Combat High Cholesterol Naturally

While some situations become serious enough that medication is necessary in treating high cholesterol, most cases can be improved with simple lifestyle changes.

Medication can work quickly to drive “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins) way down, but the adverse side effects may not be worth it.

cholesterol
1. a waxy substance produced and released into the bloodstream by cells in the liver. The body uses cholesterol to form cell membranes, aid in digestion, convert vitamin D in the skin and develop hormones.

Good Versus Evil Not all cholesterol is bad. Because cholesterol can’t dissolve in the blood, it is transported through the bloodstream by carriers called lipoproteins. The two types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol to and from your cells are called low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

Your total cholesterol count is determined through a blood test and is made up of your LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and one-fifth of your triglyceride level.

HDL removes cholesterol from the bloodstream and artery walls, whereas LDL deposits cholesterol in the artery walls and starts the process of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

THE DOS AND DON’TS OF HEALTHY CHOLESTEROL

Do This…

  • Exercise: Physical activity not only helps you maintain a healthy weight, but also boosts HDL levels. At least 30 minutes a day of moderate cardio is recommended.
  • Eat Healthy Fats and Fiber: Olive oil, avocado and nuts are the fats you want because they don’t raise your LDL. Replace white breads and pastas with whole grains, and eat soluble fiber from foods like beans, oats, barley, fruits and vegetables.
  • Go Fishing: Cold-water fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel, herring and black cod provide heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Raise a Glass: Red wine raises levels of HDL. One or two 5-ounce glasses of wine per day can be good for you.
  • Chill Out: Emotional stress can tell the body to release fat into the bloodstream, thus elevating cholesterol levels. Try practicing breathing exercises, yoga, meditation or acupuncture to counter stress.

Don’t Do This…

  • Carry Excess Weight: Even a small amount of weight loss can lower cholesterol levels.
  • Smoke: Smoking significantly lowers HDL cholesterol.
  • Eat High-Saturated Fats: Reduce or eliminate foods like cheese, whole milk and fatty red meats.
  • Indulge in Refined Carbs: Cut out the cookies, cakes, crackers, chips and sodas because they all worsen cholesterol levels and increase triglyceride levels.

Safety in Numbers

Total Cholesterol
Good: 200 mg/dL or lower
Borderline: 200 to 239 mg/dL
High: 240 mg/dL or higher
LDL
Good: 100 mg/dL or lower
Borderline: 130 to 159 mg/dL
High: 160 mg/dL or higher
HDL
Good: 40 mg/dL or higher
Low: 39 mg/dL or lower
Triglycerides
Good: 149 mg/dL or lower
Borderline: 150 to 199 mg/dL
High: 200 mg/dL or higher

Low-Cholesterol Chicken Sesame Noodles
Ingredients:

• 2 lean chicken breasts
• 1 pound whole-wheat spaghetti
• 1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons sesame oil
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 2 tablespoons lime juice
• 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
• 1 bunch scallions, sliced, divided
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
• 4 cups snow peas, trimmed and sliced on the bias
• 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
• 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds

Preparation:
• Cook chicken breasts on medium heat for 15 minutes. Cut into bite-sized pieces and set aside until adding to final mixture.
• Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook spaghetti until just tender, 9 to 11 minutes or according to package directions. Drain; rinse under cold water.
• Meanwhile, whisk soy sauce, sesame oil, canola oil, lime juice, crushed red pepper, 1/4 cup scallions and 2 tablespoons cilantro. Add chicken, noodles, snow peas and bell pepper; toss to coat.
• To serve, mix in sesame seeds and garnish with the remaining scallions and cilantro.
  Serve warm.