One of the things the liver does is to make cholesterol, which the body uses to keep the cell walls malleable. Cholesterol is also a key component in the production of hormones. It’s transported to the areas of the body where it’s needed most by lipoproteins, but some lipoproteins have low density and can’t move the cholesterol as efficiently. This leads to plaque buildup on the blood vessel walls throughout the body. In turn, that plaque buildup raises the risks of stroke, heart attack, clogged arteries, and kidney failure. Here are a few ways to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol in your body.
Cook With Monounsaturated Fats
Cooking oils that are comprised of monounsaturated fats will benefit your body in two ways by reducing the amount of LDL cholesterol in your body and increasing your HDL cholesterol levels. Researchers believe these benefits are the result of the way monounsaturated fats prevent or inhibit the oxidation of lipoproteins. The oxidation process contributes to the formation of plaque in the arteries as low-density lipoproteins get pushed through the blood vessels. In preventing this process, HDL or high-density lipoproteins are increased in the blood supply. You can benefit from this process by using polyunsaturated fats in preparing meals, such as canola oil and olive oil.
Eat Foods Rich in Soluble Fiber
Soluble fiber is a natural fiber that can be dissolved in water, but it cannot be digested by the human body. As a result, the soluble fiber you consume is delivered to your large intestines where it can be used as nourishment by the helpful bacteria that live in your gut microbiome. These bacteria, also known as probiotics, combat the presence of harmful lipoproteins before they can produce LDL cholesterol in the blood supply. As a result, people who eat a regular supply of foods with soluble fiber can extend their lives by up to 17 years. Great sources of soluble fiber include peas, beans, fruit, and whole grains.
Monitor Your Sodium Intake
If you have been diagnosed with hypertension or high blood pressure, your doctor may advise you to watch your sodium intake. However, recent research has found that a reduction in sodium levels can increase your risks for high LDL cholesterol. Instead of trying to completely eliminate your consumption of sodium, you should reduce your use of added salt and use a healthy salt alternative whenever possible. The study found that people with insufficient sodium levels had a 2.5% rise in plasma cholesterol and a 7% increase in plasma triglyceride levels. By looking at the sodium content in the foods you eat, you can better regulate how much sodium you consume on a daily basis.
Get More Exercise
A recent study involved 20 overweight women with high levels of LDL cholesterol. The research team involved the women in an exercise program that included both cardio and resistance training for a period of 12 weeks. At the end of the study, the women’s cholesterol levels were examined, and the researchers found that oxidized LDL levels were significantly reduced. Research has also found that going for a moderately-paced walk can increase your HDL levels and reduce LDL levels. By increasing the intensity of your walk, or by adopting a high-intensity workout routine, those positive effects will be maximized. While you should consult your doctor before changing or adding physical activity to your lifestyle, getting more exercise will benefit your cholesterol levels.
If you are a smoker, your doctor has probably advised you to quit many times in the past. Doctors have good reasons for recommending that people quit smoking aside from the increased risks for cancer that smoking causes. The tar in cigarette smoke attacks the immune cells in your body, which makes it harder for them to push LDL cholesterol from your blood vessel walls. This process is necessary to return the cholesterol to your liver for processing. As a result, plaque in the blood vessel walls builds up faster in smokers. This process also inhibits the formation of HDL cholesterol. Fortunately, these adverse effects are reversed in people who give up smoking.
You should also consult your doctor about your concern over LDL cholesterol. Your physician will be familiar with your medical history and may offer other suggestions for keeping your cholesterol under control. You can use your doctor’s guidance to safely monitor and regulate your cholesterol levels.