How to Lower Cholesterol Naturally in 28 Simple Steps, Approved by Science

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Foods to Avoid

Cleaning up your diet is one of the most effective ways to reduce your LDL levels and enhance heart health. But there’s no reason to nix high cholesterol foods from your diet altogether; in fact, there is cholesterol in eggs, red meat, dairy products and other foods that can be included in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

Instead, focus on nixing these top four foods to avoid from your diet as a simple method for how to lower cholesterol:

1. Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates

Added sugar and refined carbs from ultra-processed foods can throw off your cholesterol ratio by decreasing good cholesterol levels in the blood. (18)

2. Alcohol

Although a glass of red wine per day can actually be beneficial for heart health, heavy drinking can have detrimental effects on cholesterol levels. Keep alcohol consumption in moderation by sticking to 1–2 servings per day to help optimize heart health. (19)

3. Caffeine

Overdoing it on the caffeinated beverages like coffee, soda or energy drinks may cause an increase in cholesterol levels for some people. (20) Limit coffee and tea to 1–2 cups daily to keep cholesterol in check.

4. Trans Fats

Frequently found in processed foods and pre-packaged baked goods, trans fats can increase LDL cholesterol, decrease HDL cholesterol and boost the risk of coronary heart disease. (21) It’s best to cut these unhealthy fats out of your diet altogether by minimizing your intake of processed foods.

Supplements

While switching up your diet is often an effective method for reducing cholesterol levels all on its own, adding a few cholesterol-lowering supplements can boost the effects even more. Here are some of the supplements you can try using to get started:

1. Fish Oil (1,000-2,000 milligrams daily)

Packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil can be especially beneficial if fish doesn’t always make it into your weekly dinner rotation. Fish oil is effective at increasing levels of good HDL cholesterol in the blood to clear out LDL cholesterol from the arteries. (22)

2. CoQ10 (200-300 milligrams daily)

Coenzyme Q10 is a coenzyme that has been shown to be useful in lowering cholesterol levels. It works by removing excess cholesterol and preventing atherosclerosis to keep your arteries clear. (23)

3. Niacin (1,500 milligrams daily)

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is commonly used in the treatment of high cholesterol. In fact, niacin has been shown to reduce triglycerides and lower levels of LDL cholesterol while also increasing beneficial HDL cholesterol levels as well. (24)

4. Red Yeast Rice (1,200 milligrams twice daily)

Derived from white rice that has undergone fermentation, one analysis of 13 studies showed that red yeast rice was effective at decreasing both triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. (25)

5. Garlic (500 milligrams daily)

In addition to adding garlic to your diet, you may also want to consider adding a garlic extract to your natural medicine cabinet as well. Aged garlic extract, in particular, has been shown to have cholesterol-lowering properties in both human and animal studies. (26)

Essential Oils

Certain essential oils may also have an influence on cholesterol levels. For best results, add a few drops of these powerful oils to your diffuser to take advantage of the unique health benefits that they have to offer:

1. Lavender Oil

Lavender oil has been shown to decrease stress and cortisol levels, which can be especially beneficial for heart health. (27)

2. Cypress Oil

Like lavender oil, cypress essential oil has also been shown to reduce stress to boost heart health. It is also often used to promote blood circulation and help lower cholesterol levels too. (28)

3. Rosemary Oil

Thanks to its antioxidant properties, animal studies show that rosemary oil can reduce blood lipid levels and help stabilize blood sugar. (29)

Exercise

When it comes to reducing cholesterol levels, getting in plenty of physical activity is just as essential as making modifications to your diet. Here are two types of exercise that can make a big impact on heart health:

1. Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise, or cardio workouts, is a form of exercise that helps strengthen your heart and lungs. And besides keeping you trim, studies show that aerobic exercise can also help lower cholesterol levels. (30) Walking, running and cycling are just a few easy ways to get in your daily dose of cardio.

2. Resistance Training

Resistance training is a form of physical activity that forces your muscles to contract, building up strength and endurance. Some research also shows that resistance training could have beneficial effects on heart health as well and may decrease total and LDL cholesterol. (31) Weight lifting and bodyweight exercises like squats or lunges are some examples of resistance training that you can add to your routine.

Precautions

Although these are all effective methods for how to lower cholesterol levels, keep in mind that they should be combined and paired with other healthy habits to maximize their effectiveness. The cholesterol-lowering effects of a healthy diet, for example, can be amplified when coupled with regular exercise and a set sleep schedule.

Be sure to consult with your doctor before beginning any form of supplementation, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are currently taking any medications. Additionally, it’s important to always work with a trusted healthcare practitioner to determine the best course of treatment for you.

Final Thoughts

  • When it comes to how to lower cholesterol, using a mix of diet and lifestyle modifications can be most effective.
  • Switching out unhealthy foods for heart-healthy options, squeezing in more exercise and trying out a few cholesterol-lowering supplements and essential oils can all keep cholesterol levels down to enhance heart health.
  • Take it slow and try making a few small changes each week to help lower cholesterol levels and optimize your overall health.
  • As always, be sure to consult with your doctor if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking any medications to find the best course of treatment for you.

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