Having high cholesterol can be life threatening, as it not only can lead to heart attacks, but it also increases your chances of suffering from a stroke. Neither of these are issues you want to deal with, which is why we have complied some tips for helping lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels to a normal level.
First, you’re going to want to shoot for a healthy level if LDL, which is generally considered to be 100 and below. However, we suggest shooting for even lower, say 80 and below. You really can’t go wrong with lowering your cholesterol as much as possible.
So, how can you do it?
Here are four dietary and lifestyle tips to help lower LDL levels.
1. Limit your intake of saturated fats, trans fats and dietary cholesterol. This means you’ll want to stay away from foods including butter, red meats with fatty flesh, full and low-fat dairy products, egg yolks and shellfish. However, you will want to still consumer omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, which have shown to help protect against heart disease.
2. Increase your intake of fiber-rich foods and choose plant-based proteins. Studies have proven that foods naturally rich in soluble fibers can help lower cholesterol, which is just what we want! So, go crazy (but not too crazy) with foods like oats, barley, sweet potatoes, black beans, pinto beans, carrots, beets, eggplant and berries. And instead of always reaching for meat, try substituting beans, legumes, nuts or seeds – they are just as protein-filled and filling.
3. Lose that excess weight. By losing excess weight, you will help lower your cholesterol along with decreasing your chances of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart attacks, just to name a few. In fact, if you take the advice of the tips above, this should help you - in combination with some exercise - to get rid of that extra weight you’ve been carrying around.
4. Increase the amount of arginine you consume. Whether you choose to take a supplement or increase your intake of the foods that contain the essential amino acid, increasing your arginine intake could also help lower your LDL levels.