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10 Natural Ways to Reduce Cholesterol Levels
- Author :
- TATA AIG Team
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We are living in the age of information. No matter what our choices are, there is always a quick online search to back up our claims. The range of diets right from keto, Whole 30, DASH, and the latest MIND – the variety to choose your version of “healthy” are plenty.
In this scuffle, the one word that is constantly argued over when it comes to health-related conversations is cholesterol. Unfortunately, high cholesterol affects a large chunk of the global population and brings with it life-altering diseases such as the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases as well as high blood pressure and diabetes.
The good news is that aside from medication, with lifestyle changes, it is possible to naturally reduce cholesterol. And to add a layer of protection, a comprehensive health insurance plan can lower your worries about soaring hospitalisation expenses.
So, without further ado, let’s talk about the ways to reduce cholesterol. But before that, we will get some essential information across to the readers.
In the buzz of health conversations, cholesterol is the most misunderstood concept. Before enlisting some natural ways to reduce cholesterol, it is important to first bust a common cholesterol myth — all cholesterol is bad.
The fact is that certain types of cholesterol are not only good but essential for health. Cholesterol performs important bodily functions, such as making hormones and building cell structures. However, it is through lipoproteins that cholesterol travels through the bloodstream, and there are two types of lipoproteins:
Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL), which are often referred to as the “bad cholesterol”, make up most of the body’s cholesterol. This is because high levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, individuals should direct their focus to reduce LDL cholesterol.
High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL), on the other hand, are the “good cholesterol” as it helps flush out the other kinds of cholesterol from the bloodstream. There are several natural ways to help reduce LDL cholesterol, and while this might seem obvious, the answer remains diet and exercise.
Natural Ways to Reduce Cholesterol
The good news is that with the help of an efficient diet plan and an exercise regime, it is possible to reduce cholesterol. Here is how you can lower and control the cholesterol levels in your body.
- Eat Heart-Healthy Foods
The diet to reduce cholesterol is not universal, and usually, doctors will look at several associated factors in addition to the cholesterol levels to recommend a customised health plan. However, eating heart-healthy foods can significantly lower the risk of heart disease. Green leafy vegetables, whole grains, berries, and healthy fats are all cholesterol-reducing foods and, therefore, important inclusions in a heart-healthy diet.
- Avoid Trans Fats
Trans fats are fats modified by the process of hydrogenation to stabilise the unsaturated fats in vegetable oils. The resulting texture of these fats makes it easier to produce products such as spreads and pastries, which makes it an ideal pick for food manufacturers.
But trans fats are far from ideal for consumers as they increase LDL cholesterol and, subsequently, reduce HDL cholesterol. The easiest way to avoid consuming trans fats is by reading the nutrition labels on foods.
- Consume Meats with Fewer Saturated Fats
You can also reduce the consumption of saturated fats by reducing the consumption of red meats. Healthier alternatives to these meats include skinless chicken and turkey and avoiding processed meats as much as possible.
- Include Soluble Fibre in Your Diet
It is a commonly known fact that including fibres in your meals assists your digestive system. It also helps improve your cardiovascular health. Soluble fibres are the best cholesterol-reducing foods as they grab cholesterol in your gut itself before they enter the bloodstream, thereby helping reduce LDL cholesterol.
Soluble fibres include chickpeas, kidney beans, quinoa, oats, etc. In addition to these, it is imperative to include fruits in your meal. Some fruits to reduce cholesterol include pears, apples, and citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges. Berries are amongst the best fruits to reduce cholesterol. So, you can put strawberries and blackberries into your diet.
- Consume Fish Oil and Omega-3 Supplements
There is strong evidence backing the notion that improving the intake of fish oil with soluble fibres helps better cholesterol levels and enhances heart health. As fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, it is a great inclusion in the diet to reduce cholesterol. This is because the omega-3 found in fish oil helps in reducing high blood pressure while also controlling LDL cholesterol.
- Increase Intake of Monosaturated Fats
Monosaturated fats help lower the levels of harmful LDL while increasing the healthy HDL. This is why several dieticians will recommend a nutritious and flavourful Mediterranean diet complete with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats.
In addition to consuming healthy food, it is also essential to exercise to reduce cholesterol. Here is the list of some of the best exercises to reduce cholesterol:
Jogging or brisk walking: this will help with both lowering the blood pressure and lowering the cholesterol
Cycling: hopping on the bike will help lower the calorie count while being easy on the knees
Swimming: This is perhaps the best exercise to reduce cholesterol as it works your entire body
Yoga: To increase your heart rate, improve flexibility, and improve your mental as well as physical health, yoga is a great exercise to reduce cholesterol.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
Losing weight helps normalise cholesterol levels by reducing body fat and making you less susceptible to inflammation, and it also helps reverse insulin resistance. According to a study, even losing 5% of the body weight significantly helped reduce total and LDL cholesterol.
- Quit Smoking
Not only does smoking increase the risk of heart disease, but it also makes medical insurance more expensive. This is because smoking alters how the body handles cholesterol. Smoking has also been linked to increased LDL and decreased HDL cholesterol.
- Include Plant Sterols and Stanols
Found in the membrane of plant cells, Phytosterols (called plant sterol and stanol esters) are much like the structure of cholesterol in the human body. They block cholesterol from being absorbed, which is why they are an important inclusion in a heart-healthy eating plan.
Getting information about how to reduce and control cholesterol levels in your body is easy, but you have to follow a strict diet and a workout regime to convert the information into results. In addition to taking care of your health with an effective diet and exercise routine, you must invest in medical insurance.
In the age of soaring hospital bills, a comprehensive health insurance plan helps reduce the burden of worrying about hospitalisation. That’s why Tata AIG brings a bundle of health insurance plans for your and your family. You can choose the plan you require and get benefits like cashless hospitalisation in 7200+ network hospitals, cover for pre-existing diseases and many others. Moreover, the health insurance tax benefits further help in saving money for a rainy day.