How to Lower Cholesterol
A guide to lowering cholesterol using science-based lifestyle advice and simple actions, as well as information on good cholesterol vs. bad cholesterol (how to decrease total cholesterol).
How do you lower your "bad" cholesterol? Below you will find several tips and research findings on how to decrease cholesterol. First, we start with the foods you eat.
How to Decrease Total Cholesterol With HDL
It is saturated fats and trans fatty acids in the foods we eat that cause a rise in bad LDL cholesterol. The “bad” cholesterol is called LDL, and the “good” is HDL.
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats create good HDL which lowers your LDL levels by taking the excess bad cholesterol away to the liver where it is excreted.
♥ The good HDL can also help remove the bad LDL from your artery walls, reducing your heart disease risks.
Eat Less Unhealthy Foods
How to Decrease Total Cholesterol by Eating Less Unhealthy Foods
As most people know, bad cholesterol comes from eating things like fatty cuts of meat, butter, lard, cream, hard cheese, cakes and biscuits, and foods containing coconut or palm oil.
Anything that has been “processed” rather than being “natural” is generally going to contain some elements of saturated fat or trans fatty acids, and therefore increase your overall cholesterol levels.
Obviously, red meats can also be “bad” if too much is eaten regularly.
Do It Naturally
How to Decrease Total Cholesterol Levels Naturally
♥ Good cholesterol comes from eating things like oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds; sunflower, olive, corn, walnut and rapeseed oils and spreads, and vegetable oils.
♥ By increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables, you can decrease cholesterol and your overall blood pressure. Additionally, fruits and vegetables have no cholesterol, and are low in saturated fat.
♥ Reducing the total amount of fat you eat is also a good step towards reaching less cholesterol. This can be achieved by adopting alternative cooking methods such as microwaving, steaming, poaching, boiling or grilling rather than roasting or frying.
♥ Also, eating more soluble fiber will assist in attaining less cholesterol. Good sources of soluble fiber include oats, beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, as well as fruit and vegetables.
Benefits of Plants
How to Decrease Total Cholesterol With Plants
There is also evidence that foods containing certain added ingredients such as plant sterols and stanols can lower bad cholesterol too.
Sterols and stanols can be found in specially developed spreads and yogurts, though these are mainly recommended to people with high cholesterol and are not necessarily good for children or pregnant women.
Drugs to Decrease Cholesterol
Naturally, given companies' propensity for creating drugs to battle our ills, pills and medications to improve cholesterol have been developed.
♥ But as with most drugs, taking them can come with unpleasant side effects, as well as high monetary costs.
That’s why world-renowned nutritional scientist David Jenkins MD and his team of researchers undertook a study to find alternative ways on how to lessen cholesterol by using specific foods.
Research on How to Decrease Total Cholesterol
Entitled the ‘Portfolio Study,’ the findings of Dr. Jenkins have become a landmark in cholesterol research and management.
The Portfolio Study took four groups of foods that were each approved by the Food and Drug Administration for reduced risk of heart disease health claims and put them all into one diet to test their effects on cholesterol.
The four food groups were almonds, soy foods; sticky fiber foods such as oats, barley, psyllium, okra and eggplant, and a plant sterol-enriched margarine.
These foods were combined with other fruits and vegetables, and then studies were completed involving participants on the Portfolio diet, a good low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, or a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet with a statin drug (developed to reduce heart disease).
♥ The tests had positive results on cholesterol in that the viscous fibers washed out the products of cholesterol metabolism (the bile acid in feces); the soy protein reduced cholesterol synthesis when compared to animal protein, and the almond was found to act like a combination of the others in that it has vegetable protein, a rich “good” fat, and some plant sterol.
Participants on the Portfolio Study (also known as the “Garden of Eden” diet) experienced a 20% reduction in their total cholesterol and a 30% decrease in their bad LDL cholesterol levels – but that may have something to do with the fact that a whopping 100g of daily dietary fiber was ingested.
Research on How to Decrease Total Cholesterol Summary
However, what the study does prove beyond any doubt is that it is the food we eat that is the key to maintaining a healthy diet, and, indeed, all we really need to prevent many of the illnesses humanity has.
♥ As Dr. Jenkins is keen to point out, it’s lifestyle that affects our minds and bodies, and consequently our health.
♥ The way he sees it, our modern computer-age western world is making eating and living healthily harder and harder given our work, and leisure activities.
Going back to a “caveman” way of life is obviously not an option, but at the heart of those early days was a simpler life based on plant foods.
Cholesterol Levels for Modern Humans
The evolution of hominids (apes and humans) likely depended on plant-based (vegetarian) diets which would have been very high in fiber, low in saturated fats, lacking in cholesterol, with carbohydrate in dilute form, rich in micronutrients and phytochemicals, and with very low energy density.
Man then left the jungle and colonized the Savannah, started eating meat, and then starch as the agricultural revolution kicked in 10,000 years ago. With this advance came diabetes, first described by the Egyptians.
The industrial revolution and industrialization of food production and distribution then fulfilled our needs for energy conservation and the abundance of food.
These advances came without the simultaneous evolution of the human genome, thus rendering us obese in the modern age when we are less active and have more food than we need.
In other words, we are still programed to store energy effectively, and our blood sugar levels are maintained even in starvation, which is leading to increased diabetes in our western population.
And we are also now prone to greater levels of cholesterol when compared to pre-Neolithic times.
How to Decrease Total Cholesterol Summary
♥ In Dr. Jenkins’ words the metabolic problems of 21st century man are now “overwhelming” – but much could be done to alleviate this condition with greater awareness and effort in appreciating the role of plant-based foods, along with increasing our physical activity.
In many ways the evolution of man has brought about a devolution in the way we live and utilize the purity of Nature's abundant wealth of healthy life-affirming ingredients.
It’s still all there, right in front of us.
We just need to embrace the simplicity Nature offers us, and in many ways return to a simpler way of living to combat the ailments that so afflict us today.
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