In addition to cooler weather, pumpkin spice everything, and going back to school, September is National Cholesterol Education Month. If you haven’t recently had your cholesterol checked, consider this is a friendly reminder to make an appointment. High cholesterol can affect people of all ages, even those who don’t think they could be at risk.
When unchecked, high cholesterol can cause serious health issues, including heart attack and stroke. If you struggle with high cholesterol or want to be more proactive about your health, it’s important to learn more about how to naturally maintain balanced cholesterol levels.
Blood cholesterol is a waxy substance produced in the liver that is needed for the body to function. Cholesterol is responsible for hormone production, building cell membranes, making Vitamin D, and digesting fatty foods. Your body produces 80% of the blood cholesterol you need, while only 20% comes from dietary sources. Problems arise when your diet is rich in cholesterol and blockages occur.
What Causes High Cholesterol?
Although high cholesterol can be caused by other factors, your diet is the most influential piece of the puzzle. If you regularly eat a high fat diet, the cholesterol in these foods can begin to build up in the body and can cause blockages in your heart, legs, and neck, which may lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Good Fat, or Bad Fat?
All fats are not created equal, you may have heard about two different kinds of cholesterol, the so-called “good” HDL and the “bad” LDL. LDL cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein, can deposit on your arterial walls, causing buildup and blockage. This is the sort of cholesterol you want to limit.
HDL cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein, on the other hand can carry cholesterol away from the arterial walls and reduce your risk of disease. Omega 3 fatty acids are a great source of this good cholesterol.
4 Natural Ways to Lower or Maintain Your Cholesterol Levels
Ready to be more proactive about managing your cholesterol? Here are some natural ways to get started.
Watch Your Fats
An easy way to balance cholesterol levels is not by eliminating fat altogether, but by decreasing your LDL cholesterol sources, and increasing your HDL cholesterol sources. Reach for olives, fatty fish, legumes, and nuts to increase your HDL intake.
Smoking can have a negative impact on your cholesterol levels. The tar in cigarettes changes the immune cells in the body, preventing them from moving cholesterol from vessel walls to the blood for transport to the liver.
Exercise tops almost every list for healthy living, and cholesterol management is no exception. The longer and more intense your exercise regimen, the greater the benefit, although any can reduce cholesterol and promote heart health.
Up your Fiber
A diet rich insoluble fiber can feed good gut bacteria and remove cholesterol from the body. Foods rich in insoluble fiber include fruit, psyllium, beans, peas, and whole grains.
Supplements to Support Balance
The right support makes a big difference, these supplements may play a role in balancing your cholesterol levels.
How do you naturally maintain balanced cholesterol levels? Share your ideas and experiences with us in the box below.