Why do you need to lower cholesterol fast?

For every 10% drop in your cholesterol level, your heart attack risk goes down by between 20% to 30%, according to studies. The news gets better. Most people can decrease cholesterol fast and without the need for drugs. Simple lifestyle strategies can be required but they can prove to be effective and quite powerful.

See: How long does it take to reduce cholesterol

How to lower cholesterol fast

How to reduce cholesterol in 30 days or less?

Having high cholesterol levels is not good for your heart health. This is why it is essential to ensure that your cholesterol levels are under control and in a healthy range. According to the US-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there is an alarmingly high number of adults within the United States who have high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or the bad form of cholesterol.[1] Here's how to lower cholesterol fast by following these simple tips.

1. Increase your intake of fruits

If you are thinking about how to reduce cholesterol in 30 days, then increasing your intake of fruits, especially citrus fruits, and berries, can help you lower your cholesterol.  Many fruits contain high amounts of soluble fiber, which is known to help reduce cholesterol levels.[2] Soluble fiber helps the body get rid of excess cholesterol and also stops the liver from manufacturing more cholesterol. In fact, a type of soluble fiber known as pectin helps reduce cholesterol by nearly ten percent.[3] pectin can be found in strawberries, citrus fruits, apples, and grapes. If your aim is how to lower cholesterol fast, then consuming berries can help decrease the levels of harmful LDL cholesterol, while also boosting the levels of good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.[4]

2. Reduce cholesterol in 30 Days or less by losing weight

Being overweight or obese can also increase your LDL levels and contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and other health problems. Studies have found that even a small amount of weight loss can help decrease LDL levels.[5] The study also established that losing weight can help reduce LDL levels. Though more long-term studies are required, weight management definitely has a huge role to play in ensuring your overall well-being.

3. Stop Smoking

Quitting smoking is one way of how to lower cholesterol fast. Smoking not only increases the risk of heart disease and other health problems, but it also affects the way your body processes cholesterol. Studies have found that the immune system cells in people who are heavy smokers are unable to process cholesterol from the blood vessel walls to the bloodstream to be transported to the liver. This damage caused to the cells is not due to nicotine but instead found to be because of tobacco tar.[6] Studies have also discovered that smoking is linked with a reduction in HDL cholesterol and increased levels of total cholesterol.[7] At the same time, when you quit smoking, it can reverse these harmful effects on the immune cells.[8]

4. Reduce the intake of alcohol

It often surprises people to know that when you consume a moderate amount of alcohol, it can actually boost your HDL levels and also lower the risk of heart disease. However, excessive intake of alcohol harms the liver and also increases the chances of alcohol dependency. at the same time, your heart gets affected by the frequency and amount of drinking alcohol than it is by any other beverage.[9] Studies have shown that drinking more than moderate levels of alcohol can increase both your bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Still, drinking moderation, alcohol can also help increase the levels of good HDL cholesterol levels.[10] 

5. How to Reduce Cholesterol Fast with Exercise

Exercise is not only beneficial for your heart health, but also for lowering your cholesterol fast. Exercises decrease LDL cholesterol and also boosts the levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol.[11, 12] A study found that resistance and aerobic exercise helped lower oxidized LDL levels in overweight women. Oxidized LDL cholesterol is known to be even more harmful than LDL cholesterol.[13] To improve your cholesterol numbers, you should be doing half an hour of moderate exercise at least five days a week. This will also decrease the risk of heart disease.

6. Cut out Trans Fats

Trans fats are known to be especially harmful to your health. These are a form of unsaturated fats that have been modified with hydrogenation. Partially hydrogenated trans fats are processed differently by the body. This leads to an increase in both LDL and total cholesterol, while also lowering the beneficial amounts of HDL cholesterol by almost 20 percent.[14]

Reading food labels carefully can help you avoid trans fats contained in many foods. Watch out for products containing partially hydrogenated oil.

7. Have more dark chocolate 

Dark chocolate is known to be healthy for the heart. The main ingredient in dark chocolate is cocoa, and research has shown that cocoa and dark chocolate can reduce LDL cholesterol.[15] A study found that healthy adults who had a cocoa beverage twice a day for one month experienced a decrease in LDL cholesterol and also an increase in HDL cholesterol.[16]

8. Eat your vegetables

Vegetables must be an essential part of any healthy diet. Not only are they rich in fiber, but they are also low in fat and full of antioxidants. Vegetables help you lower LDL cholesterol. Vegetables that are good for lowering cholesterol include potatoes, carrots, okra, and eggplants.[17] 

9. Drink tea to lower cholesterol

Tea is rich in many plant compounds that are beneficial for the heart. All types of tea, including green tea, white tea, and black tea, are known to have beneficial properties and are good for your health. The healthy plant compounds that are responsible for the benefits of tea for your health include:

- Quercetin: Lowers inflammation and improves the functioning of the blood vessels.[18]

- Catechins: Catechins help prevent cholesterol absorption in the bloodstream and also prevent the formation of blood clots.[19]

Studies have also found that drinking tea helps reduce LDL and total cholesterol, but there is a lack of research on whether it increases HDL cholesterol.[20]

10. How to Reduce Cholesterol Fast with Oily Fish

Oily or fatty fish is one of the best foods you can have to lower cholesterol. Oily fish include sardine, mackerel, herring, and salmon. Fatty fish are powerhouses of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to have a beneficial effect on your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.[21]  If you cannot have fish, then you can also take fish oil supplements. A study found that taking fish oil supplements lowered triglyceride levels and reduced the risk of heart disease.[22]

See: How to lower cholesterol naturally

Summary

By following these simple tips, it becomes easy to lower and manage your cholesterol levels. Living a healthy life is necessary not just for maintaining your cholesterol levels, but also for your overall well-being. 

See: Lowering Your Cholesterol with Diet Plan

References

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. High Cholesterol Facts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 April 2020].

2. Bazzano, L.A., 2008. Effects of soluble dietary fiber on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol & coronary heart disease risk. Current Atherosclerosis Reports, 10(6), pp.473-477.

3. Brouns, F., Theuwissen, E., Bell, M., Adam, A., Berger, A. & Mensink, R.P., 2012. Cholesterol-lowering properties of different pectin types in mildly hyper-cholesterolemic men & women. European Journal of clinical nutrition, 66(5), pp.591-599.

4. Erlund, I., Koli, R., Marniemi, J., Alfthan, G., Puukka, P., Mustonen, P., Mattila, P., and Jula, A., 2008. Favorable effects of berry consumption on platelet function, blood pressure, & HDL cholesterol. The American Journal of clinical nutrition, 87(2), pp.323-331.

5. Le, T., Flatt, S.W., Natarajan, L., Pakiz, B., Quintana, E.L., Heath, D.D., Rana, B.K., and Rock, C.L., 2016. Effects of diet composition & insulin resistance status on plasma lipid levels in a weight loss intervention in women. Journal of the American Heart Association, 5(1), p.e002771.

6. Song, W., Wang, W., Dou, L.Y., Wang, Y., Xu, Y., Chen, L.F. and Yan, X.W., 2015. The implication of cigarette smoking and cessation on macrophage cholesterol efflux in coronary artery disease patients. Journal of lipid research, 56(3), pp.682-691.

7. Nakamura, K., Barzi, F., Huxley, R., Lam, T.H., Suh, I., Woo, J., Kim, H.C., Feigin, V.L., Gu, D. and Woodward, M., 2009. Does cigarette smoking exacerbate the effect of total cholesterol & high-density lipoprotein cholesterol on the risk of cardiovascular diseases?. Heart, 95(11), pp.909-916. 

8. Allen, S.S., Hatsukami, D., Gorsline, J., Christen, A., Rennard, S., Heatley, S., Fortmann, S., Hughes, J., Glover, E., Repsher, L. and Lichtenstein, E., 1994. Cholesterol changes in smoking cessation using the transdermal nicotine system. Preventive medicine, 23(2), pp.190-196.

9. The Nutrition Source. 2020. Is Wine Fine, Or Beer Better?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 April 2020].

10. De Oliveira e Silva, E.R., Foster, D., McGee Harper, M., Seidman, C.E., Smith, J.D., Breslow, J.L., and Brinton, E.A., 2000. Alcohol consumption raises HDL cholesterol levels by increasing the transport rate of apolipoproteins A.I. and A-II. Circulation, 102(19), pp.2347-2352.

11. Mann, S., Beedie, C., and Jimenez, A., 2014. Differential effects of aerobic exercise, resistance training, and combined exercise modalities on cholesterol and the lipid profile: review, synthesis, and recommendations. Sports Medicine, 44(2), pp.211-221.

12. Ahn, N., and Kim, K., 2016. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) in cardiovascular disease: effect of exercise training. Integrative medicine research, 5(3), pp.212-215.

13. Park, J.H., Park, H., Lim, S.T. and Park, J.K., 2015. Effects of a 12-week healthy-life exercise program on oxidized low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and carotid intima-media thickness in obese elderly women. Journal of physical therapy science, 27(5), pp.1435-1439.

14. Gebauer, S.K., Destaillats, F., Dionisi, F., Krauss, R.M. and Baer, D.J., 2015. Vaccenic acid and trans fatty acid isomers from partially hydrogenated oil both adversely affect LDL cholesterol: a double-blind, randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of clinical nutrition, 102(6), pp.1339-1346.

15. Tokede, O.A., Gaziano, J.M., and Djousse, L., 2011. Effects of cocoa products/dark chocolate on serum lipids: a meta-analysis. European Journal of clinical nutrition, 65(8), pp.879-886.

16. Sansone, R., Rodriguez-Mateos, A., Heuel, J., Falk, D., Schuler, D., Wagstaff, R., Kuhnle, G.G., Spencer, J.P., Schroeter, H., Merx, M.W. and Kelm, M., 2015. Cocoa flavanol intake improves endothelial function and Framingham Risk Score in healthy men & women: a randomized, controlled, double-masked trial: the Flaviola Health Study. British Journal of Nutrition, 114(8), pp.1246-1255.

17. Brouns, F., Theuwissen, E., Adam, A., Bell, M., Berger, A. and Mensink, R.P., 2012. Cholesterol-lowering properties of different pectin types in mildly hyper-cholesterolemic men & women. European Journal of clinical nutrition, 66(5), pp.591-599.

18. Dower, J.I., Geleijnse, J.M., Gijsbers, L., Schalkwijk, C., Kromhout, D., and Hollman, P.C., 2015. Supplementation of the pure flavonoids epicatechin & quercetin affects some biomarkers of endothelial dysfunction and inflammation in (pre) hypertensive adults: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. The Journal of nutrition, 145(7), pp.1459-1463.

19. Velayutham, P., Babu, A., and Liu, D., 2008. Green tea catechins and cardiovascular health: an update. Current medicinal chemistry, 15(18), p.1840.

20. Higdon, J.V., and Frei, B., 2003. Tea catechins and polyphenols: health effects, metabolism, and antioxidant functions.

21. Clandinin, M.T., Foxwell, A., Goh, Y.K., Layne, K. & Jumpsen, J.A., 1997. Omega-3 fatty acid intake results in a relationship between the fatty acid composition of LDL cholesterol ester & LDL cholesterol content in humans. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-Lipids and Lipid Metabolism, 1346(3), pp.247-252.

22. Weitz, D., Weintraub, H., Fisher, E., and Schwartzbard, A.Z., 2010. Fish oil for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Cardiology in review, 18(5), p.258.

See: Non-HDL Cholesterol

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