What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a kind of fat (lipid) present in your blood. Your cells need cholesterol to function normally, and your body makes it. However, you also get extra cholesterol from fatty foods that you consume.
When you have more than the required amount of cholesterol in your body, it starts building up in your arteries. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. This may further lead to heart and blood flow problems like blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.
The condition of suffering from high cholesterol is medically termed as hypercholesterolemia.
There are mainly two types of cholesterol:
- Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) – LDL is the bad cholesterol that increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL) – HDL is the good cholesterol that reduces your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
What Causes High Cholesterol?
The following are the most common factors that affect your cholesterol levels:
- Foods Rich In Saturated And Trans Fats: Consuming these foods regularly can increase the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol.
- Overweight: Being overweight can lower the levels of good cholesterol and increase the levels of bad cholesterol.
- Inactivity: Not exercising and being inactive can increase your LDL levels and increase the HDL levels.
- Age: Cholesterol (LDL) levels usually begin to rise after 20 years.
- Family History: Those with a family history of high cholesterol levels are prone to the condition.
Signs And Symptoms Of High Cholesterol
Most of the time, you may not know that you have high cholesterol levels until you get yourself tested.
In some cases, individuals find out about their high cholesterol levels only after suffering a stroke or heart attack. However, such situations only occur when high cholesterol levels lead to the formation of plaque.
A blood test is almost the only way to find out if your cholesterol is too high.
- High Cholesterol – Above 240 mg/dl
- Borderline High Cholesterol – 200-239 mg/dl
- Normal Cholesterol – Below 200 mg/dl
Today, most individuals suffer from high cholesterol levels and are thus at high risk of heart attacks and strokes. Hence, the earlier you bring down your cholesterol levels, the better it is for your health.
Home Remedies To Reduce Cholesterol
Vitamins B3, E, and C are known to reduce serum cholesterol levels. Vitamin C supplementation was found to reduce LDL levels. Vitamins B3 and E help combat symptoms of high cholesterol like atherosclerosis by reducing the build-up of cholesterol in your arteries.
Foods rich in these vitamins include citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, chicken, mushroom, tuna, almonds, and sweet potato.
2. Fish Oil
You Will Need: 1000 mg of fish oil supplements
What You Have To Do: Take 1000 mg of fish oil supplements. You can also consume fish like sardines, salmon, mackerel, and tuna.
How Often You Should Do This: You must do this on a daily basis.
Why This Works: Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Regular intake of these fatty acids is one of the best and easiest ways to reduce your cholesterol levels. They also help reduce your risk of heart disease.
3. Coconut Oil
You Will Need: Coconut oil (as required)
What You Have To Do: Add coconut oil to your favorite dishes and salads in moderate amounts. You can also replace your cooking oil with coconut oil. Alternatively, you can consume a tablespoon of coconut oil every morning.
How Often You Should Do This: You must do this on a daily basis.
Why This Works: Coconut oil is known to increase the good cholesterol levels in your blood. This, in turn, helps lower the bad cholesterol levels and also protects you from heart disease by helping you keep your weight in check.
You Will Need: Minced garlic cloves
What You Have To Do: Add minced garlic cloves to salads and other dishes. You can also chew on peeled garlic cloves.
How Often You Should Do This: You must consume garlic on a daily basis.
Why This Works: Garlic contains a compound called allicin that is only released when you crush it. This compound is known to reduce your cholesterol naturally.
5. Green Tea
You Will Need: 1 teaspoon of green tea, 1 cup of water, Honey
What You Have To Do: Add a teaspoon of green tea to a cup of water. Bring it to a boil in a saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes and strain. When the tea cools down a little, add some honey to it. Drink it while it is warm.
How Often You Should Do This: You must drink this thrice daily.
Why This Works: The powerful antioxidant potential of green tea is due to the presence of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in it, which helps bring down the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels.
You Will Need: 1 bowl of probiotic yogurt
What You Have To Do: Consume a bowl of probiotic yogurt.
How Often You Should Do This: Do this daily for best results.
Why This Works: Probiotic yogurt contains good bacteria that enhance your gut health and play a significant role in lowering your cholesterol levels naturally.
7. Chia Seeds
You Will Need: 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
What You Have To Do: Add chia seeds to your favorite smoothie or fruit juice and consume it.
How Often You Should Do This: You must consume chia seeds daily to reduce your cholesterol levels.
Why This Works: Chia seeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
8. Orange Juice
You Will Need: 1 cup of orange juice
What You Have To Do: Consume a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice.
How Often You Should Do This: Do this 2 to 3 times daily.
Why This Works: Regular and long-term consumption of orange juice was found to lower the cholesterol levels and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease according to a study published in Lipids in Health and Disease.
9. Pomegranate Juice
You Will Need: 1 cup of fresh pomegranate juice
What You Have To Do: Consume a cup of freshly prepared pomegranate juice.
How Often You Should Do This: Do this 1 to 2 times daily.
Why This Works: Pomegranate contains high levels of antioxidants as compared to green tea and red wine. These antioxidants help in lowering the bad cholesterol (LDL), which, in turn, keeps cardiovascular disease at bay.
10. Lemon Juice
You Will Need: ½ lemon, 1 glass of warm water, Honey
What You Have To Do: Add the juice of half a lemon to a glass of warm water. Mix well and add some honey to it. Consume the juice immediately.
How Often You Should Do This: Drink a glass of lemon juice once daily, preferably every morning on an empty stomach.
Why This Works: Lemon juice is a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants. This makes it an effective remedy for reducing bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and promoting weight loss.
11. Apple Cider Vinegar
You Will Need: 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 glass of water, Honey
What You Have To Do: Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water and mix well. Add some honey to this mixture and consume it.
How Often You Should Do This: Drink this solution once daily or every alternate day for best results.
Why This Works: Apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains acetic acid and pectin. While the acetic acid helps you in losing the unwanted body weight associated with high cholesterol, the bad cholesterol (LDL) attaches itself to the pectin (fiber) of ACV and gets eliminated from your body.
You Will Need: 1 tablespoon of powdered flaxseeds, 1 glass of warm water/milk, Honey
What You Have To Do: Add a tablespoon of powdered flaxseeds to a glass of warm water or milk and mix well. You can also add some honey to the mixture to improve its flavor. Consume it immediately.
How Often You Should Do This: You must do this once daily.
Why This Works: Flaxseeds contain a lignan called secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) that helps lower the blood cholesterol and decreases your risk of developing liver diseases.
Best Foods To Lower Your Cholesterol Fast
Listed below are some of the best foods that can help you lower your cholesterol levels:
- Barley and other whole grains
- Nuts like almonds, pistachios, walnuts, peanuts, and or hazelnuts.
- Eliminate trans fats from your diet. They are often found in cookies, crackers, etc.
- Exercise daily.
- Quit smoking.
- Check your weight to understand if you are overweight.
- Avoid drinking alcohol.
Once you start following the above remedies, diet, and tips, you will see a change in your condition in a few weeks.