Before resorting to medications, try these natural methods for reducing cholesterol levels.
With the safety of some cholesterol medications being called into question, here are some drug-free alternatives to try.
Drink green tea to reduce cholesterol
The tannins found in tea may help lower cholesterol naturally, with several studies showing that green tea is particularly effective. In 2011, a US study found that when taken in the form of a drink, green tea helps to reduce LDL cholesterol – known as the “bad cholesterol”.
The results, which were published in the Journal Of The American Dietetic Association, found that green tea reduced LDL cholesterol levels by up to five or six points more than other treatments. Compounds found in green tea called catechins are thought to decrease cholesterol absorption in the gut.
Eat more beans to reduce cholesterol
Beans can help lower your cholesterol levels by up to six per cent, according to a study from Arizona State University Polytechnic in the US. Participants in the study ate half a cup of baked beans every day for eight weeks.
Researchers say it’s possible the plant fibre in the beans may help to reduce cholesterol absorption. They believe a diet that incorporates a variety of beans might be as productive as taking a statin (the primary class of cholesterol-lowering medication). To help lower your cholesterol naturally, add black, pinto or kidney beans to your diet.
Aside from the endorphin rush it delivers, aerobic exercise helps to effectively lower LDL cholesterol levels. The more you do, the better the benefits. A recent study of women found that for every extra hour of moderate aerobic activity (or half-hour of vigorous aerobic activity) completed, there was an associated drop in LDL levels of 4mg per decilitre.
The Heart Foundation recommends you do 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking or swimming) on most days. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes jogging, running, step and spin classes.
Minimize animal fats to reduce cholesterol
According to the CSIRO, this is the most effective way to reduce your cholesterol levels. In fact, this simple step will lower your total cholesterol by up to 10 per cent. All foods from animals contain cholesterol, but it is the saturated fat in animal products that has the most adverse effect on our own cholesterol levels.
Switch to low-fat or skim milks, cut down on butter and cheeses, choose lean meats and remove chicken skin. Eggs, however, are considered safe to consume, with several studies showing that up to six eggs a week have no significant effect on cholesterol levels.
Psyllium is a bulk-forming natural dietary fibre that is believed to help lower overall and LDL cholesterol levels. It does this by forming a thick gel that traps and helps remove cholesterol, bile acids and waste in the gut.
A study from the University of Kentucky found that participants who took five grams of psyllium daily over a 26-week period lowered their overall cholesterol levels by 4.7 per cent and their LDL cholesterol by 6.7 per cent. Psyllium can be taken by itself or as part of a fibre supplement. It resembles a fine powder and is found in health-food stores. It can be stirred into juice or water.
Increase olive oil and plant sterols
Olive oil is rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid which is effective at lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. The US Food and Drug Administration recommends having two tablespoons of olive oil a day in place of other fats in your diet.
Plant sterols also reduce cholesterol levels and can now be found in margarines, cereals and low-fat yoghurt and milk. In a review of studies, the Heart Foundation reported that a daily intake of 2.5 grams of plant sterol-enriched foods lowered LDL levels by between five and 15 per cent.
Fish and fish oil supplements lower levels of triglycerides, which are fats related to cholesterol. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found a combination of fish oil, red yeast rice and lifestyle changes can be just as effective as prescription drugs when it comes to lowering a person’s cholesterol. Over the course of 12 weeks, study participants showed significant decreases in their levels of LDL cholesterol.
Natural Supplement to lower cholesterol
The Manna Cholesterol Support product were formulated with well researched ingredients to lower even the toughest cholesterol. The uniqueness of the product is that it lowers the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol, without any side effects.