Lowering Cholesterol Without Drugs

The Benefits of the Mediterranean diet - South Denver Cardiology

Learn How to Lower Cholesterol and Your Calcium Heart Score

One of the leading indicators when it comes to what causes heart disease is your calcium heart score. Calcified plague is largely the result of cholesterol as well as fat, calcium and other substances in your blood. When it comes to lowering cholesterol, you can do so naturally and without drugs. To help you lower your cholesterol, we have put together some things you can start doing today that can help lower your calcium heart score – all without the pills.

Go Mediterranean!

Compared the US, the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in the Mediterranean is considerably lower. That is because people in that region consume a more natural diet consisting of higher amounts of fruit, vegetables, beans, whole-grain carbohydrates, nuts, fish, and monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, avocado and nuts. Further, they eat less in dairy products and little red meat. A Mediterranean diet can reduce cardiovascular events by up to 72 percent.

Reduce Saturated Fats

These fats are labeled as “bad” cholesterol and they cause your vessels to become less flexible. To reduce these saturated fats, you will need to cut back on the following:

  • Fatty cuts of beef
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Poultry skin
  • Chicken wings
  • Dark chicken meat
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Whole milk
  • 2% milk
  • Cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Ice cream

Also, be on the lookout for oils, especially coconut and palm oils as they sometimes contain high levels of saturated fat.

Trans fats – Another “bad” cholesterol

Trans fats are chemically processed foods. The thing to look for on labels that indicate trans fats is the term “partially hydrogenated”. The goal is to see  zero grams in the trans fat listing on the nutritional label, as this listing is mandatory. But, be mindful that some food manufacturers can bring their trans fat below 0.5 grams by lowering the average serving size. So, a zero, really may not mean they are entirely free of trans fat.

Things to Add to Your Diet For Lower Cholesterol

  • Fruits and Vegetables: High in antioxidants like vitamin C and E, they help prevent plaque rupture in arteries as well as regulate blood pressure.
  • Plant Stanols and Sterols: These block absorption of cholesterol in the intestine. Studies have shown they can reduce cholesterol by 9 to 20 percent with consumption of approximately 2 grams per day.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These decrease you triglyceride levels as well as make your platelets less sticky. They are found in fatty fish, flaxseed, canola oil, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and soybean oil.
  • Fish: Speaking of Omega-3, fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines are loaded with them and can help decrease triglyceride levels by 20 to 50 percent.
  • Nuts: A staple of the Mediterranean diet, 5 oz. of nuts per week has been shown to reduce coronary risk by 40 to 50 percent.
  • Garlic: On average, garlic can reduce cholesterol by up to 4 percent.
  • Tea: Full or antioxidants, tea can be consider “rust inhibitors” for your arteries.

Exercise

While having the right diet with help lower cholesterol levels, doing exercise is very important. Being fit does help lower cholesterol levels and is part of overall cardiovascular health. 

How to Use This Information

If you have high cholesterol, we do urge you consider diet changes. It is possible to lower your cholesterol without the use of drugs and you can do so naturally. However, there will be times where your heart doctor will recommend medication in addition to dietary changes and exercise. High cholesterol can have an adverse impact on your calcium heart score so we do urge you to get it checked from time to time. You can schedule an appointment to have your calcium heart score checked with us at South Denver Cardiology. Call us at (303) 744-1065.