What to Eat/Do to Lower LDL Cholesterol Quickly

cholesterol-dairyPoor cholesterol – it’s doomed to be misunderstood. The fact is, cholesterol is necessary to make cell membranes and even hormones. Your body produces cholesterol. Your diet also contributes but it’s not so much the cholesterol you eat as the saturated fat in your diet that raises your levels. Even more confusing, some cholesterol is “bad” (LDL attacks arteries and contributes to plaque buildup), while some is “good” (HDL escorts the bad stuff out of the body). Only about half of people who have heart attacks have high cholesterol, but it’s still important to keep your levels healthy. For every 1-point drop in LDL, heart attack risk falls by 2 percent; every 1-point rise in HDL reduces your risk of a fatal heart attack by 3 percent. For most people, a high-fat diet plus a sedentary lifestyle combine to raise levels of “bad” LDL and decrease “good” HDL. Cholesterol levels also rise with age. Your genes play a role, too: A few people inherit a genetic mutation that raises total cholesterol sky-high (over 600 mg/dl).

Symptoms – Usually none, if you have inherited familial hypercholesterolemia, you may develop small, bumpy cholesterol deposits on your elbows, knees, and buttocks. It you have them, have your cholesterol checked right away; diet and exercise can help, but it’s likely you’ll need medications to bring levels down to normal.

How to Lower LDL Cholesterol Easily and Quickly

cholesterolLow-density lipoprotein (commonly called LDL) is measured in milligrams per deciliter, and the ideal level for human beings is under 100 mdl. Based on the findings of the American Heart Association, tracking LDL cholesterol is the single best way to gauge your risk of heart attacks and strokes — much more telling than total cholesterol levels. If you have high LDL cholesterol and you want to bring it down quickly, there are several changes you can make. Avoiding risk factors like smoking is important, as is getting plenty of exercise. Adding a few very helpful foods to your diet can also make a big difference.

1. Get More Fiber

Surprisingly, a diet that’s high in soluble fiber is one of the best tools for bringing down LDL cholesterol. Dietary fiber binds with cholesterol and moves it all the way through your digestive system without giving your body a chance to absorb it.

Foods that are rich in soluble fiber are whole grains like barley and oats. Some fruits provide pectin, a specific type of fiber that has further LDL-busting properties. Examples of beneficial fruits include apples, strawberries, grapes, and citrus.

2. Garlic And Fatty Fish

Substituting fatty fish (e.g. sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon, and albacore tuna) for red meat in two or three meals every week can help bring down your LDL and triglyceride levels dramatically. Fish also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for promoting overall heart health.

Garlic has a unique property that deserves special interest: It stops LDL cholesterol from oxidizing. It was confirmed in an article from the Journal of Nutrition that it is oxidized LDL rather than raw LDL that poses a threat to your heart and circulatory system. This is why taking garlic supplements regularly can hold off atherosclerosis. By reducing the level of LDL oxidation occurring in the body, you can prevent the buildup of plaque which hardens the arteries.