According to the CDC, over 28 million Americans have total cholesterol levels over 240 mg/dL (defined as “high”), and up to 94 million could benefit from cholesterol-lowering medications or lifestyle changes.
High cholesterol is a leading cause of heart disease, one of the biggest killers in the United States, and while statins are an effective treatment, they can also cause a number of side effects and aren’t recommended for everyone.
The natural treatments in this list are all known to reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL), thus lowering the risk of heart disease. Some are more effective than others, but all are natural, free of side effects, and easy to incorporate.
If you have high cholesterol, consider making some of these simple changes to reduce your LDL cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease.
Oatmeal is the breakfast food of choice for millions of Americans, and for many of us, it’s one of the best things we’ll eat all day.
Oats are rich in a soluble fiber known as β-glucan, which helps to reduce the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream.
If oatmeal is not your thing, don’t worry, as there are other ways to get oats into your diet. Sprinkle some oats into a smoothie or on a salad. Eat a spoonful or two with Greek yogurt and some fruit. You can also make some low-sugar and low-fat oat bars.
Or just be a little more creative with your oatmeal. If it’s plain, flavorless, and devoid of color, it’s no wonder you don’t like it! Add some honey and fruit. Try a sprinkle of cinnamon, some roasted apples, or opt for overnight oats instead.
Ground flaxseeds are another wholesome and healthy food that is easy to add to your diet.
These nutritional powerhouses are packed with healthy fats (including omega-3), fiber, antioxidants, and protein. Studies show that adding flaxseeds to your diet can help to reduce LDL cholesterol and improve your overall heart health.
Flaxseeds also contain numerous essential vitamins and minerals, including thiamine, copper, and magnesium.
Just like oats, ground flaxseeds are cheap, widely available, and can be consumed with a number of foods. You can even scatter some ground flax onto your oatmeal to create the ultimate heart-healthy breakfast dish.
The Institute of Medicine recommends consuming between 19 and 38 grams of fiber a day, but just 5% of Americans reach this goal, with many eating fewer than 15 grams. Fiber—and soluble fiber in particular—plays a huge role in reducing LDL cholesterol and also maintains optimal gut health.
Beans, lentils, and legumes are some of the best foods for meeting these targets. A single cup of haricot (navy) beans contains 19 grams while split peas, pinto beans, lentils, cranberry beans, and black beans all contain 15 grams or more per cup.
Two cups of these beans throughout the day is more than enough to meet your fiber needs and reap those heart-health and gut-health benefits.
Black cumin seeds have been hailed as a panacea. Also known as nigella seeds, their popularity has taken off in the last few years as many studies have highlighted their potential health benefits.
Black cumin seeds are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds and may help to reduce total cholesterol and improve heart health. These seeds can be added to bread, baked treats, and curry dishes.
Citrus bergamot is a superfood in every sense of the word. It is a rare citrus fruit grown in southern Italy that has recently been the subject of many promising studies into heart health, blood sugar, and circulation.
It’s also the main ingredient in our health and wellbeing supplements, including Cholesterol Command. During a 120 clinical trial, the formulation used in Cholesterol Command resulted in a 16% reduction in total cholesterol, including 13% less LDL cholesterol and a 21% improvement in HDL cholesterol.
In combination with a balanced diet and heart-healthy lifestyle changes, citrus bergamot could lead to a massive improvement in cholesterol levels. It can also be used alongside—or in place of—statins for individuals who don’t tolerate these medications.