J. Lang Wood
If your doctor has told you that your cholesterol levels are high, you may not understand why this is a significant matter for your future health. Cholesterol is an important component in the body and is found in every cell. However, too much cholesterol in the bloodstream can cause deposits on blood vessel walls that can lead to heart attack and stroke. If you want to lower your cholesterol levels without taking medication for the rest of your life, consider making some changes to your diet to eliminate high cholesterol foods and add foods that will help lower your cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is produced naturally in the body. It is an essential component for life and plays a part in making cell membranes, regulating hormones, producing vitamin D and making bile acids for good digestion. However, when too much cholesterol is produced, it begins to build up as deposits on the walls of blood vessels, instead of being excreted by normal means. This buildup can narrow the lining of the blood vessels to block normal blood flow, which can eventually lead to heart attack or stroke.
Cholesterol comes in two different types, one of which helps your body function well, and the other that can have a detrimental effect on health. High-density lipoproteins, or HDL, are important for removing excess amounts of cholesterol from the body, which is why it is considered the “good” cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein, called LDL, is not as beneficial as HDL. When physicians become concerned about your cholesterol tests, they are usually referring to the LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol numbers. Too much LDL cholesterol begins to build up on blood vessel walls, eventually causing narrowing and blockages that cause cardiovascular disease.
Nutrition experts recommend a number of foods that can actively help to lower cholesterol levels in the body:
Another way to lower your cholesterol is to engage in exercise regularly. Exercise helps by helping you maintain a healthy weight, and it also appears to increase the size of protein particles, which prevents them from sticking to blood vessel walls. Physicians recommend 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. However, longer periods of exercise have an even greater effect on lowering cholesterol levels.
You can take a proactive approach to lowering your cholesterol by changing your diet and lifestyle. For many people, these changes can be enough to lower your cholesterol numbers so you can avoid taking medications. However, if these efforts do not lower cholesterol numbers enough, your physician can prescribe medication that provides additional protection from cardiovascular problems.