A few key changes in diet and lifestyle can help a person lower their cholesterol naturally with time. There is no instant fix, but some people may notice changes in a matter of weeks.
In some cases, a person may need medication to help lower their cholesterol or control other risk factors.
However, even if a person is taking medication, it is still important for them to make changes to help improve their cholesterol levels and reduce their risk of side effects.
A person looking to lower their cholesterol levels quickly can follow a few basic health principles.
These include getting regular exercise and focusing on a diet rich in plant foods and low in refined foods and some types of fats.
In the body, the liver makes cholesterol, which is a waxy substance. Cholesterol molecules circulate in the blood.
The liver makes all the cholesterol that the body needs, so a person does not need to consume cholesterol in their diet.
Cholesterol itself is not bad. Blood cholesterol plays an important role in helping build cells.
Other sources of cholesterol come from the diet. Dietary cholesterol is present only in foods derived from animals, such as meat and fat-rich dairy products.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source note that experts recommend eating as little dietary cholesterol as possible.
This is because adding more dietary sources of cholesterol adds more of this compound to the body and bloodstream, which increases a person’s cholesterol levels.
Measuring blood cholesterol levels
When measuring cholesterol levels, doctors will assess four markers in a person’s blood:
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: The “bad” cholesterol. A lower LDL number may be a good indicator of health and lower risk of disease.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: The beneficial cholesterol. Low HDL cholesterol may be a risk factor for other issues, and a higher HDL number may indicate health.
- Blood triglycerides: A common type of fat in the blood. Higher levels may mean that a person has an increased risk of some issues, especially when they also have other risk factors, such as low HDL cholesterol.
- Total cholesterol: This number takes into account the levels of blood triglycerides and LDL and HDL cholesterol.
Doctors will use all of these numbers within the context of a person’s overall health and other risk factors to determine their risk of heart disease and stroke.
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