How to Lower LDL Cholesterol

You need cholesterol to survive, but the average American has way too much of the wrong kind of cholesterol collecting inside his arteries. Instead of worrying about your total cholesterol levels, you need to learn how to lower LDL cholesterol.

Your body uses cholesterol for a variety of functions, including building strong cell walls, metabolizing vitamins, creating hormones and in the creation of bile, necessary for digestion. Your liver produces most of the cholesterol in your body but you get some through food. This cholesterol moves around your body through the bloodstream.

LDL carries cholesterol from your gut to the other parts of your body, depositing excess cholesterol inside artery walls. It's the "good" HDL cholesterol that scrapes cholesterol from arterial walls and carries it back to the liver, which recycles cholesterol into bile or eliminates it from the body.

An unhealthy balance of LDL to HDL increases your risk for heart disease. Hence, you can usually improve your cardiovascular risk by reducing your LDL levels.

Diet Changes to Lower LDL

Avoid food famous for raising LDL cholesterol levels. Trans fats are notorious for their ability to raise cholesterol. In the past, doctors have worried about how saturated fat from animal products raises LDL levels.

New unbiased research has revealed that saturated fat isn't necessarily the cholesterol-raising, artery-clogging fat we've been led to believe. Many high cholesterol patients are increasing their intake of healthy versions of saturated fat to reduce their cholesterol levels and lose weight. (Did you know human breast milk is about 40% saturated fat?)

Watch out for food that may secretly sabotage your efforts. You may already know that sugar raises blood glucose levels but sugar also dramatically increases triglycerides, another type of lipid that's part of your total cholesterol number.

Your body burns the calories from sugar before converting carbohydrates into digestible sugars, storing unused sugar and carbohydrates in the liver in the form of triglycerides.

Eat food that does not raise your cholesterol. The world is a smorgasbord, overflowing with whole, fresh foods that do not raise your cholesterol. Graze on the wide variety of colorful plant-based food in your grocer's vegetable and fruit aisle.

You are not required to eat these foods raw, you know. Learn how to prepare these foods in healthy ways that do not raise cholesterol. Take home a bag or two of tree nuts to give homemade dishes a natural cholesterol-reducing crunch.

Wondering how to lower LDL cholesterol by eating more food? Simply fill your plate with foods that have a scientifically proven ability to lower LDL levels.

Yes, some foods actually lower your cholesterol levels. For example, oatmeal contains soluble fiber. This fiber prevents your gut from absorbing bile; excess bile is then eliminated from your body. Your liver notices this drop in bile levels, necessary for digestion, and converts cholesterol into bile.

Lifestyle Changes

Stop eating so much food. Obese individuals tend to have high cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association points out that…

"Increased weight is a determinant of higher levels of triglycerides, elevated LDL-C, and low HDL-C."

This report also associates weight loss with lower LDL and triglycerides along with higher HDL.

Control your blood pressure and glucose levels. Hypertension and hyperglycemia raise overall cholesterol scores and have a negative impact on LDL.

Improve Your LDL/HDL Ratio

Improve your balance of LDL and HDL cholesterols. Eat food that raises HDL, including healthy fats found in coldwater fish which contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, known to improve HDL levels.

Exercise for a half hour on five or more days a week. Exercise increases HDL levels and helps you lose weight. Too tired or busy to exercise for 30 minutes solid? No problem. Just break it into three 10-minute sessions. Be sure to exercise as vigorously as possible to gain the most benefit from physical activity.

Please note that what's vigorous for a 55 year-old re-starting an exercise regimen will be far different compared to a 25 year-old athlete. So keep that in mind.

Learning how to lower cholesterol levels can feel overwhelming, but implementing meaningful lifestyle changes is worth it. Lowering your LDL cholesterol may take a concerted effort on a daily basis, so stick with it.

Prepare to exercise and make healthy food choices one meal at a time. However you plan to defeat your cholesterol problem, arm yourself with knowledge and attack with intensity.

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