Cholesterol is naturally produced by the liver, and it is essential for the production of hormones such as cortisol, corticosterone, aldosterone, androgens and estrogens. It also helps to metabolize fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K, and helps to build strong cell membranes.
It is absolutely essential for good health, but excess amounts in the body can lead to serious health problems. You can reduce high cholesterol naturally, but to prevent high cholesterol from occurring in the first place is a better choice.
Eat a Healthy Diet
The best and most effective way for you to avoid high cholesterol is to eat a healthy diet. Practice chewing your foods thoroughly, and eat slow so that your body can have time to let your mind know when you are full. Never overeat, as overeating can cause your triglyceride levels to rise, which in turn can contribute to high cholesterol levels.
Here are a few things to consider:
Eliminate Unhealthy Fats. The best thing that you can do for your health is to eliminate unhealthy fats from your diet. These are saturated and trans-fats, and they primarily come from meats, dairy and eggs, as well as many vegetable oils, and many junk foods. Therefore by eliminating them, or at least reducing them will help to prevent high cholesterol.
Plant-based Foods. The next best thing that you can do for yourself is to include a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds in your diet.
Plant-based foods contain plant sterols and plant stanols, which help to prevent cholesterol from being absorbed. They work similarly the same way that a lot of cholesterol medications work, only they do not have any side effects.
A lot of plant-based foods also contain niacin, which is a B vitamin that is often used in large dosages to help lower high cholesterol. Therefore by eating foods that contain niacin you can naturally prevent high cholesterol from occurring.
Furthermore, plant-based foods are high in fat soluble fiber which helps to absorb excess cholesterol in the digestive system.
Healthy fats such as omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are present in many nuts and seeds as well as in avocados and coconuts. These fats have been shown to dramatically reduce high cholesterol, and thus by making them a part of your diet, they can help to prevent it.
Maintain a Healthy Blood Pressure
Reduce the amount of caffeine and sodium in your diet, as they can both contribute to high blood pressure. Increasing potassium, calcium and magnesium rich foods can also help to lower the pressure.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese is directly linked to high cholesterol levels. Thus losing extra weight, and maintaining it at a healthy level can help to reduce the risks of high cholesterol.
Avoid cigarettes and second hand smoke whenever possible, as they have been shown to interfere with cholesterol levels.
Avoid or Reduce Alcohol
Excess amounts of alcohol can also contribute to high cholesterol levels by raising the triglycerides, which in turn contributes to high cholesterol.
Exercise is very important in helping to prevent high cholesterol levels, especially for those who have an office job. 20 to 30 minutes 3 to 4 times per week will provide you with many health benefits.
Stress by itself does not directly affect cholesterol levels. However, prolonged periods of stress can cause bad habits to form such as eating junk foods, overeating, not exercising, or turning to alcohol or cigarettes. All of those have negative effects on the cholesterol levels.