Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally

It’s not natural or normal for cholesterol levels to be high enough to cause problems and we can thank our “unnatural” lifetstyles for that. High cholesterol is not a disease, it’s a symptom: We eat too much saturated fat, exercise far too little, smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, weigh too much and stay stressed much of the time.

So it’s simple to take the opposite tack and lower cholesterol levels, right? Notice that I didn’t say “easy,” I said “simple.” If you really want to lower your cholesterol without prescription drugs, you can do it, but you’ll have to work at it.

To begin lowering your cholesterol, first, cut back on saturated fats. That means any fat that’s solid at room temperature. Butter, margarine, lard, shortening, palm and coconut oil are examples, besides fat that’s found on meat. Beef is the biggest offender, but fatty poultry and pork play a role, too.

You’ll find it next to impossible to cut all saturated fats from your diet, and it isn’t really necessary to cut them all. The easiest way is to beware of hidden saturated fat. Check labels always. Avoid food made with palm or coconut oil, opt for baking or broiling meats instead of frying in fat and substitute olive oil for butter or margarine when you can.

In addition to cutting back on saturated fats, add fiber to your diet in the form of oatmeal and other whole grains, legumes and fresh vegetables. Again, read labels. You’ll need 15 grams of soluble fiber each day to lower your LDL cholesterol level by 5 to 10 percent.

It’s easier to say “lose weight,” than it is to do it, but it’s essential that your weight be within healthy guidelines. You don’t have to be skinny or swimsuit perfect, but carrying 30 or 40 or more extra pounds almost guarantees that you’ll have high cholesterol levels. There are many diets and methods out there to help you lose weight. If you’re serious about lowering your cholesterol, you’ll need to be serious about keeping a check on your weight.

Besides what you eat (or don’t eat), the amount of exercise you get has a direct influence on how much your body holds on to cholesterol. There are many differing opinions on exactly how much, but get at least 30 minutes worth three times a week.

That’s a minimum. More is better. You can add a little here and a little there, and if you do it consistently, it will make a difference. Simple things like parking farther away from the store when you go shopping, taking the stairs instead of the elevator when you can, taking an evening stroll instead of watching a movie and mowing your own lawn add up to a healthier level of activity.

We have to fight our lazy natures to get started, but the longer you practice it, the more you’ll enjoy being active. Your muscles will respond, your weight will drop, your blood pressure will level out, and your cholesterol level will become lower, too.

A couple more words of advice: If you smoke, stop. If you drink more than just a little alcohol, stop. If you’re stressed from work or problems at home… well, you can’t always just stop, but you can choose to destress. Take a day or an afternoon off and go where you feel at ease. Water – as in streams or ponds – is great, but if you can’t get to that, install a water fountain, or just sit and watch – really watch – a lawn sprinkler in action. You’ll be surprised.

Other ways to relax: Get a massage. Go for a slow walk. Play with your kids. Find a hobby or craft that you enjoy and indulge in it.

Once you begin to change to a better lifestyle, you’ll feel better all over and THAT will drop your cholesterol, too!

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