High cholesterol is a medical condition that can impact your entire well-being. While you certainly want to be proactive for your health, cholesterol medication isn’t always necessary. In fact, in many cases, there are healthier ways to reduce your cholesterol naturally without taking any drugs. Here are five of the most effective drug-free ways to lower your cholesterol levels and keep them low long-term.
One of those common misconceptions about cholesterol is that there is a set amount you’re born with, which stays relatively steady throughout your life. Exercise more. This could be as simple as taking a walk every day at lunch or squeezing in a gym visit after work. The key is consistency; try for 30 minutes, three times per week. Build up over time to an hour every day—not just on weekends. Improvements with little habits can make a lasting impact on your health.
Consume Good Fats
Animal and vegetable fats are generally bad for your health because they contain a lot of saturated fat. However, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help lower your cholesterol levels by making you feel full sooner. Try adding more foods that contain these good fats into your diet—olive oil, peanut butter, nuts, and fish are all excellent examples.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
Dietary fiber isn’t just good for your physical health. It can also help lower your cholesterol levels. Foods high in fiber include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts—they’re all part of a healthy diet that will ultimately decrease your risk of heart disease. Aim for at least 25 grams of fiber per day. Oats are one food that will give you much more than a single serving!
Stress is a contributing factor to high cholesterol, so reducing stress can help reduce your total cholesterol levels. One way to reduce stress is through laughter; research shows that laughter can ease anxiety and tension and strengthen your immune system. So make time for some laughs every day—it’s good for you!
While you may think of supplements to help fill in nutritional gaps, they can also be used for more specific reasons. A few studies show that healthy people who take multivitamins regularly have lower cholesterol levels and less heart disease than those who don’t. Consider taking a daily multivitamin if you’re prone to nutrient deficiencies or have heart problems in your family.