How to Treat High Cholesterol Without Medication
Heading to your local pharmacy to pick up a new medication can feel overwhelming for a number of reasons. You’ve seen the commercials: Drugs have side effects, some of them severe. Plus, it might feel as though you can’t trust a chemical to fix what your doctor says is wrong with you.
We didn’t always rely on pills to cure our chronic ailments. But we also haven’t always eaten diets so high in fat, sugar, and salt that the very foods meant to keep us alive started slowly killing us from the inside out.
Issues like high cholesterol, blood pressure, and out-of-control blood sugar can be treated fairly well with the right dose of medications. But drugs aren’t the only way to improve your symptoms.
Are there “natural” remedies to treat high cholesterol without having to fill a prescription? For many people, basic lifestyle changes made slowly over months can change everything. Here’s what doctors and nutrition experts recommend.
Eat foods good for your heart
High levels of “bad” cholesterol increase your risk of heart attacks, disease, and other cardiac issues. Therefore, one of the best things you can do to lower your cholesterol without medication is to eat foods that improve heart health.
Eating large amounts of saturated fats is a major contributor to high cholesterol. Though experts recommend Americans consume less than 10% of their calories from these fats, many people consume much more. It may not be the direct cause of heart disease — the deadliest health condition in the nation — but it’s certainly not helping.
Eat more of the following foods to help lower your cholesterol:
- Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts, and seeds
- Foods high in fiber such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, beans and grains
- Lean meats such as turkey
- Dairy products low in fat.
Also do your best to eat fewer processed foods and high-fat dairy products.
Increase your physical activity
Everyone faces their own personal challenges when it comes to fitness. But working out can help you lose weight, burn off energy, and keep you motivated to continue making your health a priority. Increasing your activity levels even just by a day at a time can lower your cholesterol and overall disease risk — and it’s not as hard or unpleasant as it might seem.
Being more physically active doesn’t mean you have to pay for a gym membership, buy new workout clothes, or invest in all the latest fitness gear and equipment. You should aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week. This means you could do something as simple as taking a morning or evening walk during the week.
The key to sticking to a fitness routine is to find an activity you enjoy. If you hate running, don’t run — you’ll never keep up with it long-term. There’s a sport or hobby for everyone. Even gardening burns calories, though you might want to still do some cardio on the side.
Listen to your doctor
Some people still need to take medication to reduce their cholesterol. But your doctor will recommend you take it along with making the gradual yet beneficial changes above.
If you’re genetically predisposed to high cholesterol, you might not be able to treat it without a prescription. There are several reasons medical professionals still suggest exercising and eating healthy, though.
Because some medications come with minor to more severe side effects, it’s in your best interest to continue taking them at as low of a dose as possible. The more you take care of your body, the lower you can keep your cholesterol medication dosage.
Taking it in small amounts can keep your heart safe while you continue to carry out a healthy lifestyle in other ways.
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