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Complete Guide: How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally

Complete Guide: How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally

Cholesterol is probably one of the most controversial and misunderstood components of overall health, and there are many simple ways to lower cholesterol that you may not be aware of. You may also have many questions about which foods are best for lower cholesterol numbers. For example, do we need any dietary cholesterol at all? Should we be concerned about high cholesterol or just certain types of cholesterol? What does cholesterol even do in the human body? Here’s some basic information as well as practical advice you can incorporate today in order to lower your cholesterol levels naturally.

First of all, what is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a necessary part of the human body’s daily processes. Cholesterol refers to a waxy substance that can be formed by our body that our bodies are designed to produce, although dietary cholesterol can be consumed in our diet from animal sources (such as chicken, eggs, fish, meat, etc.) or processed foods that contain cholesterol. Unlike other types of fat, cholesterol can’t be burned off or exercised away. It tends to “stick around” which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what type of cholesterol your body makes more of.

Types of Cholesterol and What Each One Means

The Center for Disease Control states that over 73.5 million adults have high LDL cholesterol. Of the two types of cholesterol (LDL and HDL), LDL is the detrimental type. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. Don’t let those words confuse you; the term lipoprotein can be defined as fat attached to protein. Lipoproteins are like water-soluble bubbles that the body forms to transport cholesterol to various tissues. LDL cholesterol is the type of cholesterol that is linked to heart disease and often associated with the intake of too much dietary cholesterol. HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein, and HDL is what is often referred to as good cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is the type of cholesterol that can actually help lower LDL cholesterol in the body and is even used to produce sex hormones in the body.

How Diet Plays a Role in Cholesterol

Our body is designed to produce its own necessary levels of cholesterol that we need to function and thrive meaning it’s not necessary to worry about getting enough dietary cholesterol. Animal sources of food and processed foods are the only sources of dietary cholesterol; plant foods have no cholesterol by nature. However, too much animal protein and processed food intake have been associated with high cholesterol levels, so it’s smart to educate yourself about what sources of animal-based foods you should eat and which ones you should avoid. It’s even more important to focus on your overall diet so you can include plenty of heart-healthy superfoods that naturally combat high cholesterol and support overall health.

Superfoods that Fight High Cholesterol

These foods are packed with antioxidants and cholesterol-lowering properties. Some of them also contain healthy fats that can actually help your body produce more HDL cholesterol and less LDL cholesterol.

1. Oats

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Complete Guide: How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally

    Rolled oats and steel cut oats are two of the most heart-healthy grains you can eat if you’re looking for high-quality carbohydrates that won’t spike your blood sugar levels. Oats have consistently been linked to lowering LDL cholesterol levels in the body thanks to their beta-glucan fibers which help draw cholesterol out of the bloodstream and excrete it for healthy artery function.

    Prepare your oats warm with some berries and walnuts, or feel free to enjoy them as overnight oats by mixing dry oats with chia seeds, flax seeds, berries, and some almond milk. Let overnight oats sit in the fridge overnight, and in the morning you have a chilled, filling breakfast all ready to go!

    2. Blueberries

    Complete Guide: How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally

      Blueberries help fight free radicals in the body and support arterial function. They can help clear the blood of fatty tissues and also help support the entire heart. Include 1/2 cup of blueberries anywhere in your day, and feel free to mix them with other berries you might enjoy such as blackberries, raspberries, or strawberries.

      3. Pastured Eggs

      Complete Guide: How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally

        Eggs can be a great source of healthy fats, but it’s important to choose high-quality eggs whenever you can. All eggs offer HDL dietary cholesterol that can help lower LDL levels, are a complete source of protein, and can be an incredibly nutritious food. Just keep in mind that pastured eggs offer the benefit of coming from hens who are allowed to feed off natural pastures instead of processed feed. Hens (and other animals) who feed off pasture are often healthier than those given processed feed. Hens who are pastured also produce eggs with a brighter, golden-yellow yolk indicating that the egg is higher in nutrients like choline and omega-3 fats.

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        Individuals with heart conditions should check with their doctor or medical provider before consuming any sources of dietary cholesterol, including eggs. Eggs make a great breakfast, snack, or part of a vegetarian dinner. They can be prepared various ways from hard-boiled to soft-boiled, scrambled, or even baked into muffin cups. These options are also healthier than eggs fried with high amounts of butter or oil.

        4. Spinach and Kale

        Complete Guide: How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally

          Leafy greens like kale and spinach offer high amounts of antioxidants such as lutein that improve heart health and may contribute to better cholesterol levels. Leafy greens are also good sources of fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, and vitamin E that the body needs. Spinach and kale can be used in any meal such as an omelet, a smoothie, as a bed for salads, stirred into soups, or they can be braised and steamed for a healthy side at dinner. Season your greens with herbs and spices instead of high amounts of oil or high-fat sauces for a heart-healthy approach.

          5. Lean Fish

          Complete Guide: How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally

            Fish can be an excellent source of omega-3 fats to help lower LDL and improve HDL levels in the body, but it’s important to choose lean fish whenever possible or those with high-quality omega-3 fats like salmon. It’s also important to consider sourcing wild fish whenever possible since farmed fish are often contaminated and high in environmental pollutants. Look for lean, white fish and wild Alaskan salmon. Halibut, tilapia, skipjack tuna, mahi mahi, cod, and haddock are all examples of lean white fish. Albacore tuna is also a good source but higher in mercury than skipjack tuna.

            6. Avocado

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            Complete Guide: How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally

              Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fats which are a type of fat that improves HDL levels and lowers LDL levels in the body. Consume 1/4 an avocado to 1/3 avocado once every few days in order to reap the benefits of this fiber-rich fatty fruit. Avocado can be used in place of mayo on sandwiches, can be used to make a homemade dressing, can be added to salads and smoothies, and makes a nice creamy base for tuna salad in place of mayo.

              7. Legumes

              Complete Guide: How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally

                Lentils, beans, and peas offer high amounts of slow-digesting fibers that improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels in the body. Legumes are also free of dietary fat and contain natural sources of iron, B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium. Make a hearty lentil soup, use beans in your salads, or try swapping split peas or chickpeas in for various soups instead of meat once and awhile. This is a great way to not only improve your heart health but also your budget too!

                8. Raw Cacao, Dark Chocolate and Cocoa

                Complete Guide: How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally

                  Raw cacao, a high-quality dark chocolate, and plain cocoa powder are excellent sources of both fiber and antioxidants. Raw cacao or dark chocolate with at least 90 percent cacao levels even offers a nice dose of monounsaturated fats that lower LDL cholesterol and improve HDL cholesterol levels when consumed in small amounts each day (about an ounce). Cocoa powder is low in fat but still have in fiber and antioxidants that may improve cholesterol levels. It makes a great addition to smoothies, can be used in baked goods in place of (or in addition to) flour, and can even be stirred into yogurt and oatmeal!

                  9. Almonds and Walnuts

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                  Complete Guide: How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally

                    Though nuts aren’t required for a healthy heart, they can make for a great snack option in place of chips and processed sweets. Most nuts offer high amounts of beneficial fats, but almonds and walnuts contain special benefits that make them especially great for cholesterol levels. Almonds are high in fiber, protein, and monounsaturated fats, and they’re overall lower in fat per serving than most other types of nuts. Walnuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. Six walnuts or 21 almonds (one ounce) is the perfect serving size of each nut, and they can be used in oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, or eaten as a heart-healthy snack. Do your best to consume raw and unsalted nuts when possible to avoid high amounts of sodium or added oils used in roasted nuts.

                    More Tips to Fight High Cholesterol

                    Diet is important, but it’s also vital to manage daily stress, get at least 7-8 hours sleep each night, and live an overall healthy lifestyle in order to lower your cholesterol. Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol are also important. Remember that all fruits and vegetables are a part of a heart-healthy routine, so incorporate as many of them as you can for better cholesterol levels and to decrease your risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and other conditions that affect your heart health.

                    When it comes to your meals, focus on adding in more greens, fruits, and vegetables into each one, and give special consideration to incorporating the nine superfoods above to improve your cholesterol levels even further. It’s also smart to avoid high-fat meats (especially red meat), dark meat chicken and turkey, and high amounts of butter and processed oils (like soy and vegetable oil).

                    For more ideas on how to lower cholesterol, see these five meal plans for some tasty ideas! 

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                    Last Updated on August 7, 2020

                    6 Best Fat Burning Exercises You Can Do at Home

                    6 Best Fat Burning Exercises You Can Do at Home

                    Gyms all over the world are re-opening, yet most people are put off by the various restrictions, risks, and the realization of not having so much time to dedicate to exercise anymore. Covid-19 has started a revolution within the fitness industry, and the new trend is all about at-home training. If you’re going to follow this trend, you’ll need to know some of the best fat burning exercises you can do at home.

                    Many busy people around the world don’t want to spend hours commuting and queueing outside of gyms, but the desire for a flat stomach is stronger than ever now that the summer season has finally peaked. If you want to maximize the little time you have to exercise from your living room, check out these fat burning exercises.

                    The best workouts are always going to be those that consist of moves that engage multiple large muscle groups. You can easily take a simple, conventional toning move and turn it into something more efficient that gives you the most bang for your buck.

                    While it takes a lot of different kinds of training to reach well-rounded fitness (strength training, cardio, stretching, etc.), total body strength training and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) are best for burning off body fat quickly.

                    Apply this concept to the exercises that make up your routines, and they become dynamic, fat-burning workouts. Here are the best examples of exercises that consume a lot of energy and don’t require any equipment.

                    1. Burpees

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                      No cardio compilation would be complete without burpees. They challenge every part of your body and send your heart rate soaring in no time. All this adds up to an exercise that burns about 10 calories per minute[1].

                      Assuming you’re doing between 10 and 20 repetitions every minute, this is one of the best fat burning exercises out there. You can torch even more calories by upping the pace. Just make sure you don’t let your form suffer!

                      2. Jumping Lunges

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                        If you thought basic lunges were hard, you’ve never tried jump lunges before. This plyometric exercise strengthens all the same muscles, but it’ll also get your heart pounding in no time.

                        To get started, simply lunge forward on your left leg as you bring your right arm forward and left arm back, elbows bent at 90-degree angles. From the lunge, jump straight into the air as you switch your arm and leg positions, then land with the opposite arm and leg in front. You’ll burn about 12 calories per minute, so you can really get a good workout in a short amount of time.

                        3. Jumping Squats

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                          Like with jump lunges, jump squats add a cardio element to a basic strengthening move. You’ll perform a bodyweight squat with your arms straight out in front of you, or bent with your hands behind your ears. At the bottom of the squat, jump as high as you can, land with your knees slightly bent, then immediately sink into your next squat.

                          4. Push-ups

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                            Push-ups are a total body exercise that are easily modified and can be made to be very challenging, even for the most avid exerciser. To make pushups easier, elevate your hands on a bench, counter-top, or against a wall.

                            To make push-ups more difficult, elevate your feet. The higher the angle (with your hands on the ground), the more of your bodyweight you support. Also, you can increase the range of motion by elevating your hands on books, push up handles, or something similar.

                            5. Mountain Climbers

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                              Mountain climbers might win the award for most travel-friendly exercise because they require no equipment and take up hardly any space. On the flip side, they also deserve some recognition for being super challenging.

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                              A 150-pound person can expect to burn around 30 calories after three sets of 40 repetitions. You can easily incorporate any of these other moves to create a full workout, or simply go for as many sets as you can.

                              6. Jumping Jacks

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                                That’s right. This old-school warm-up is an effective form of cardio. The primary benefit of doing jumping jacks is that it elevates your heart rate. You breathe more deeply while jumping, which delivers oxygen to your bloodstream and ultimately to your muscles.

                                In addition, you will also shake your lymphatic system and burn fat at a rapid rate[2], promoting weight loss. Extra tip: Do as many jumping jacks as possible for 10 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then repeat the same routine for 20 seconds and 30 seconds.

                                What to Do With These Exercises

                                Each one of the above-mentioned moves has the potential of consuming a lot of calories on its own. Pairing them or combining them can be an excellent way of creating a time-effective, fat-melting home workout. I have been coaching busy executives, moms, and dads for over a decade, and finding time-effective hotel room workouts has always been a skill of mine. In my experience with extremely busy clients all over the world, three types of routine give the best bang-for-buck results while also improving the rate of compliance (it’s useless to have the best routine if you don’t practice it).

                                Let’s explore a few examples:

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                                Daily Walks

                                This is the home fat burning protocol baseline. It’s important to realize that no exercise routine will help you lose weight if you don’t make a point of getting your 10,000 daily steps.

                                If you’re able to be out and about, aim to get 10,000 steps per day. Walking serves as a great way to clear your head, manage stress, and keep fat gain to a minimum.

                                This may not sound like a big deal, but getting around 10,000 steps per day may burn as many as 500 calories[3]. Taken over the week, that’s 3500 calories, or the same number of calories in a pound of fat.

                                Walk in the morning. Walk while doing meetings on the phone. Walk after meals. Walk while you listen to podcasts. Walking time doesn’t need to be dead time.

                                Bonus: When you go for your walks, press your tongue against the roof of your mouth and breathe through your nose. Nasal breathing has a ton of benefits including:

                                • Better oxygen extraction, which can lead to more energy.
                                • Maintain a balanced pH in your body.
                                • Deep nasal breathing may decrease nerve activity in the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response).
                                • Increase Nitric oxide, which can improve the flow of nutrients into your body, improve waste disposal, and regulate blood pressure.
                                • Regulate workout intensity.
                                • Mouth breathing accelerates water loss, which can accelerate dehydration.

                                The Intermittent Training Protocol

                                This protocol should be the base of your exercise program, and it takes virtually no time. Do this every day:

                                Pick one of the above-mentioned exercises and perform it with perfect form, as fast as you can, for 30′ seconds, totally cold. If you have stiff joints or previous injuries, scale down the jumping version of the exercise with the static one (example: switch jumping squats with regular squats).

                                Repeat this 2-3 times a day, every day.

                                In his book, The Immunity Code, Joel Greene explains how quickly performing an exercise totally cold and at a totally random time of the day will prime your body to learn that particular movement pattern, improving strength, metabolic rate (therefore fat loss), and joint health.

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                                The secret of maintaining a young body may as well be being able to sprint from zero to hero or squat as fast as you can without a second notice (as our ancestors might have been doing their whole life).

                                This intermittent training protocol takes virtually no time and has an insane cumulative effect. Think about it: 30 squats, three times a day, for seven days is 30 x 3 x 7 = 630 squats that likely equal 1000 calories burned and virtually zero time consumed. A great idea is to do your chosen exercise each time you hit the toilet in order not to forget about it.

                                The 20-minute Hotel Room HIIT Workout

                                Here, the game gets tough. If you can cut 20 minutes, one to four times per week, you’re up for a sweaty, fat burning blast. Do this:

                                Pick 4 of the above-mentioned exercises, and do them as fast as you can for 60 seconds, then rest for 2 minutes.

                                Example of a lower body + core day:

                                • 1′ jumping jacks, rest 10”
                                • 1′ jump squats, rest 10”
                                • 1′ jump lunges, rest 10”
                                • 1′ jountain climbers, rest 2′
                                • Repeat 3-4 times

                                Example of an upper body + core day:

                                • 1′ jumping jacks arms, fully extended, rest 10”
                                • 1′ press-ups, rest 10”
                                • 1′ burpees, rest 10”
                                • 1′ mountain climbers, rest 2′
                                • Repeat 3-4 times

                                Final Thoughts

                                Over my 10+ years of experience as a trainer coaching TV celebrities, executives, CEOs, and a ton of average people looking for a great workout, I’ve learned that the only way to help people maintain a fitness routine is to create a fitness regime that can improve people’s lives rather than consume it.

                                Going to the gym is great, but it’s a time-consuming activity, and it’s rarely a necessary one if your goal is to be lean, young, healthy, and energetic. Over the past four months, I’ve been helping thousands of people to get fit from home, for free, in my private Busy Yet Fit Community by streaming my live home workouts every single day. Feel free to join and learn more about at-home routines that suit all levels of fitness.

                                More on the Best Fat Burning Exercises

                                Featured photo credit: Pavigym Prama via unsplash.com

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