High LDL cholesterol levels are the top contributor for heart disease. In fact, the higher your LDL cholesterol levels, the greater your chance of developing heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Every year, more than a million Americans have heart disease such as heart attack and stroke, and about a half of them die from the disease.
High blood cholesterol usually does not cause any symptoms, so people who already age 30 or older should have cholesterol levels checked at least once every 5 years to make sure that your cholesterol levels are at a normal range.
If you have high LDL cholesterol, you may take these simple steps to lower your cholesterol levels naturally and prevent the risk of developing heart disease.
- Eating a healthy diet
Eating foods that are high in fiber and low in saturated and trans-fats can help keep your LDL cholesterol levels under control. The foods include beans, fish, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats like olive oil.
- Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight tends to increase your cholesterol. Losing weight can help lower your LDL and total cholesterol levels, as well as raise your HDL.
- Losing Weight
Being overweight can raise your LDL cholesterol levels. And thus, losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol. Research has shown that losing even few pounds (5 lb to 10 lb) can significantly decrease you LDL levels.
- Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise can help maintain a healthy weight and lower LDL cholesterol. When you exercise, you tone up your whole body’s circulation, helping to clear away clots in the blood vessels and making the heart a stronger, more efficient pump. Experts recommend that adults should engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. If you can’t devote a full 30 minutes all at once, several shorter periods of physical activity throughout the day can add up to 30-minute recommendation. Aerobic exercises, like walking, running jogging, biking, and swimming, are especially helpful in lowering LDL cholesterol.
- Avoid smoking
While smoking does not directly increase your LDL cholesterol, but it can decreases your HDL cholesterol, which can indirectly cause a rise in LDL. Smoking can also speeds up the forming of plaque in the wall of arteries, which increase your chance of having heart disease.
If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your LDL cholesterol and prevent the risk of heart attack and stroke.