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4 Simple Steps To Reduce Cholesterol in the Body

4 Simple Steps To Reduce Cholesterol in the Body

When Filipinos think of good food, the ever-popular lechon instantly pops into their mind. Aside from lechon, there is also chicharon and crispy pata, which are all high in cholesterol. While all these look, sound, and actually are delicious, how do we go about reducing cholesterol in our bodies?

What Is Cholesterol?

Before delving into the “meat” of reducing cholesterol, let’s first have bite-sized cholesterol information as an appetizer.

Cholesterol is a fatty component found in the blood, which is naturally generated by the liver. The body needs a good amount of cholesterol to serve several bodily functions. But it can become an issue when there is too much of it in the bloodstream. It can block pathways that are needed for other functions of the body, such as the arteries.

This is where the issue of high cholesterol becomes important. Consuming food that is high in saturated fats and trans fats while not getting enough food that is high in unsaturated fats and fiber increases blood cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream through proteins called lipoproteins. One type of lipoprotein is low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is what people refer to as “bad cholesterol.” In particular, it is the type of lipoprotein that contributes to the formation of plaque in the arteries. High levels of LDL increase the risk of coronary heart disease and other heart health problems.

4 Quick Tips in Reducing Cholesterol

Now that you’ve learned the basics of cholesterol intake, it is now time to answer how to reduce cholesterol. What are things you need to do to take steps towards reducing cholesterol in your body? Here are 4 helpful tips you may want to keep in mind.

1. Start with Your Eating Habits

Before anything else, the best place to start is the root cause. High cholesterol levels usually occur because of an excessive intake of food that is rich in saturated fats and trans fats. Food with a lot of salt and sugar may also contribute to your high cholesterol levels.

Limiting your intake of these kinds of food can help you reduce the LDL cholesterol your body doesn’t necessarily need.

reducing cholesterol

As a replacement for food that is rich in saturated and trans fat, make it a habit to eat food that is low in cholesterol. These include food with soluble fiber, such as:

  • Oats (oatmeals and oat bran)
  • Barley and other whole grains
  • Legumes (kidney beans, lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and lima beans)
  • Eggplant
  • Okra
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Citrus fruits (orange and lemon)
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Food fortified with sterols and stanols
  • Soy (tofu and soy milk)
  • Vegetable oils

You may also opt for fish with high omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to lower triglycerides in the bloodstream and protect the heart by preventing the emergence of irregular cardiac rhythms.

Eating fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, twice or three times a week can help lower LDL levels.

These kinds of food may aid in the prevention and management of high levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides while boosting levels of the good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein or HDL). Fiber supplements may also be added to your diet to improve digestion and promote overall health.

2. Lead a More Active Lifestyle

Something everyone should know is that obesity and being overweight can raise LDL cholesterol levels. Excess body fat has an impact on how your body uses cholesterol and hinders the removal of the bad cholesterol from the blood. When not addressed properly, this may lead to heart disease and stroke.

Physical activity can aid in the maintenance of a healthy weight as well as play a role in reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. Making exercise a part of your day through brisk walking or enjoying your favorite sport can bring you a step closer to your fitness goal.

You may also consider finding a fitness buddy or accountability partner to keep track of this lifestyle change.

3. Don’t Smoke, Drink Moderately

Smoking affects your blood vessels and causes the hardening of the arteries, causing the blockage of the blood pathway.

Drinking too much alcohol contributes to additional calories, which might result in weight gain. It can also increase your blood pressure and lipid levels, raising your risk of heart disease.

4. Consult Your Doctor for Medication

Your doctor may advise you to take cholesterol-lowering medicine to lower the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Statins are the most prevalent form of cholesterol-lowering drug. These lessen your risk of heart attack or stroke by lowering the bad cholesterol found in the blood.

Key Takeaways

Making lifestyle adjustments, particularly dietary changes and frequent physical activity, are keys to reducing cholesterol levels in the body.

Be mindful of what your body consumes. Remember, you are what you eat.

Learn more about cholesterol here.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

11 Foods that Lower Cholesterol, https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/11-foods-that-lower-cholesterol Accessed October 19, 2021

Top 5 Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Cholesterol, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/reduce-cholesterol/art-20045935 Accessed October 19, 2021

Preventing High Cholesterol, https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/prevention.htm Accessed October 19, 2021

How to Lower Your Cholesterol, https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/how-to-lower-cholesterol Accessed October 19, 2021

How to Lower Cholesterol with Diet, https://medlineplus.gov/howtolowercholesterolwithdiet.html Accessed October 19, 2021

Cholesterol – healthy eating tips, https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/cholesterol-healthy-eating-tips Accessed October 19, 2021

 

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Written by Fiel Tugade Updated Oct 20
Fact Checked by Cesar Beltran