If you want to lower high cholesterol and unclog your arteries naturally without having to depend on prescription drugs, all you have to do is to follow these three easy and straightforward steps:
- Remove All Junk Foods and Processed Foods From Your Diet
- Eat Superfoods That Lower Cholesterol
- Embrace Healthy Lifestyle Choices
If your doctor told you that you need to lower your cholesterol don’t worry, in this article, I will show you 3 easy ways to balance good and bad cholesterol levels. You can start using these methods right away and they will lower your risk for heart attacks and kidney disease too.
Lowering high cholesterol is easier than you think. You’ll be able to see the first result in just one week, thanks to these all-natural plans. Before we start, there’s one thing we need to clarify; why are cholesterol levels so important for your health? Having high cholesterol leads to an increase in heart disease, one of the worst risks for your health, killing more than 610,000 people every year, in the US alone.
The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), published a shocking study conducted for 5 years on 9000 patients who had previously suffered from heart attacks. The result didn’t leave any doubt on the importance of lowering LDL or bad cholesterol level if you want to stay alive. Patients who lower their LDL levels to 81 or less will significantly lower the risk of heart attacks or strokes compared to those with LDL levels between 104 and 81. So how high is your LDL cholesterol?
Table of Contents
Why is Cholesterol a Concern For So Many People?
The human body is able to keep good and bad cholesterol in balance. The problem, however, arises in our lifestyle and diet. The standard Western diet is still rich in purified carbohydrates and hydrogenated fat, for the body to maintain its equilibrium. The result is an elevated LDL or bad cholesterol, and low HDL or good cholesterol. It is even worse if you are a kidney patient. People suffering from chronic kidney disease are statistically more at risk of heart disease. If two risk factors are present at the same time, the situation needs to be taken very seriously.
When too much cholesterol builds up in your blood vessels, the result can be a blockage that can prevent blood from getting to a certain area of your body. A blockage in your heart vessels can cause heart attack. A blockage in the renal arteries can cause a loss of kidney function. A blockage in the vessels that conduct to an area of the brain can cause an ischemic stroke.
Not all the symptoms are immediately noticeable: sometimes, high cholesterol can lead to mini-strokes that go unnoticed and cause memory and thinking problems that the patient doesn’t even know to be present. This is why I always suggest to regularly get your cholesterol levels checked if you have any preexistent condition or risk factor.
How High is Your Bad Cholesterol?
Should you be taking steps to lower it? The good news is that you can actively fight back high cholesterol levels if you follow these guidelines: you will just have to make some simple changes. So, are you ready to say goodbye to high cholesterol levels?
3 Effective Steps to Lowering Cholesterol Levels
Here are 3 easy and very powerful steps you should take to blast away the atherosclerosis and say goodbye for good to high cholesterol levels.
Remove All Junk Foods and Processed Foods From Your Diet
These are the very first things to remove from your diet; in other words, their allowed quantity in your diet is zero. Trans fats are artificially altered fats created in an industrial process. They are widely used in baked goods, fried foods, snacks, margarine, shortening, and many other processed foods. To avoid trans fats, always check the ingredient list. Trans fat can be labeled as partially hydrogenated oils.
An excess of sodium is not just bad for your overall health and cholesterol levels but is also very dangerous for the health of your kidney. Most processed foods contain an unhealthy amount of salt and should be avoided. Try not to get more than 2grams of sodium in your diet per day.
This is maybe the worst offender. It can cause weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol. All these conditions are considered risk factors for kidney disease. Sodas and sweetened beverages are full of it. Ice cream, candy, cookies, and cakes should be totally avoided too. Sugar is also present in a lot of foods you wouldn’t suspect, like spaghetti sauce, ketchup, tonic water, and breakfast bars. Always read the labels to know how much sugar you’re ingesting.
Eat Superfoods That Lower Cholesterol
There are certain foods that have been shown to lower bad cholesterol levels while improving good cholesterol levels. They include:
Rich in Omega-3s, fatty fish should be eaten instead of meat 2 or 3 times a week. Omega-3 fats can lower triglycerides in the bloodstream and lower LDL cholesterol. Fish oil is also recommended and should be used by all kidney patients even if they don’t suffer from high cholesterol.
Vegetables and Fruits
Vegetables and fruits are the most important source of soluble fibers and antioxidant, both really useful to lower cholesterol levels naturally. They are also very low in saturated fats and this helps to create a balanced diet and in keeping a low intake of saturated fats. Red bell peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, apples, and berries should always be a part of your diet plan.
Recent studies show that even a very small quantity of soy protein per day, as little as 15g, may lower cholesterol levels up to 6%. Soy milk, soy meat alternatives, tofu, and Edamame beans are a good source of soy proteins. Just be careful if you’re a kidney patient because soy foods are rich in potassium and phosphorus.
Barley and Oats
These superfoods are naturally rich in beta glycan, a soluble fiber capable of binding cholesterol in the intestine and preventing its absorption. Eat two portions of oat- or barley-based meals per day.
Embrace Healthy Lifestyle Choices
There are some changes that need to be done in your lifestyle if you want to lower your cholesterol levels.
First, you need to do some physical activity. A lot of people are terrified by the possibility of starting a class or joining a gym. Some are even questioning the correlation between physical activity and cholesterol levels. Still, countless studies have been done on the subject and the benefits of exercising on cholesterol levels couldn’t be more certain. Even a moderate daily physical activity like walking 30minutes a day has been proven to raise good cholesterol levels. If even 30minutes a day seems too much, consider that even taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and walking to nearby places instead of driving can help. Exercising is particularly important for kidney patients since it lowers the risk of diabetes, improves cardiovascular function, and lowers blood pressure. It is never too late to start.
If you’re already set to follow steps 1, 2, and 3, there’s one thing that is going to happen to your body that you will surely notice: you’re going to lose weight fast! This is not only good for your overall health, but you will also be able to lower cholesterol levels significantly by losing 5% to 10% of your body weight, according to recent studies.
What I always say is that it is really important to start somewhere no matter what your actual conditions are – and start improving from there. When you make a change for the better and you are able to maintain your new lifestyle, improvement in your health will be faster and better than you can hope. You will still need to take the medication your doctor has prescribed you, even if you’re following this plan.
Your doctor will decide when and in what quantity you will have to lower the medications. But if you keep your new habits there are great chances you will be able to lower the dose and reduce the side effects.
15 of the Worst Foods to Avoid If You Have High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol
The Bad Five
Deli Meat: Process deli and lunch meats are full of nitrites. These sales are used to preserve the meats but they can be as high as 600miligrams of sodium for one serving of meat. When you pile on your bread, cheese, a few condiments like mustard or ketchup and then a few pickle’s, a simple sandwich can be deadly. Skip the deli meats.
Canned Tomato Products: One cup of tomato juice contains 680milligrams of sodium, while one serving of spaghetti with meat sauce contains a whopping 1300 milligrams of sodium. And one serving is usually a half-cut of cooked pasta, not the four cups you typically get at your neighborhood restaurant or when you cook at home. So instead of just one serving, you are actually using eight. Do the math before you eat!
Red Meat: We’ve have been told for some time now that red meat is not good for us because it is full of saturated or trans-fat which are bad for both the heart and blood vessels. For example, an 18 oz, ribeye has about 1140 calories, 79grams of fat and 1500mg of sodium.
Sauerkraut: While most people think that sauerkraut is healthy, the fact is that it also has over 460mg of sodium per one serving. So skip the sauerkraut.
Ramen Noodles: College students and lazy adults live on this stuff but this prepackaged noodle-meal is highly unhealthy for many reasons, but the salt content alone in the tiny unassuming flavor packets is 1580mg. The noodles also contain 14mg of fat. So avoid these at all costs.
The Worse Five
Bacon: Well this shouldn’t come as a big surprise – bacon is mostly fat. Three slices have as much as 4-5grams of fats and close to 270mg of salt. And when was the last time you eat just three slices?
Donuts: one donut can have more than 300 calories and is 42% fat and 54% carbs. Let’s not forget the unhealthy saturated and trans fats that come from deep-frying. These delectable treats have more trans-fat than peanut, butter, chocolate bars, or even chips!
Frozen Pot Pies: Pot pies are go-to comfort foods, but a single serving of pot pie equals about 1400mg of sodium on top of the 35grams of fat (mostly trans-fat) in each pie, which is already over half of your daily recommended intake for both in just one serving. Prepackaged frozen meals, in general, are not a good idea.
Whole Milk: Not milk, you say! Despite the fact that milk is a good source of calcium, it is a high fat diary source – one cup of whole milk has about 8grams of fat (5grams of which are saturated). Saturated fats are linked to heart disease. You can use 2% milk or even better, 1% or skim.
Canned Chicken Noodle Soup: The first thing we reach for when we feel sick is a cup of chicken noodle soup, but for people with high blood pressure, just one cup of canned chicken noodle soup contains as much as 760mg of sodium. Most people eat an entire can, which is about two and a half servings and 1800mg of sodium! You can always make homemade soup.
The Worst Five
Alcohol: Most people enjoy a drink or two now and then, but alcohol not only causes high pressure to rise, but it also damages the walls of the blood vessels. Just say no.
Pickles: Apart from the fact that pickles are typically low-fat and low-calories they are loaded with sodium. Three medium pickles, about 3.75inches long can have about 2355mg of sodium, which is already more than the recommended sodium limit of 2300mg for an entire day.
Frozen Pizza: We have all done it – grabbed a frozen pizza after a long day at work. It’s an easy and relatively cheap dinner. But frozen pizza also has cheese, cured meats, tomato sauce, and the crust of course, which for just one serving adds up to as much as 1000mg of sodium. And let’s be honest, when was the last time you only eat one serving of pizza?
Chinese Take-Out: This is a no brainer. Some Chinese food items contain more than two days’ worth of sodium! Even those dishes that sound fairly healthy are loaded with sodium and MSG (another sodium-based preservative). Beef with broccoli has about 3200mg of salt. Then when you include the items that go into making the dish, like soy sauce or teriyaki sauce, which each have about 1000mg of sodium in just a single tablespoon, you are quickly on salt overload. And if you think you will just have a bowl of soup – a single bowl of hot and sour soup has as much as 7980mg of salt.
Baked Goods: Finally baked goods. So good but so bad, they are full of sugar and sodium-rich slavering agents. And even if this is not enough to deter you, these tasty treats, like pastries, cakes, and cookies can quickly lead to obesity, which just aggravates high blood pressure. So nothing about baked goods, unfortunately, is good.
High blood cholesterol and pressure levels, as has been shown throughout this article, are very bad for health. Lower your bad cholesterol levels through a change of lifestyle and diet, and watch your health take a turn for the better. Drop-in your suggestions and questions in the comments section. Cheers to healthier living!