Cholesterol can be a silent killer, just like hypertension. When I went for a health check in February this year, it was supposed to be a routine check. So imagine my shock when I found out that my cholesterol and blood sugar levels were sky high! A few follow up tests revealed I also had type 2 diabetes. Obviously I had to take action right away.
Besides medication, my doctor gave me a list of things to do – natural ways to bring the cholesterol down. She advised me to follow this diligently and repeat the tests after six months. I did.
What I am about to share are eight natural ways to lower cholesterol levels. And it is all about diet and exercise. After all, we are what we eat!
8 natural ways to lower cholesterol
Make fiber your friend
Fiber keeps our system healthy. It does the job of binding bile and cholesterol in the gut, easing bowel movements. It keeps the bad cholesterol or LDL in check while boosting the good cholesterol or HDL. Examples of foods where you can get your fiber are fruits, vegetables and whole grains
Get more veg
As a vegetarian, I am already in a good place for working on bringing my cholesterol down, consciously. I load up on salads, fruits and vegetables to get my quota of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. I talked to a dietician about how many calories I needed per day and worked out a healthy diet plan and stick to it.
Say No to Sugar
This one was easy for me. I am not fond of sweet things. The only thing I used sugar for was my coffee and I just cut it out. I was also surprised to know that sugar promotes cholesterol production. Eww. I could certainly do without that! But it is not enough to just cut out the sugar we add to food. So many foods hide sugar and it is hard to identify those. I controlled my sugar intake by simply eliminating it from my diet and focusing on naturally sweet fruits and vegetables like pomegranate, apples, carrots – you know what I mean?
Minimize the coffee drinking
Now this one is a challenge for me. Apparently there is a connection between cholesterol levels and coffee. Too much coffee is not good for health anyway. I’ve minimized my consumption to two cups a day and have switched to green tea instead.
Cut down on alcohol
For those who enjoy their happy hour, it is important to know that alcohol can raise cholesterol levels. Ideally, giving it up is best.
Add garlic to your food
Garlic has several health benefits, one of which is its ability to control cholesterol. It is also a great way to add flavor to your food and cut dow your salt intake. Raw is best. My grandmother recommended taking it with honey.
A healthy diet must always be accompanied by activity. Exercise is one of the best ways to keep cholesterol in check. I walk briskly for an hour every day and also stay active throughout the day. This helps bring the total cholesterol levels down while increasing good cholesterol. I am reaping the benefits!
Find stress relief
Stress can trigger some major health issues. The trick is to keep stress levels down by taking the time to relax. Some great ways to do this are yoga, meditation and exercise.
I am happy to say that by following the above easy natural tips, my cholesterol levels are within acceptable range now.