Expert Nutrition

How to Lower Cholesterol Naturally

- By Todd Miller (Dietitian)

Having high cholesterol doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be taking drugs, you can lower cholesterol naturally if you are willing to make a few lifestyle changes. In this chapter we are going to teach you everything you need to know about cholesterol including what your numbers mean and how best to manage them.

Cardiovascular disease (which includes heart attack and stroke) is the biggest killer of the industrialised world. Having high cholesterol is one of the most significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease and therefore it is important that we keep it under control. With a few lifestyle improvements you should be able to lower cholesterol naturally.

How does high cholesterol cause cardiovascular disease?

Having high cholesterol levels has been shown to accelerate a process known as ‘atherosclerosis’ which is an inflammatory response triggered by the immune system that leads to a build up of fatty plaques in our arteries. This arterial plaque build up reduces blood flow to the heart, brain, kidneys and other body parts and can eventually lead to a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and limb amputation.

Arterial plaque build up begins in childhood, so the earlier one starts controlling cholesterol, the better - particularly if there is a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease. Keeping your cholesterol under control along with other lifestyle risks such as smoking, stress, blood pressure, inflammatory foods and obesity will reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease significantly.

Given that high cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease everybody over the age of 19 should know their cholesterol levels. Later in this chapter we'll discuss what your cholesterol test results mean and what to do if you have a problem.

There are many lifestyle factors that can help you to lower cholesterol naturally. Many of these are diet related and include classic tips such as cut back on saturated fat, eat more fish, consume more fruits and vegetables, increase fibre intake and add garlic to your meals. Whilst these classic tips might help, they will only get you so far, if you are not consuming the right nutrients, in the correct amounts, at the proper times.

It is important to know that certain foods have more cholesterol improving abilities then others, for example soluble fibre lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) while insoluble fibre appears to not affect cholesterol levels at all. Additionally some fish provide a good source of omega 3 fatty acids (good fats) where others do not.

The advancement of Lifestyle Medicine and modern research has provided information that will take you much further then the classic tips. Throughout this chapter we’ll explain in detail how to lower your cholesterol naturally by making simple dietary and lifestyle improvements. These include:

Cholesterol Lowering Program

Let’s get started.
To lower cholesterol naturally we first need to review your cholesterol test results and indentify where the problems are.

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