5 tips to lower blood cholesterol without medication

November 27, 2014

If you are looking to lower your blood cholesterol without taking medication, there are ways to help do so by making a few modifications in your lifestyle.

5 tips to lower blood cholesterol without medication

By following these simple tips, you can feel healthier while saving time and money, but remember to always consult with your doctor first.

Boost dietary fibre

A 2013 study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior reported that many Canadians didn't get enough fibre in their diets. Fortunately, ingesting 10 grams of soluble fibre a day helps lower blood cholesterol without medication, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. To increase soluble fibre intake, eat oatmeal, barley, oranges, pears, prunes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, psyllium seeds and legumes such as lima, kidney, black, navy, northern and pinto beans. Try oat bran cereal for breakfast, make a heart-healthy three-bean salad or sprinkle ground psyllium seeds on Greek yogurt, oatmeal and salads.

Eat plant sterols

Consuming plant sterols found in sterol-enriched foods and supplements helps reduce high blood cholesterol without the need for medication, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. While small amounts of plant sterols are found naturally in beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables, eating foods and supplements enriched with plant sterols give you the best chance at lowering cholesterol. Some juices, yogurts, non-hydrogenated margarines and dietary supplements are enriched in sterols, but check the ingredient list to be sure.

Reduce saturated and trans fats

Reducing your intake of saturated and trans fats is often effective for lowering cholesterol, according to The College of Family Physicians of Canada. Saturated fats are present in sausage, bacon, other fatty meats, butter, lard, whole milk, cream, cheese, creamed soups and ice cream. Trans fats are found in French fries, doughnuts, other fried foods, pastries, commercial baked goods and hydrogenated margarine and shortening. Instead of eating foods containing saturated or trans fats, choose heart-healthy fats found in nuts, seeds, plant-based oils, fatty fish and fish oils, avocados and olives.

Lose weight if needed

If you're overweight or obese, losing weight helps improve your blood cholesterol. Losing just 10 pounds can significantly lower your levels, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In addition to eating well, lowering your caloric intake by just 500 calories a day will help you shed about one pound per week. Reducing calories by 1,000 daily can help you drop about two pounds each week. Remember to talk to your doctor about manageable ways to do this.

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise is an excellent way to maintain or achieve a healthy body weight and reduce high blood cholesterol. Canada's Food Guide recommends getting at least two and a half hours of moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise every week. The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care recommends getting 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily to lower cholesterol and heart disease risks. For best results, participate in a variety of exercises like swimming, jogging, biking, using an elliptical machine, kickboxing, yoga and lifting weights.

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