What is the Best Way to Reduce Cholesterol?

High cholesterol can be a major risk factor for strokes. Cholesterol can build up on the walls of your arteries, reducing Clogged Arteryblood flow to the heart and brain. A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is reduced or stopped. This deprives your brain of oxygen and nutrients. High cholesterol can lead to a stroke. So, my question is “what is the best way to reduce cholesterol?”

We’ve all heard about it and many of us have been put on cholesterol medicine, but I want know what is the best way to reduce cholesterol naturally or through, diet, exercise, etc. I don’t just want to be told to take this pill. I want someone to point out all the ways to reduce cholesterol and let me make an educated decision, with my doctor.

Your Doctor’s Advice

DocterMost of us rely on our doctor’s, especially with more severe health problems like heart disease and stroke. I want to point out right away here that the choices made on how to reduce your cholesterol level needs to be made between you and your doctor. Tell the doctor if you are experiencing side effects to a prescription and be forthright with the medical staff if you want to pursue more natural means of reducing your cholesterol.

I have been in several situations where I was told they were going to put me on several prescriptions and I basically said “No!” I asked the doctor to work with me on monitoring my health more regularly and asked him to help me find other ways to improve my health without using medication.

I don’t want to be on prescription drugs the remainder of my life just because I have had a stroke.

Ways to Reduce High Cholesterol

Here is a list of several ways to reduce high cholesterol “without” medication:Fiber

  • Limit the use of saturated fats and trans fats
  • Include more fiber into your diet
  • Eat right
  • Eat more oats
  • Eat more barley and whole grain foods
  • Eat more foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acidsFish
  • Eat more beans, nuts, and seeds
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Eat more eggplant and okra
  • Eat more apples, grapes, strawberries and citrus fruits
  • Eat more soybeans and foods made from them
  • Add whey protein to your diet
  • Reduce sugars
  • Exercise
  • Lose excess weight

Some items in this list were found in an article from Health Harvard.

Let’s Focus in on the Best Ways to Reduce High Cholesterol

As you can see from the previous list, there are many natural ways to help us reduce high cholesterol and all of them are within our control. There are times when people need to go on cholesterol medicine but my focus here is to help find ways to do this naturally, in hopes that we never have to take a pill.

Here are the main things at the top of many lists on how to reduce your bad cholesterol (LDL) and boost your good cholesterol (HDL).Eat Healthy

  • Limit saturated fats and trans fats in your diet
  • Eat more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats
  • Eat healthy
  • Add more fruits and vegetables to you diet
  • Eat foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Increase soluble fiber
  • Lose weight

I’m About to get Into Trouble

I am not a doctor. I am only a stroke survivor.

There are so many ways to reduce high cholesterol and the opinions as to what are the best ways are many. Let’s do what I always recommend here and just simplify this a little.

We’re not trying to be perfect and claim that we are all going to make the changes overnight. We’re also not claiming to abide by every item on the lists above. The main theme here is to start with something simple and then add to it over time.

So here are Rick’s thoughts on the best way to lower high cholesterol:

  1. Start the process of eating healthy
  2. Cook with healthy fats
  3. Add more fruits and vegetables to you day
  4. Start eating more fish

Walking

If you will start “moving” towards these four items above then you will become more healthy and you will, most likely, have a longer, healthier, more fulfilled life.
 

How to Eat Healthy – Help Me to Get Started

We all know we need to eat more healthy, especially the older we get. But have you really sat down and asked yourself Dietthe question on how to eat healthy? I’m mean really thought through it. Did you just join a diet program or throw yourself at the gym thinking that someone else would tell you everything you needed to know and bless you with the focus and determination you would need? Well, that wasn’t enough for me.

How My Journey Began

I will make this quick but I was a year around athlete through high school and into my first year of college. Remember the days long ago when you could eat anything you wanted and never count a calorie?

FootballThen the activity started to slow down and no one ever set me down and said “Hey! You do know you have to start eating less, right?” That’s when the pounds slowly started finding their way onto everything around me. Of course not on to me, but everything else. RIGHT!

Fast forward, oh about 30 years, and WHAM! I’m literally on the floor with a stroke. I can’t communicate with my wife, my kids are terrified and then the neighborhood lights up like Christmas at 4am. Not a fun time.

So, here I am today, 5 years after my stroke, and you would think that I have it all under control. Not true. I have learned a lot and I am slowly turning the titanic around but a lifetime of unhealthy eating is hard to change overnight.

Help Me to Get Started

The “Help Me” is for you and me.

I agree that hooking up with someone or a business that understands people, food, and health issues is a good thing. I have done it myself and a lot of what I know today has come from research and joining those programs. Here are a few programs I have joined or learned from:

  • Weight Watchers
  • Steelman Weight Loss Clinic
  • Body for Life
  • Gold’s Gym
  • Local nutritionist
  • Internet

All of these programs, business and/or people can help you succeed. Everyone should begin educating themselves on health issues with examples like these.

Diet

I am currently a member of Weight Watchers and Gold’s Gym and I actively search the internet for information relating to stroke prevention nutrition and exercise.

One word of caution is that I am not in the heath care field. I am just a stroke survivor who is working hard to reduce my risk of another stroke.

So let’s go a little deeper into the food.

Foods that Can Reduce Risk of a Stroke

I am not a nutritionist so please do your own research after reading this.

The first thing you want to do is eat foods that will help lower your blood pressure. The following list is from Healthline.

  • Leafy greens
    • Romaine lettuce
    • Kale
    • Spinach
    • Collard greens, etc.Healthy Meal
  • Berries
  • Red Beets
  • Skim Milk and Yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Bananas
  • Salmon (fish with Omega-3)
  • Seeds
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Squash seeds
  • Garlic & Herbs
    • Basil
    • Cinnamon
    • Thyme
    • Rosemary
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Pistachios
  • Olive Oil
  • Pomegranates

You should also do your best to reduce your fat intake, and reduce the amount of sodium in your diet and alcohol you consume.

Here are some foods to include in your day that may help lower your cholesterol from Harvard Medical School:

  • Oats
    Barley

    • Oatmeal
    • Cheerios
  • Barley and Whole Grains
  • Beans
  • Eggplant and Okra
  • Nuts
    • Almonds
    • Walnuts
    • Peanuts
  • Vegetable OilsSalmon
  • Apples, Grapes, Strawberries, and Citrus Fruits
  • Foods Fortified with Sterols and Stanols
  • Soy
  • Fatty Fish (with Omega-3)
  • Fiber Supplements

You also need to limit saturated fats and trans fats.

Putting It All Together

Much of what I write here at Stroke Prevention Nutrition is based on personal experience I or a family member has gone through but I liked the way that Harvard Health Publishing wrote “Putting It All Together“.

Putting It All Together

My Final Thoughts

I would like to go into each food above in more detail to help you but this article would grow to three times it’s size. Plus there are many experts and organizations that have the detailed information that I just touched on. Take the time to research these foods.

The best path forward, in my opinion, is for you to introduce a few foods at a time. There is not a single person I know who has been “permanently” successful changing their entire diet overnight. Those that have the most success take one step at a time, and one food at a time.

Make it easy on yourself and start with some simple things you already like and then also find a weight loss program or dietary guide that will help you with the rest of your journey.

My journey started four years ago, and I don’t think it will end for at least 20 or 30 years.

Develop a mindset with a hopeful attitude, looking to the future for a vibrant, healthy life.

Together

The road to a better life starts today.