate Levels of Alcohol Regularly

There is evidence that drinking alcohol is associated with improved HDL Cholesterol Levels. The benefits are significant, but not so intense that people should pick up drinking just for the heart-health benefit. For men over sixty-five and women, one drink per day is the ideal amount to maximize the benefits of alcohol for the heart.

For men under sixty-five, two beverages appear to be the sweet spot. Of course, alcohol abuse is counterproductive and can increase the risk of stroke, heart failure, and hypertension.

Lifestyle Changes Not Always Sufficient to Control Cholesterol

Even the most structured changes in lifestyle may not ultimately be enough to get your Cholesterol Levels under control. If your doctor feels that Statins or other Cholesterol-Lowering Medications may benefit you as a patient, take their advice, and get your prescription filled. These lifestyle changes can help control your need for medication in the long-run, and they will provide other ancillary benefits, so keep up the good work, even if you have to start taking pills for cholesterol!

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