What are the Best Tips for Reducing Cholesterol?

Dee S.
Dee S.

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 foods with soluble fiber, like oatmeal, can lower cholesterol.
Eating foods with soluble fiber, like oatmeal, can lower cholesterol.

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.

Prunes can help lower LDL cholesterol.
Prunes can help lower LDL 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.

Barley can help reduce cholesterol.
Barley can help reduce cholesterol.

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.

Kidney beans, which can help reduce cholesterol.
Kidney beans, which can help reduce cholesterol.

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.

Walnuts are rich in fatty acids, which may help lower cholesterol.
Walnuts are rich in fatty acids, which may help lower cholesterol.
Pears contain soluble fiber and are good for reducing cholesterol.
Pears contain soluble fiber and are good for reducing cholesterol.
Reducing cholesterol limits the fatty buildup in blood vessels that can restrict blood flow.
Reducing cholesterol limits the fatty buildup in blood vessels that can restrict blood flow.
Staying away from foods with "bad" cholesterol can help reduce overall cholesterol.
Staying away from foods with "bad" cholesterol can help reduce overall cholesterol.
Dip your bread in heart-friendly olive oil rather than butter or margarine.
Dip your bread in heart-friendly olive oil rather than butter or margarine.
Widely viewed as one of the healthiest types of cooking oil, canola oil is high in monounsaturated fats.
Widely viewed as one of the healthiest types of cooking oil, canola oil is high in monounsaturated fats.
Dee S.
Dee S.

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to wiseGEEK.

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