Are you looking for natural remedies or self-care tips to lower cholesterol fast? Or, are you hoping to avoid taking medications? Try these ideas.
Having a high cholesterol level places you at a greater risk for heart disease and a heart attack.
Certainly, medications can be successful at reducing your cholesterol levels.
But for many people, natural remedies, self-care, or lifestyle changes can lower cholesterol levels and avoid the need to take medications.
This article provides 7 self-care tips to lower cholesterol fast without the addition of medication.
Consider these self-care tips to lower cholesterol fast:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet
- Increase activity
- Manage stress – use meditation & prayer
- Consider supplements
- Lose weight
- Stop smoking
- Drink alcohol in moderation
To clarify, you should not stop taking your medications without talking to your healthcare provider first.
For example, if you’re taking medications for your cholesterol levels now, talk to your provider about your self-care intentions. One reason to share your plan is so the provider will test your cholesterol level after you’ve made changes.
Self-care includes everything from:
- the eating approach you follow (your diet)
- how much activity you get per day
- what supplements you take
- what herbal or natural remedies you take
- the way you manage stress
- how much sleep you get
- how you often you take time to rest and relax
- whether you smoke or drink alcohol
and anything else you do to lower your cholesterol.
What Does Cholesterol Do Anyway?
Cholesterol is produced in the liver and has many important roles in your body. For example, your body needs cholesterol to build healthy and flexible cells.
Cholesterol is necessary to make hormones, bile acids, vitamin D, and other substances in the body.
Your body cannot function without cholesterol.
But, there are different kinds of cholesterol and too much of some, and not enough of others can be harmful.
The way you take care of your mind, body, and soul can influence your cholesterol levels. Above all, you need to understand that having an elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) can place you at a greater risk of disease or death.
First, do MORE of These Self-care Tips to Lower Cholesterol Fast:
1 Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
Just like with high blood pressure, what you eat has a tremendous influence on your cholesterol levels.
The DASH diet is a diet to lower blood pressure, but this easy-to-follow and adapt to eating plan also significantly impacts your cholesterol.
Even better: it works fast! Some people can see results in as fast as two weeks!
If you don’t have a DASH Diet Cookbook, here’s a great one to start using. I like it because it offers suggestions to have in your pantry and spice cabinet to help with flavoring.
It takes about two weeks for your body to adjust to tasting less salt. Using spices when you start reducing salt will help your body ‘miss the salt less’ and provides great flavors.
If you think this one is too basic, there are lots of options for Dash Diet Cookbooks on Amazon.
In addition, here are some other tips to consider with your eating approach to help you make an immediate impact on your high cholesterol levels.
Avoid Trans Fats
Trans fats place a double whammy on your body because they raise the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and lower the ‘good’ HDL.
If you want to lower your cholesterol quickly, learn how to read nutrition labels so you can avoid eating trans fats as much as possible.
Sometimes listed as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil,” trans fats are a primary ingredient used in store-bought baked goods and processed foods like cakes, cookies, pastries, and crackers.
Trans fats are also in margarine and shortening.
Avoiding trans fat is a strong first strategy to lower your cholesterol.
Reduce Saturated Fat
Likewise, red meat and full-fat dairy products can raise your total cholesterol level.
Decreasing your saturated fat intake can be another positive strategy to reduce your LDL (the ‘bad’) cholesterol.
You can do this simply by eating a proper serving size.
Eat More ‘Good’ Fat Foods
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
After that, it’s good to know that foods with omega-3 fatty acids don’t affect LDL cholesterol.
They can, however, reduce blood pressure, which is essential for heart health. So, consider adding these foods into your diet – perhaps as a substitute for foods high in saturated fat once or twice a week:
Foods containing soluble fiber contribute to heart health by lowering the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.
Examples of foods with soluble fiber include:
- Kidney beans
- Brussels sprouts
Consider substituting a bowl of oatmeal for a breakfast of pastries or sausage a couple times a week.
I know this is a lot to remember! That’s why I made a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid.
Get it at the bottom of this post!
2 Increase Activity
Many studies have show how exercise impacts cholesterol levels.
Specifically, moderate physical activity can help raise the ‘good’ cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
Even if you think you don’t like to exercise, there are many ways to increase your activity!
Something very basic, like going for a walk 1-2 times a day, can make a significant impact!
3 Manage Stress
Stress management will look different to all of us, but the point is that a reduction in your stress level can help lower your cholesterol level.
Ongoing stress is harmful to your health. It can lead to life-threatening diseases.
This doesn’t exactly mean get a massage every other day.
But, it does mean taking a critical look at your stressors and looking for possibilities to manage the impact, lessen, or even eliminating them as needed.
Sometimes a 5-minute activity is all that is needed!
Make choices that eliminate stressors in your life and deal with ongoing stress to avoid burnout.
The book Burnout: the secret to unlocking the stress cycle addresses how to deal with both stress and stressors in your life.
“This groundbreaking book explains why women experience burnout differently than men—and provides a simple, science-based plan to help women minimize stress, manage emotions, and live a more joyful life.“
It provides science, but is written in a light-hearted manner with relatable examples and solutions.
It’s the best book that I’ve ever read which addresses burnout !
Use Mediation and Prayer
Many studies report that meditation has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress.
If you are a person of faith, engaging in prayer is a form of meditation. Worship and regular church attendance have also been found as a way to reduce anxiety and manage stress.
If your faith is important to you, I want to encourage you to utilize the truth of God, shared in the Bible.
You can use scripture to help you find the courage to start taking better care of yourself, and the motivation to continue good self-care.
So consider taking care of yourself as a way to worship and honor the Lord. Find more information here.
Additionally , it’s likely you’re not just trying to take care of yourself.
You may take care of others too.
Whether you care for your children, support your spouse, care for aging parents, serve in a ministry, or maybe even all of the above, it takes motivation to make your self-care a priority when you are caring for others.
4 Consider Supplements
There is considerable evidence that fish oil and soluble fiber can improve cholesterol and promote heart health.
Fish oil has been proven to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
While total cholesterol does not appear to be impacted by fish oil, one study showed promise of increasing HDL – particularly in women. <source>
A large meta-analysis suggested that dietary and non-dietary (supplements) intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (including fish oil) increased life expectancy related to heart disease. <source>
If you do not plan to eat 1-2 portions of oily fish per week, you may want to consider taking a fish oil supplement.
As discussed earlier, an increase of your fiber intake can lower cholesterol levels.
But, soluble fiber can be also taken as a supplement, called psyllium.
One study, using cookies enriched with 8 grams of psyllium, showed a reduction of 10% reduction in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. This occurred over four-weeks in 33 adults. <source>
5 Lose a Little Weight
Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline regularly.
Even carrying a little extra weight can contribute to a high cholesterol level.
In fact, losing just 10% of your current weight can have a positive impact on your cholesterol level!
Work on making little changes to keep from getting overwhelmed.
- Add more water into your day.
- Eat proper serving sizes.
- Take walks during breaks.
- Use the stairs instead of an elevator.
- Cut back on sugary beverages and snacks.
- Eat sugary foods for dessert instead of snacks.
- Get enough sleep to help you prevent ‘tired-eating’.
Small changes make a big impact when done consistently!
And, do LESS of These Things to Lower High Cholesterol:
Smoking increases the risk of heart disease. One way this happens is how smoking affects the way the body processes cholesterol.
The cells are not able to move cholesterol from the walls of the blood vessel to get it transported back to the liver.
Furthermore, it is thought that these dysfunctional cells may be a contributor to the faster development of clogged arteries in people who smoke. <source>
But, according to the Mayo Clinic, a self-care activity that quickly reduces your cholesterol level is smoking cessation.
Smoking cessation can raise your good HDL cholesterol levels.
- Your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the cigarette-induced spike within 20 minutes of quitting.
- Within three months of quitting, your blood circulation and lung function begin to improve
- Within a year of quitting, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker
Obviously, if you don’t smoke, never start!
Many workplaces, insurance companies, and state or local governments have smoking cessation programs (and coverage).
Don’t let cost detour you – certainly, you should research coverage options or scholarships for smoking cessation programs.
The programs with the most successful outcomes offer accountability coaching or ongoing support and encouragement.
7 Drinking Alcohol
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. First of all, alcohol adds extra calories, which can lead to weight gain.
There is some evidence that the ethanol in alcoholic beverages can increase HDL and lower the risk of heart disease. <source>
However, because the evidence is limited, it is not recommended that you start drinking alcohol for this healthy benefit.
Too much alcohol can lead to serious health problems, including:
- liver damage
- high blood pressure
- high triglyceride levels
- heart failure
If Natural Self-care Tips to Lower High Cholesterol Aren’t Enough:
There are many things you can change to reduce your cholesterol.
However, there are some things that don’t change even when you implement all 7 of the self-care tips to lower high cholesterol.
That is to say, your heredity, age and gender have a large impact on your cholesterol levels.
And, sometimes, lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower your cholesterol levels into the normal ranges.
You may need to take medications to get your cholesterol under control – even though you’re doing everything right.
It is important to continue lifestyle changes even while you’re taking your medications to keep them at the lowest dose possible.
Additionally, following a heart-healthy lifestyle may improve the cholesterol-lowering effects of the mediations.
You are subsequently lowering your out-of-pocket expense and the risk of uncomfortable medication side-effects.
These Natural Self-care Tips to Lower Cholesterol Fast Can Work if Followed Consistently!
In closing, work with your doctor to determine how long it is safe to trial self-care tips to lower your high cholesterol.
To sum it up, having a high cholesterol level places you at a greater risk of heart disease and a heart attack.
However, for many people, better self-care or lifestyle changes can reduce cholesterol levels naturally and avoid the need to take medications.
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