Can You Lower Cholesterol Naturally?
If you’re one of the millions of people living with high cholesterol, you may be worried about what you can do to lower it and what your options are. From expensive pharmaceuticals to nutritional supplements, how do you know where to start?
You can breathe a little easier—yes, there are ways to naturally lower your cholesterol. While your doctor should always be a part of your health decisions and, in some cases, cholesterol levels may be high due to genetics or other underlying factors, there are some things that you can do to focus on lowering cholesterol on your own. This includes natural supplements and certain food and lifestyle choices.
What Foods Can Naturally Lower My Cholesterol?
You may notice in the grocery store that several foods and brands may claim to lower cholesterol, but do they really? Well, some do, yes.
- Soluble fiber: Foods with soluble fiber help to lower cholesterol naturally by binding with cholesterol so it is naturally flushed out of the system. Foods like oats, flaxseed, beans, broccoli, and berries all contain good amounts of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber can also be taken as a nutritional supplement.
- Garlic: Garlic has been shown to lower cholesterol in some studies. This can either be taken as a dietary supplement or added to your daily cooking.
- Fats: There is a lot of talk about fats in foods nowadays. While the days of fat as the enemy are thankfully gone, there is still some debate about which types of fats are healthy. For now, the general consensus is that monosaturated fats, like those found in avocados, nuts, and olives, are healthy, while trans fats are a big no-no. Saturated fat, like that in coconut oil, has a bit of a middle reputation, so eat foods with this fat more sparingly to be on the safe side.
What Are the Best Herbal Supplements to Lower Cholesterol?
While a few of the food options listed above can be taken as dietary supplements, there are a few cholesterol-lowering natural vitamins that are harder to eat in a regular diet.
- Niacin: Niacin, also known as Vitamin B3, is one of the best natural vitamins to lower cholesterol naturally. Niacin may actually lower the “bad” form of cholesterol and raise the “good” form, so it’s often recommended by practitioners. This supplement is one you will want to discuss with your doctor, as it can have some side effects and symptoms.
- Omega-3s: Along with supporting general heart health, omega-3s help reduce fat in the bloodstream, which may reduce inflammation. Found most commonly in fish oil and flax and chia seeds, this can be found in many dietary supplements and is easy to take.
- Coenzyme Q10: While this nutritional supplement needs a little more testing, early studies show promise. This can be found in tablet form.
- Green tea: Whether you drink it or take it as a nutritional supplement, green tea has long been touted as a natural cholesterol helper. It has many other health benefits as well, but be sure to not drink too much, as it still contains some caffeine.
- Artichoke leaf: Some studies show that artichoke leaf extract may increase bile production, which, in turn, may speed up cholesterol being flushed from the system. While testing still needs to be done, keep an eye on this as an option.
Still not sure what option is best for you? While getting regular exercise, avoiding alcohol, and making smart food choices can help lower cholesterol, you may need to add in dietary supplements to support your HDL and LDL levels.