Do you know how to lower your cholesterol naturally? Frequently, when doctors discover that a patient has an elevated cholesterol level, they offer a prescription for a statin drug to lower these blood fats. Not everyone is happy to take medication such as atorvastatin or simvastin, however. Some people find that they develop unpleasant side effects, such as muscle cramps, pain or even brain fog. That is why they are searching for natural approaches. Have you been hunting for such an option?
Stubborn High Cholesterol:
Q. I’ve taken statins for high cholesterol, but I have horrible side effects. Red yeast rice doesn’t work for me.
I eat oatmeal for breakfast and before bed with cinnamon and flax seed and lecithin. I also take 12 flax seed oil capsules daily and eat a low-fat diet. My two daily tablespoons of olive oil push my HDL over 60 but no matter what I do, I can’t get my cholesterol below 279. Any other ideas?
Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally:
A. One approach you might add to your regimen is psyllium. This soluble fiber, found in Metamucil, Konsyl and certain other bulk-forming laxatives, can lower LDL cholesterol effectively (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online Sep. 15, 2018).
You may find that adding nuts to your low-fat diet could be helpful. Following a vegetarian or mostly vegetarian dietary pattern can lower cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol (Clinical Nutrition, June 13, 2018). Also consider adding some grape or pomegranate juice and possibly even red grapefruit (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, March 8, 2006). Vinegar is another popular option to lower your cholesterol naturally. You can learn more about such options in our Guide to Cholesterol Control & Heart Health.
Oatmeal to Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally:
Although you have not been successful in lowering your cholesterol by eating oatmeal every day, this tactic may work for other people. Scientists have known for years that consuming oats can lower your cholesterol. In fact, the first study showing that oat bread instead of white bread reduced LDL cholesterol was published in 1963.
Data on Oat Fiber to Lower Your Cholesterol:
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials shows that the beta-glucan in oat fiber actually lowers three different markers of blood fats (British Journal of Nutrition, online Oct. 7, 2016). In addition to LDL cholesterol, beta-glucan consumption brought down levels of non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B. Elevated levels of these fats are particularly dangerous for people with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
The meta-analysis included 58 clinical trials and nearly 4,000 individuals. Eating about 3.5 grams of beta-glucan daily lowered LDL by 4.2 percent, non-HDL cholesterol by 4.8 percent and apo B by 2.3 percent.
How Can You Get the Right Amount of Beta-Glucan?
Both oats and barley are rich in beta-glucan. Oat bran is a better source of beta-glucan than whole oats, so if you want to lower your cholesterol with this soluble fiber, you might consume oat bran rather than oatmeal. A cup of cooked oat bran contains about 3 grams of beta-glucans, while a cup of cooked barley has roughly 2.5 grams. You’d need two cups of cooked oatmeal to get 3 grams of beta-glucans. To lower your cholesterol, you’d need to get beta-glucans into your diet every day.