Four Natural Ways to Decrease LDL

Very often, we hear doctors and dietitians telling people, especially who are middle aged, to eat foods which cause the cholesterol levels in the body to decrease. Have you ever given a thought as to what is this “cholesterol” they are talking about? Do you know that cholesterol is of two types, i.e. LDL and HDL? Certainly, in order to decrease cholesterol, we should have a thorough understanding of what exactly does cholesterol mean. Here is the meaning and types of cholesterol explained in detail, followed by ways to decrease LDL cholesterol levels.

Four Natural Ways to Decrease LDL

You may have heard many people talk about how the doctor has asked them to reduce their cholesterol levels. And this is an advice that is often given to those who are in their middle age, have a family history of heart conditions or those who are obese. But it is important to know that when the physicians talk about reducing cholesterol, they actually mean that you need to reduce your LDL cholesterol.

The Two Types of Cholesterol

Before you start to understand how you can reduce cholesterol, you need to know that there are two kinds of cholesterols – good and bad. Bad cholesterol is called low density lipoprotein or LDL. High levels of this cholesterol in the body result in additional plaque formation in the blood vessels, resulting in slower and lesser blood supply to the heart. This also means that the heart gets lesser oxygen than what it requires and therefore the heart becomes more susceptible to angina or other heart diseases.

Good cholesterol, on the other hand, is called high density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol and is beneficial for the body. It removes the plaque created by bad cholesterol from the walls of the blood vessels and takes it to the liver where it is properly processed and readied to be removed from the human body. Therefore when the doctor tells you to reduce cholesterol levels, what he actually means is that you need to reduce your LDL levels while increasing the HDL levels.

Decreasing LDL Levels Naturally

  1. Diet – The most effective manner in which you can increase LDL levels is to control your diet and eat foods that help in increasing LDL levels. These foods include fresh vegetables, fresh fruits (not canned ones that contain a lot of syrup and are sweetened), fish and whole grain. Specifically fish that is high in omega 3 fatty acids is known to help in reducing LDL cholesterol levels significantly. Consumption of salmon, mackerel and tuna therefore are good for reducing LDL levels. It also helps to reduce the consumption of red meat, dairy products, trans-fatty acids, saturated fats and refined sugars. While this may seem like a prison sentence, the level to which you need to stay away from delicious foods that contain these ingredients depends on your cholesterol levels, obesity, family history and age.
  2. Exercise – A healthy heart can fight LDL cholesterol build up in a better manner. And you can ensure that your heart remains healthy by giving it the exercise that it needs. Take out tome to workout at least 3 to 4 times a week. Make sure that each session is at least 20 minutes long. Cardio exercises like jogging, running, cycling and walking are particularly to increase heart strength.
  3. Antioxidants – Foods that are rich in antioxidants are extremely helpful in increasing HDL levels. And as HDL increases it helps in reducing the level of LDL or bad cholesterol in the body. Specific foods that contain antioxidants are red wine and cranberry juice.
  4. Fiber – It also helps to take in some supplements that contain fiber to decrease LDL levels. Other foods that contain significant amounts of fiber are oatmeal, flax seeds and nuts.

Medication to Reduce LDL

In most cases if the cholesterol levels are not too high, following the above mentioned suggestions should help in LDL reduction. However there are times when the LDL levels do go a bit out of hand and medication becomes necessary. Most doctors are likely to recommend statins that help in preventing cholesterol absorption. Bile acid sequestrants have also been shown to reduce LDL levels by 10 percent. There are also some supplements used to LDL reduction that include plant sterols. These are also effective in obtaining good results.

It is important to note that all medication has side effects and therefore it is a good idea to start using the natural methods of LDL reduction as soon as you see signs of high cholesterol so that you can avoid medicines altogether.

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