Reducing cholesterol can be a daunting task for those who have elevated cholesterol levels. Although cholesterol is found in every cell in the body, it is important to keep the amounts of “good” cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) while reducing cholesterol that is “bad,” called low-density lipoprotein (LDL). The “bad” cholesterol blocks the arteries of the heart which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. The “good” cholesterol works to attach itself to the “bad” cholesterol and carry it to the liver where the body can dispose of it – thereby preventing blocked arteries and heart attacks. There are medications that a medical doctor can prescribe to a person who has high cholesterol; however, many people may be surprised how many ways there are to reduce cholesterol naturally.
Eating the right foods can do wonders for reducing cholesterol. Consuming foods that contain soluble fiber, such as oatmeal, kidney beans, prunes, apples, barley, and pears are great options for lowering the amount of “bad” cholesterol in the body. Walnuts, almonds, and other foods that have high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids can reduce cholesterol numbers in about four weeks. Certain kinds of fish, flaxseed, and canola oil have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which are great for reducing cholesterol. Using two tablespoons (23 g) of olive oil each day, especially extra virgin olive oil, works to remove the “bad” cholesterol while it keeps the “good” cholesterol.
Other ways of reducing cholesterol include life-style changes. First, by losing a few extra pounds, cholesterol levels can significantly lower. Exercise is one of the best ways to lose weight and lower the “bad” cholesterol while raising the “good” cholesterol numbers. Also, quitting smoking can increase amounts of “good” cholesterol and lower amounts of “bad” cholesterol. Results can be seen within 24-hours.
There are many options for reducing cholesterol through prescription drugs, as well. Some only work to lower the “bad” cholesterol, some only increase the levels of “good” cholesterol, and some do both. All have possible side effects that can vary from person to person, although most side effects are relatively moderate.
Many people like to take a vitamin B-3 supplement, niacin. Niacin has been proven to raise “good” cholesterol levels by 15 to 20 percent, when taken in high doses. It has also shown signs of reducing “bad” cholesterol. It can be purchased over-the-counter or as a prescription for the most concentrated capsules.