By Lisa James | Edited by Elena Doxey
Cholesterol itself isn’t evil; your body actually needs it to build cell walls, among other things. But there’s no denying that keeping your cholesterol levels in check can greatly reduce your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
Here are seven ways to naturally reduce cholesterol levels:
#1. Keep Stress at Bay
Stress can wreak incredible amounts of havoc on our bodies, and our cardiovascular system is no exception. Evidence suggests the way we respond to life’s troubles and curveballs can throw our internal chemistry out of balance, which in turn can contribute to heart problems.
True to this evidence, research presented at an annual meeting of the American Psychological Association revealed that men with the lowest hostility levels—as measured by a questionnaire on coping strategies—boasted better cholesterol levels than their more hot-headed peers. The lesson here is to think before you react, and take the time to regroup and cool down.
#2. Get Moving—for Life
Staying active is a great way to combat stress and improve your cardiovascular health and well-being. Increasing your physical activity helps your heart pump more efficiently, helping to reduce cholesterol levels and dropping blood pressure.
#3. Calories Count
No one wants to count calories, but those tasty little critters can creep up on us and add unwanted pounds. One way to increase your lifespan is to be mindful of your calorie intake, in part because such regulation helps reduce cholesterol levels. Being mindful of portion size, and taking a high-quality multi-vitamin every day can help keep you nutritionally covered.
#4. Cut the “Sat Fat”
It’s time to end the war on fat and get down to the facts. For years, it was thought that cutting all fat out of your diet was the way to heart health; however, that theory has been proven wrong, and for good reason. The culprit in the fat war is saturated fat, the kind (such as lard) that stays solid at room temperature. Healthy unsaturated fats (like the kinds found in olive oil and avocados) are beneficial for the heart. If you’re a fish lover, you hit the jackpot! Cold-water fish (like salmon) contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids and have been found to cool off artery-harming inflammation while helping reduce dangerous blood clots and irregular heartbeats.
#5. Color Your Diet Healthy
Unleash the power of produce in your diet by filling your plate with a colorful mix of fruits and vegetables. Whether you’re a creature of habit and stick to what you like or are more daring to try new things, adding more color to your diet is good for your heart.
Today, we know that the phytonutrients in plants not only give fruits and vegetables their brilliant colors but offer a wealth of health benefits. Your mom was right after all―eat your vegetables. And if you need a little help getting them all in, try taking supplements with whole-food concentrates that can provide phytonutrient insurance.
#6. Supplement Wisely
Diet and exercise. We’ve heard a million times that they are the pathway to a heart-healthy lifestyle. But what about supplements? Think of supplements as reinforcements that boost our immunity while we engage in a healthy lifestyle. Common ones (like garlic and green tea) are linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, whereas vitamin E is known as a key antioxidant. Others include: plant sterols, which may help reduce cholesterol absorption; and spirulina and guggul, which even out your cholesterol levels.
#7. Feast on Fiber
Fiber not only keeps your intestinal system firing on all cylinders, but the soluble kind (such as the beta glucans found in oats) helps drain your bloodstream of excess cholesterol. Eating a fiber-rich diet also fills you up, which in turn helps head off obesity, which is itself a threat to cardiovascular health.
Reducing your cholesterol can put you on a heart-healthy track to well-being and longevity. Start on your reduced-cholesterol journey today with Nature’s Plus® multi-vitamins!