Heart disease is the nation’s leading cause of death among women—and high cholesterol is a major risk factor. Learn how to lower cholesterol naturally with these simple lifestyle tweaks.
If you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol, please note that you should always consult your healthcare provider for guidance on how to achieve healthier levels. If your doctor has prescribed medication, use these tips to support your recommended treatment plan.
1. Reduce overall saturated fat intake.
Saturated fat is a major contributor to high cholesterol levels, and its consumption has been linked to cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends a person on a 2,000-calorie diet should eat no more than 16 grams of saturated fat every day. This type of fat is found in hydrogenated oils, whole milk and dairy products, and processed meats (like pepperoni). Instead of recipes with bad-fat foods, enjoy dishes like One Pot Chicken and Spinach.
2. Eat less animal protein.
While protein is a necessary component of eating well, animal-based sources can contain the saturated fat that negatively impacts cholesterol. You don’t necessarily need to go full-on vegetarian; plan to eat meatless dishes one or two days each week to reduce your intake. Spoon into Hearty Lentil and Vegetable Soup or try Slow Cooker Vegetarian Enchiladas.
3. Swap out cow’s milk.
Dairy can be an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but cow’s milk may be preventing you from lowering cholesterol levels. Switch to milk alternatives like almond or coconut milk. Here’s how they stack up:
Mg (milligrams) of Cholesterol per Cup
Whole Milk: 33 mg
Low Fat: 10 mg
Skim Milk: 4 mg
Almond Milk: 0 mg
Coconut Milk: 0 mg
4. Love those legumes and lentils.
Beans contain the fiber that slows the rate of cholesterol absorption, so they’re a smart choice to lower cholesterol naturally. Spanish Lentil Salad or Lentil and Kale Soup are tasty recipes for your heart-healthy menu.
5. Don’t fear good fats.
Monounsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Another type of good fat, polyunsaturated, lowers both LDL and total cholesterol. This includes the omega-3 fatty acids found in chia seeds, walnuts, and cold water fish, like tuna and salmon. Dishes such as Barbeque Chicken and Avocado Quesadillas and Lite Tuna Melt Wrap add ticker-friendly fats to your diet.