Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of clients with high cholesterol. This is becoming more and more common. This has prompted me to write this blog post today, so I can help educate anyone who’s been struggling with high cholesterol.
There is SO MUCH that can be done through simple diet and lifestyle changes. I’ve seen many clients come off their medication (with my help alongside support from their GP) and are now aware of how to manage their cholesterol naturally. I hope this post helps anyone else who has high cholesterol levels understand a little bit more about how you too can stay off medications and maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
When it comes to high cholesterol, working on the liver and diet are the best place to start. Family history does play a role too, some people are more predisposed to having high cholesterol, but there is lots you can do to help manage it and reduce it.
Diet is absolutely key to help manage cholesterol, and also for protecting your body from the potential risks of high LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). Cholesterol itself isn’t bad in a sense, it’s more its potential to do bad if there is a lot of inflammation present in the body.
Key dietary advice which may help to lower cholesterol naturally.
Follow an anti-inflammatory diet. This can help protect the body from the potentially damaging effects of high LDL. An anti-inflammatory diet includes nutrient-dense plant foods, and avoids processed and refined foods and meats. Plant-based doesn’t have to mean no meat. My version of plant-based means 70-80% of your diet should come from plant sources (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans) and 20-30% can come from organic and/or free-range meat (if not vegetarian or vegan).
Reduce saturated fats and transfats. Transfats are artificial fats often found in processed foods, for example crackers and potato chips. Saturated fats are found in meat and dairy products. When eating meat it’s best to only eat lean cuts of meat such as chicken or turkey.
You also need to ensure you eat LOTS of fibre! Both soluble and insoluble fibre have been shown to help reduce cholesterol. Some excellent high fibre foods which may help lower cholesterol are oats, chia seeds, whole flaxseeds, brown rice, quinoa. Upping fibre intake can also be achieved by increasing dietary intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. I like my clients eating 6 servings of vegetables per day (one serving is the size of a closed fist), not only does this increase fibre it also increases intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Omega 3 oils have cholesterol lowering capability. Oily fish, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flaxseed oils are good sources of omega 3, so be sure to include lots of these in your diet. Supplementation with a good quality (non-rancid) fish oil can be very beneficial.
Garlic is another well-researched cholesterol-lowering food. It’s been said to raise HDL (the “good cholesterol”) and lower LDL and triglycerides. Garlic also inhibits the processes which causes atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis. Use garlic in lots of your meals and add an extra clove for good luck!
Antioxidant foods are really important to protect your blood vessels from damage and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease due to high cholesterol. Antioxidant rich foods include colourful fruits and vegetables (beetroot, purple cabbage, berries, mango, carrot, dark leafy greens, pumpkin) along with green tea.
Support Your Liver
Supporting your liver is vital when it comes to lowering cholesterol, an important function of the liver is to produce and clear cholesterol in the body. The liver also filters the blood (over 1.4 litres per minute) and has over 300 jobs to do every single day. This means all the good nutrients as well as the impurities and toxins we have ingested or breathed in end up there. The liver is one of the cornerstones to our physical and mental vitality and like any filter, it can become overworked and blocked with impurities. Click here to find out some liver loving food.
Maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise is also very important.
If high cholesterol is something you’ve been struggling with I’d love to work with you. Get in touch with me or book a consultation today and let’s get your cholesterol under control with simple diet and lifestyle changes that are realistic and manageable.