Do you have high blood cholesterol levels? If so, you’ve probably been told you must lower them because of the potential for cholesterol to build up in your arteries, causing heart disease and PAD.
Your heart muscle requires a steady flow of nutrients and oxygen, delivered via the blood stream. Slow this flow down and that part can suffer permanent damage. And should cholesterol block a heart artery completely you will suffer a heart attack.
So how can you reduce your levels? Depending on your numbers, your health care provider likely suggested you do it naturally or it can be done for you with a drug. Rolled up in the decision on which option is best is causation, one being lifestyle and the other is genes.
Make no bones about it, three lifestyle adjustments are typically required to naturally lower cholesterol, they are diet exercise and weight reduction. Probably the most vital of the three is your diet. This health blurb explores your natural options to reduce cholesterol levels with diet alteration.
The harsh reality for naturally lowering your cholesterol is absolutely no trans fat and to extremely limit the consumption of saturated fats. In real food terms this means no French fries nor other fried foods, and zero intake of baked goods, margarines, snack foods and other processed foods. Also, eating red meat and dairy fats should be an occasional exception and not a standard part of your diet. Therefore, while dining in a restaurant you must meticulously make your choice and fast food is out all together.
Consuming certain fats has a role in naturally reducing cholesterol, as well as vital to good health. Surprisingly, unsaturated fat actually helps lower your cholesterol levels. Any easy system for deciding which fats are good versus bad is most of those from plants are must haves, except coconut and palm, and always take a pass on those derived from animals, with the exception of fish. Here’s a partial list of sources of unsaturated fats:
- seeds ~ pumpkin, sesame flax
- nuts ~ almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnut
- oils ~ canola, peanut, olive, sunflower, corn, soybean, flaxseed
Since your body produces its own saturated fat, you don’t need it via your diet. This type of fat mainly is found in meat, seafood, poultry and dairy products (cheese, milk, ice cream).
Now on to the worst offender of all ~ trans fat. Even just a little is highly detrimental. Generally, trans fat is man made and not a product of nature. A chemical process turns liquid into solid which benefits the user because of its longer shelf life, ease of transport and the ability to hold up under repetitive heat scenarios, e.g. frying French fries and fried chicken. Although all these qualities may be financially beneficial to fast food makers and restaurants, its killing their consumers.
Probably the only sure fire way to naturally take control of your saturated and trans fat consumption is to cook the food you eat yourself.
What about cholesterol that naturally occurs in food? For some, blood cholesterol levels rise and fall substantially based on the amount they eat, they’re referred to as responders. And the only way to determine if you are one is through trial and error. As for non-responders, dietary cholesterol is not considered to have a significant impact. Not sure? Then consume a diet rich in soluble fiber, like oat bran, psyllium, fruits and vegetables, which helps slow down cholesterol absorption.
Finally, you could strictly follow a healthy diet devoid of any cholesterol, saturated or tans fat and still end up with high levels. Why? Genetics. If you are predisposed to high cholesterol because of your inherited genes, then your attempts to naturally lower cholesterol may need a little help in the form of statins. This is a drug that reduces your cholesterol level by blocking a substance your liver requires to make it.