The need to lower cholesterol arises because of the presence of excess cholesterol in blood serum can lead to a whole range of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. These diseases include high blood pressure, narrowing and hardening of arteries, heart disease, stroke, and paralysis.
These diseases spring up because the liver dumps excess cholesterol on the inner arterial walls. Later, these fatty deposits harden up to form a plaque, thus narrowing the arteries and obstruction blood flow to the heart and other organs. Other diseases can also result if the affected arteries normally supply blood to organs other than the heart and brain.
Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC)
The good news, however, is that it is possible to lower cholesterol simply by making some therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC) and following a healthy TLC diet. In fact, these measures are the first line of defense against hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol). If the TLC measures do not reduce your cholesterol level enough, then your doctor could prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins.
The most important lifestyle changes you must make to lower your cholesterol are:
- Reduce excess body weight
- Exercise regularly
- Follow the TLC diet
- Quit smoking
Excess Body Weight
Excess body weight because of obesity not only increases the overall cholesterol level but also reduces the protective HDL (high-density lipoproteins) cholesterol, making the problem of high cholesterol worse. HDL is responsible for the transport of excess cholesterol from the tissues and arteries back to the liver for break and disposal and there before some people call it the good cholesterol.
Regular physical activity, especially aerobics, plays a twofold role in lowering cholesterol. First, it decreases obesity; second, it increases the HDL level. In other words, fat loss causes a drop in the total cholesterol, and your body does a better job of lowering your cholesterol because of the higher HDL level. A moderate-intensity aerobic activity like walking, cycling, dancing or swimming for 30-40 minutes, 5 days a week is an effective way to lower cholesterol.
Your diet plays a direct role in keeping your cholesterol levels. The richer the diet is in cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fats, the higher will be the cholesterol levels. While the liver makes most of the cholesterol in your body, cholesterol that comes from the foods you eat does play an important role.
In fact, for many people, a diet rich in soluble fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, when combined with regular exercise, can just as effectively lower cholesterol as do statin drugs. You would normally get these healthy nutrients from like oats, walnuts, almonds, fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, cold-water fish, olive oil, peanut oil, and canola oil. On the other hand, this diet would exclude red meats, alcohol, fried foods, whole-cream dairy products, refined foods, and commercial bakery items.
Smoking and Cholesterol
Today, everyone knows smoking causes a whole range of deadly diseases affecting almost every organ of the body. Smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular diseases because of its role in hardening of the arteries and reducing HDL levels. So, quitting smoking will not only lower your cholesterol levels and raise the HDL level, it will also reduce the risk of getting other deadly diseases.
It is perhaps better to have several different avenues to lower cholesterol because high cholesterol could show up for different reasons in different people. So, you could, in addition, also resort to natural remedies like Guggul, Pantethine, Beta-Sitosterol, Policosanol, Curcumin, red yeast rice, and so on. You can get these supplements at health food stores at a lower price compared to prescription drugs.