By Harriet Mallinson | Published on June 12, 2017
High cholesterol is a term synonymous with furred arteries and the risk of heart attack – and is something we’re all desperate to avoid.
Unfortunately, many of us tend to include a lot of white bread, processed foods and rich dairy products in our diets, which, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle, is likely to heavily increase cholesterol levels.
Taking statins can be an option to combat this but they can have nasty side effects, so the experts have shared five natural ways to lower cholesterol levels and help nourish your body.
1. Factor in fiber
Fiber is not only beneficial for digestion but can also help lower cholesterol levels when eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat.
Nutritionist Shona Wilkinson, from Superfood UK, suggests: “Make sure your diet is rich in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran as this may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or ‘bad,’ cholesterol levels.
“Studies also have shown that high-fiber foods may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.”
2. Get up and get out
Sedentary lifestyles can be one of the most prominent causes of high cholesterol, but also one of the easiest to combat. Even an extra two hours of exercise a week (only 30 minutes a day) can go a long way in helping to reduce cholesterol levels.
Try getting off the tube a few stops earlier and walking the rest of the way to work or enjoying a family stroll round the park at the weekend. When it comes to exercise, every extra step helps.
3. Gulp garlic
Another ingredient that can help reduce your cholesterol is garlic. Research has found that it can lower cholesterol and help to reduce blood stickiness (to keep the blood flowing normally and prevent clots).
If you’re a fan of boiling water with lemon in the morning, try adding in a slice of garlic as an easy way to up your garlic intake.
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4. Try out a natural supplement
Nutritionist Cassandra Barns suggests: “Red yeast rice is a natural substance created by fermenting red rice with a type of yeast called Monascus purpureus. The fermentation process produces a substance called monacolin K, which has been found to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
“It may help lower both total and LDL cholesterol. Red yeast rice supplements are a popular choice among those who are trying to lower their cholesterol in a more natural way than via medication.”
5. Oil up
Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in oily fish such as mackerel and salmon, are important because they can help to prevent blood clotting abnormally.
Nutritionist Dr. Marilyn Glenville, author of Natural Solution’s for Dementia and Alzheimer’s, explains: “The use of Omega 3 fish oils has been shown to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease and heart attacks. The anti-inflammatory effects they have on the body are very important in the prevention of heart disease and lowering cholesterol.”
Government guidelines recommend eating two portions of oily fish a week, so try adding them to a salad or grilled with green veggies in the evening for a diet rich in Omega-3.