7 Practical Tips How to Lower LDL Cholesterol Fast
Those wondering how to lower LDL cholesterol are not alone. Millions of people struggle with higher than normal LDL (low density lipoprotein) numbers, high triglycerides and often, low HDL (high density lipoprotein or, “good cholesterol”) numbers. In terms of methods to lower cholesterol fast, medications are almost always the first course of action. Drugs like statins and non-statins are the go to treatment to lower cholesterol fast in people who suffer from elevated levels of LDL. But, while the effects of these high cholesterol medications cannot be debated, a percentage of people (up to 25% percent of them) give them up months following the onset of treatment. This may be because they are simply looking for another answer to how to lower LDl cholesterol, or it could be because of the side effects associated with cholesterol medications, such as frequent muscle spasms.
But, when medications become impractical, LDL cholesterol still needs to be lowered. This is because elevated levels can dramatically increase the risk for coronary disease. LDL cholesterol is a precursor to atherosclerosis, and causes its internal destruction by affixing itself to the walls of the blood vessels, according to WebMD. Sometimes, this process can start as early as childhood. Sometimes, our own bodies help this process along, making figuring out how to lower LDL cholesterol even more important. WebMD explains that our own white blood cells may begin the process of building arterial plaques within the body. When our white blood cells try to protect blood vessels by eating LDL cholesterol, a reaction occurs that renders the LDL into a much more ominous and toxic form. Other white blood cells respond and head to the area, which can create inflammation. In this volatile area of the vessel, more LDL cholesterol can accumulate, along with cells which can lead to the formation of a plaque. In turn, this plaque grows and can lead to arterial blockages.
Thankfully, aside from medications, there are ways to lower cholesterol naturally to help slow the progression of bad cholesterol mayhem within the body and reduce the overall risk of heart related diseases later in life. Practical approaches can be used alongside medications as well, adding extra oomph to achieving the goal of how to lower LDL cholesterol. We compiled seven common sense and easy to apply approaches that can help you figure out how reduce cholesterol naturally by changing your diet, lifestyle and habits. However, always remember that elevated LDL cholesterol levels require monitoring by a health care provider. And, any changes to diet, activity level or the consideration of supplements should be discussed with him or her before proceeding especially if medications are being used, to reduce the risk of serious drug interactions.
1. Gobble up Grapefruit: It is so simple, it is so delicious. There are a great many foods that can help to drop LDL levels, but grapefruit is a very impressive option for numerous reasons. Aside from its ability to potentially reduce LDL cholesterol by up to ten percent, it can also reduce blood pressure by as many as five points. Those arterial clogs we discussed above? Grapefruit can help with those two, as studies have shown that the fruit can reduce the amount of blockages in the arteries by up to 46%.
2. Expect to Exercise: One simply cannot expect to see a marked reduction in bad cholesterol levels without getting up and moving around a little. In fact, rapid results have been obtained by individuals who exercised regularly over a 12 week period, with their LDL cholesterol numbers dropping, HDL numbers increasing and triglycerides decreasing too. An unintended bonus to exercising? It can lead to weight loss which can also reduce the risk of coronary illnesses.
3. Put Down the Cancer Stick: Wondering how to lower LDL cholesterol while puffing away on a cigarette? It is time to put it down. Smoking can contribute to cholesterol levels negatively and may also make adding in physical activity more difficult. The positive effects of quitting smoking can be noticeable in as little as 24 hours after taking your last hit. Over time, the body can repair itself in numerous ways, including yielding positive effects on cholesterol levels.
4. Filter Your Fats: Diet plays an important role in cholesterol maintenance (and, we will get to that topic later in our list). However, specific to diet and intake is the role fats play in raising LDL levels. Trans fats, for instance, can almost instantly raise the level of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream (and, they also decrease HDL levels too). Trans-fats can be easily identified on packaging by looking for the words “hydrogenated” or, “partially hydrogenated” on the label. Not only is skipping trans-fats an answer to how to lower LDL cholesterol, it is also an important way to keep a high LDL number from getting worse.
5. Select The Right Supplement: There are many supplements that are purported to rapidly reduce LDL levels. Unfortunately, since testing and regulation of supplements is so different from medications, there is little evidence or research available to help consumers figure out which ones are and are not effective. Promising supplements like artichoke extract and barley extract may in fact be effective but, also may not be. While this may be disappointing for those trying to figure out how to lower LDL cholesterol, it may be worthwhile to know that there are some supplements that have shown promise in their effectiveness in the reduction of LDL, such as plant sterols supplements.
6. Do Not Skip Meals: Wondering how to lower LDL cholesterol fast when you are taking all the right steps and do not seem to be getting anywhere? It may have to do with how often you are eating. Prevention.com explains that several small meals each day as opposed to one or two large ones yielded a 5 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol in a recent study.
7. Defer to Your Diet: The single most common, easy and effective way to manage high cholesterol is likely dietary changes. While we have discussed some of them here, there are many more to consider for the maintenance of high cholesterol. Adding in common sense items like almonds and oatmeal are well known. However, other foods are becoming more predominant in cholesterol maintenance, like decadent dark chocolate, cranberry juice, and leafy greens like spinach. Even tomatoes and avocados have a place among foods that fight high cholesterol and they should be added in to diets to lower cholesterol for their healthful benefits.