Cholesterol is a name that most of us have heard, but there are very few of us who know what exactly it is and what it works to do. Moreover, a lot of people wonder how to lower their cholesterol levels but don’t exactly know how to do it. Today we will be answering these two questions, providing our readers with information about cholesterol and how to lower their levels.
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat-like, waxy substance found in the cells of the body. Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream in small packages referred to as lipoproteins; these packages are made out lipid (fat) on the inside and proteins on the outside. The two lipoproteins that carry cholesterol throughout the body are low-density lipoproteins and the high-density lipoproteins. Our body needs to have a healthy level of both types of proteins to maintain and sustain healthy functioning.
Everybody needs some amount of cholesterol to make important substances such as vitamin D, hormones and other substances that help in the digestion of food. Our body produces all the cholesterol that it needs, but we can also consume cholesterol via high doses of certain foods. The tricky part is that while we do need some level of cholesterol in our body, our risk of getting heart disease increases if our cholesterol levels are too high
Having High Cholesterol Levels
High blood cholesterol means that you have too much cholesterol in your blood, and we mean danger when we say that our body has a high cholesterol level. There are no signs or symptoms of having too much cholesterol in your body, so many people are unaware when their blood cholesterol levels are high.
People who have high blood cholesterol have a higher chance of developing coronary heart diseases. The higher the total levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood, the higher the chance you have of developing a heart disease. Moreover, the higher the level of HDL cholesterol in your blood, the lower the chances of you getting a heart disease are.
If you are someone struggling with high cholesterol, take the following key things into mind in order to lower it.
Lowering Your Blood Cholesterol Level
Change your morning meal if you want to lower your cholesterol level. Switch up your breakfast to having two servings of oats – they can work to lower your LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 5.3% in just 6 weeks. Oats contain beta-glucan, a substance that absorbs LDL.
Salmon and Fatty Fish
Salmon and fatty fish are said to lower your cholesterol levels to a great extent. Omega 3 fats are natural health wonders and have proven to ward off heart disease and dementia, amongst other diseases. Replacing your saturated fats with important omega 3s, such as the ones found in salmon and sardines, can significantly lower your blood cholesterol levels (by as much as 4%).
Start having nuts if you want to regulate your body’s cholesterol levels. While they are a perfect snack that you can have any time of the day, having whole walnuts 6 days a week for a month can lower your total cholesterol by much as 5.4% and your LDL cholesterol by a whopping 9.3%. If you are looking to have other foods in the nuts category, then try almonds and cashews as both can do wonders for your cholesterol levels.
Vitamin & Mineral Supplements that can Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Plant sterols and stanols are natural substances that are found in certain plant foods, but it is impossible to consume enough stanols or sterols in food form. To reach optimal levels you can always have them in the form of supplements in order to reduce your LDL cholesterol. You will be surprised at the amount of reduction these can bring to your blood cholesterol levels.
Omega 3 from Fish Oil
Fish oil capsules are another recommendation for warding off heart disease. Because they contain EPA and DHA, fish oil capsules can lower your blood cholesterol levels and manage them well. You can increase your intake of omega 3 by taking fish oil supplements.
Consider adding more fibre to your diet if you want to reduce cholesterol levels. If you are not getting enough fibre in your diet, it is advisable to take a high fibre supplements like Psyllium.
Other vitamin and mineral supplements that can help you reduce your blood cholesterol levels are niacin, red yeast rice extract, soluble fibre supplements and fish oil supplements.
Cholesterol is a dangerous condition that can take lives. Therefore, it is better and advisable to try your best to lower it, so it doesn’t send you into a jeopardizing situation. Aside from having the above-mentioned supplements, you must also try your best to exercise in order to naturally lower your blood cholesterol levels.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dejan and Jonny are both fitness professionals stemming from a vast sporting background. Based in London, they are the founders of ‘LetsTrain’ – an online, forward-thinking, fitness and nutrition resource.