If you’ve just found out you have elevated cholesterol, you may be wondering what your options are to reduce it.
Cholesterol can be lowered with prescription drugs, which is often the first recommended treatment. Extremely high cholesterol should be addressed with a prescription treatment plan as soon as possible.
However, if cholesterol is considered mildly or moderately high, you may be able to reduce it without medication.
This article will explain to you the strategies you can try at home to lower your cholesterol levels.
how to reduce cholesterol without the use of drugs
It’s normal to want to try to control cholesterol by choosing a lifestyle, diet, and supplements as a first-line treatment rather than starting medication.
Steps you can take to lower cholesterol without medication include the following six tips:
1. Avoid trans and saturated fats
Eating foods that contain saturated or trans fats can increase cholesterol levels. The European Heart Association recommends reducing saturated fat intake to less than 6 percent of daily calories.
2. Eat a lot of soluble fiber
Increasing daily intake of soluble fiber can reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Taking psyllium supplements and eating oatmeal for breakfast are easy ways to increase the amount of soluble fiber you consume daily.
You can also add fruits and vegetables to increase that fiber intake.
If you feel you are medically overweight, the chances of elevated cholesterol increase. But it’s also important to mention that the idea that lean individuals can’t have elevated cholesterol is wrong.
Cardiovascular exercise can help you maintain a healthy body weight and can also improve your heart health.
Cycling, swimming, walking and running are all exercises that can help lower cholesterol, especially if you do them three times a week or more.
4. Reduce alcohol intake
When you drink alcohol, the liver in your body breaks it down into triglycerides and cholesterol. Alcohol consumption can also raise blood pressure and make it harder to maintain body weight in a healthy range.
Reducing the amount of beer, wine and spirits can be the first easy step to lower cholesterol.
5. Try fish oil supplements
Fish oil dietary supplements contain omega 3-chain fatty acids. These acids can help lower triglycerides, although research is mixed.
Taking fish oil may not directly reduce LDL, but it may have other benefits, such as reducing inflammation in the body.
6. Take garlic supplement
There is some evidence to suggest that taking garlic supplements may moderately reduce LDL cholesterol.
One study suggested that garlic may help reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the body and reduce triglycerides in the blood. But more research is needed to definitively understand how garlic is associated with lowered cholesterol levels.
You can find garlic supplements in any health food store or just start using more raw garlic for cooking at home.
Why try to reduce cholesterol without medication?
You might not want to take cholesterol-lowering medication for several reasons.
Statins are a type of medication used to control high cholesterol. Some statin side effects may be considered worse by some than the risk of high cholesterol.
These side effects may include:
- muscle pain
- slow digestion
- low platelet count in the blood
Using statins can also lead you to develop other conditions, such as type 2 diabetes.
If you already have a higher risk of developing this type of condition, you may want to talk to your doctor about avoiding statins if possible.