When you hear the word “cholesterol,” you might think of its negative connotations, as an artery-clogging substance, but cholesterol is actually a necessary part of living a healthy life. Normal levels of cholesterol have a vital involvement with the structure of cell walls and digestive biles, and they also are important for producing particular hormones and vitamin D, according to Medical News Today. However, cholesterol levels that are too high can be detrimental to your health, contributing to clogged arteries, heart attacks and a variety of other illnesses. While high cholesterol can be treated using medications, there are also plenty of natural changes you can implement in order to improve your levels, including diet, exercise and supplements. Let's take a look at some of the best natural ways to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
1. Oatmeal and Oat Bran
According to Prevention, adding two servings of oats to your daily breakfast routine may be able to aid with cutting down your LDL cholesterol levels by 5.3% in about six weeks. WebMD states that the beta glucans in oats may be able to stop cholesterol from being absorbed by your stomach and intestines.
Nuts are packed with plenty of powerful, healthy monounsaturated fats that can contribute to heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids along with other nutrients like magnesium, vitamin E and copper are also found in nuts like walnuts, cashews and almonds—all of which can have positive effects on your cholesterol and heart.
3. Fatty Fish
Fish that is packed with healthy fats—like salmon, herring and albacore tuna, for example—contain EPA and DHA, two omega-3 fatty acids which can help lower your blood pressure and prevent you from acquiring blood clots, says the Mayo Clinic.
Vitamin B3, AKA niacin, is used for a multitude of health purposes, with one of the primary ones promoting healthy cholesterol levels. Niacin works to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol while simultaneously boosting HDL (“good”) cholesterol; in addition, it can help with lowering your levels of blood triglycerides, which are often a contributor to heart disease.
5. Red Yeast Rice Extract
Used for centuries in Asia and as a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), red yeast rice extract has demonstrated that it is a power player when it comes to helping you keep up healthy cholesterol levels. Statins are found in red yeast rice extract, and they are also the active ingredients in modern cholesterol medications. Dr. Oz says that taking red yeast rice extract can help inhibit HMG-CoA reductase, thus resulting in the stopping of cholesterol synthesis and a reduction in LDL(“bad”) cholesterol. Since it is such a potent substance, red yeast rice extract should only be taken under the advice and guidance of a doctor or licensed health care practitioner.
6. Plant Sterols
As natural substances derived from plants, plant sterols and stanols can help deter cholesterol absorption in your small intestine. While plant sterols can be found in tiny amounts in fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and legumes, they also come in supplement form and can be beneficial for those with heart disease or high cholesterol.
It's always best to first consult your doctor or licensed health care practitioner before beginning any supplement regimens. High cholesterol can quickly morph into a dangerous illness, so it's in your best interest to take proactive measures to correct the problem. Diet, exercise and supplements can all play parts in the overall state of your cholesterol, so it's imperative to be informed about the proper changes you should make to improve it. Check out our selection of cholesterol-lowering supplements and healthy living products at eVitamins, and have a great day!