You’ve likely heard that high cholesterol is one of the biggest risk factors when it comes to heart disease. Though your body does need some cholesterol, too much can be a bad thing. The problem is, bad cholesterol can contribute to the build-up of fatty deposits on the walls of your arteries, and this can lead to certain heart health issues.1
But, there’s good news:
There are a few things you can do — right at home — that can help keep your cholesterol levels healthy (and you don’t even have to give up foods like eggs and shrimp).
When it comes to easy ways to lower cholesterol, there are more roads to better health than you may know about. You really can kick bad cholesterol to the curb and turn your health around with these five simple tips.
Of course, if you’ve got concerns about cholesterol, the best place to start is at your doctor’s office — but along with medical care, these 5 tips can go a long way to helping you live a healthy life.
1. Use Olive (or Avocado) Oil To Lower Cholesterol
Who loves butter? Everyone. But did you know… butter consists of about 50 percent saturated fat?! Of course, grass-fed butter is ok, in moderation, but most people consume butter on a daily basis. Is this sounds like you, try replacing butter with olive oil.
Olive oil and avocado oil are great replacements when it comes to cooking. You can even use avocado as a healthy replacement for butter.
Recent studies indicate that even a moderate intake of butter can increase total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels more than olive oil. Of course, a healthy diet may leave room for a moderate intake of butter, but even a small increase in cholesterol for anyone at risk is undesirable.2
So, give it a go, and try to swap out your butter for olive oil, or other healthy fats. It’s one of the most incredible and easy ways to lower cholesterol.
2. Get moving to Reduce Triglycerides
If you’re trying to reduce triglycerides, you want to get your recommended daily exercise of about 30 minutes a day. The thing is, most people complain about not being able to find the time to get in that daily workout. The good news? You don’t have to get that workout in a single 30-minute block. Instead, try squeezing in two or three 10 to 15-minute bursts of exercise when you can.
In fact, The American Heart Association states that regular moderate to vigorous exercise has been shown to increase your HDL (‘good’) cholesterol levels while lowering cholesterol (specifically, bad cholesterol) and decreasing triglycerides.3
What are triglycerides, exactly?
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your body, and they can provide a major source of energy. But excess calories from foods that your body doesn’t need for quick energy are turned into triglycerides. And then? Those calories are stored in your fat cells. And higher levels of triglycerides can be linked to a build-up of fatty deposits in your arteries and an increased risk for heart disease.4
So, do your best to get your triglyceride levels down.
All you really need is to infuse your days with a few ten-minute walks — or you can run, bike, swim, or even dance – and who doesn’t love a good in-home dance party?
3. Include More Soluble Fiber in Your Diet
What can fiber for you? Well, turns out, fiber draws fluids from your body while adding bulk to your stool. And it can even keep your digestive system functioning as it should, making sure your body gets rid of all the waste it doesn’t need.
Without the right amount of fiber, your gut can suffer, and your body can develop inflammatory responses to different stimuli. Fiber helps balance your gut bugs – increasing the good bacteria and decreasing the bad bacteria.
Furthermore, fiber can help manage your high cholesterol and blood sugar levels. But, if you’re wondering how much fiber you should be getting each day, women should get around 25 grams and men get between 30 and 40 grams. Sadly, most people only end up getting less than half of that amount. So, do your best, and add fiber to your list of easy ways to lower cholesterol.
4. Include a Handful of “the Right Nuts” Each Day
Now, nuts are pretty high in heart-healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, and plant sterols. Plant sterols are plant components that have a chemical structure similar to that of cholesterol, but they lower cholesterol absorption and reduce cholesterol levels overall. So, health experts advise adding plant sterols to your diet as an effective way to help you reduce the risk of heart disease.6
By including a handful or two of the right nuts every day, you can reduce both total and LDL cholesterol.
But here’s a secret: some “nuts” are really just seeds. Cashews, for instance, are seeds full of lectins. Peanuts are actually legumes — aka lectin bombs. So, you’ve got to stay away from them. But real nuts – like walnuts, macadamia nuts, and pistachios – can do great things for your health. Just watch your portion size. Sprinkle walnuts on your salad, or grab a handful of pistachios as a snack.
5. Eat More Leafy Greens
Finally, if you’re interested in lowering cholesterol, you want to cover your plate in healthier foods like leafy, bitter greens. In fact, the more bitter, the better. Bitter, leafy greens are the best because they’re nutrient-dense and they’re a vital source of antioxidants.
Did you know the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends you eat 2 ½ to 3 cups of dark green veggies every day?7 Why are greens so good for you? Well, for starters, they boost energy. Bitter greens contain amazing levels of polyphenols, which give you long-lasting energy and help keep you healthy as you age.
But bitter greens can also help improve your health, because they’re full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Furthermore, they can help curb hunger, because they’re packed with fiber and thylakoids – little sac-like membranes in the leaves – which help fill you up faster and suppress hunger.8
In the end…
There are several things you can do when looking for easy ways to lower cholesterol levels. You can help your health further by reducing your alcohol intake. Alcohol, in general, is a common contributor to weight gain. So, if you must drink, try to stick to a maximum of one drink per day — and make sure it’s Gundry approved, like red wine, champagne, or a barrel-aged spirit
Also, quitting smoking can help increase your HDL (‘good’) cholesterol levels. Generally, the increase occurs rapidly, which is pretty great in terms of a cholesterol cleanup. It’s just further proof that the adverse effects of smoking can be rapidly reversible once you quit.9
Take the steps above to lowering your cholesterol, and you’ll likely find yourself feeling better sooner than you think
Learn More About Heart Health:
6 Amazing Benefits of Avocado Oil
DHA Health Benefits & Best Food Sources of DHA (including vegan options)
Hi there! Thank you for reaching out to Gundry MD, Dr. Gundry’s health and supplement line. Unfortunately, we cannot speak on behalf of the doctor himself nor give any medical advice. We strongly urge you to consult with your primary care physician for any health-related concerns. Thank you!
I have a familial high cholesterol. Can this be lowered by following Dr. Gundry’s advice and without taking statins? Thank you!