18 Natural Ways To Lower Cholesterol Fast

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18 Natural Ways To Lower Cholesterol Fast

Are you one of the ‘1-in-3’ American adults with high cholesterol, doubling your risk of heart disease?

The good news is that the ability to lower your cholesterol levels might just be within your control. Studies have shown that a diet made up of cholesterol lowering foods can be just as effective as taking cholesterol-lowering drugs!

There are also some other lifestyle changes you can make to further push those cholesterol numbers down.

Read on to find out all about the natural ways that you can keep your cholesterol in check.

What is Cholesterol?

Firstly, let’s look at cholesterol – what it is and what it does.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all cells of the body. Contrary to what many believe, we actually need cholesterol in our bodies – it’s important in the production of hormones and vitamin D, and it help us to digest foods.

Luckily, our bodies produce enough cholesterol to meet our needs.

But when our cholesterol levels become too high – usually caused by genetic factors, an unhealthy diet or lack of exercise – then it can be a serious cause for concern.

High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease, the number one killer in the US. The higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack.

LDL vs HDL Cholesterol

When we talk about ‘lowering’ cholesterol, we actually mean balancing the different types of cholesterol – LDL and HDL cholesterol.

According to Dr. Axe, the most important thing to consider when it comes to cholesterol is the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol – you should be aiming for around 2:1.

LDL Cholesterol – The Bad Kind

This type of cholesterol contributes to plaque formation which clogs arteries, leading to heart attack or stroke.

HDL Cholesterol – The Good Kind

HDL actually helps to remove LDL from the arteries, by carrying it away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it is removed from the body.

Healthy HDL levels protect against heart disease, whereas low levels have been shown to increase your risk of cardiovascular problems.

How to Lower Cholesterol Naturally

Here are some of the main lifestyle modifications and smart food choices you can make to naturally lower your cholesterol levels and safely reduce your risk of heart disease.

Choose the Right Fats

Dietary fats are vital for overall health – they build healthy cells and contribute to our brain health, they produce hormones, help the body absorb vitamins and, gram for gram, are the most efficient source of food energy for our bodies.

But not all fats are equal. Trans- and saturated fats should be restricted or avoided.

Follow the American Heart Association’s guidelines: less than 7% of your daily caloric intake should come from saturated fats, and less than 1% should come from trans-fats.

Instead you should aim to eat between 25 and 35% of your daily calories from healthy and delicious fats (monounsaturated or polyunsaturated) like avocados, nuts and olive oil.

Eat More Fiber

Fiber rich foods can reduce both bad LDL and overall cholesterol levels. It’s thought that this happens as soluble fiber binds with cholesterol particles in your digestive system and whisks them out of your body before they can cause any damage.

Try fruits like prunes, pears and apples (with the skin left on!), beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, whole grains, wild rice and high-fiber veggies such as squash, broccoli, spinach, potato (again with the skin intact) and carrots.

Enjoy Plant-Powered Protein

Swap your cholesterol-laden red meat for a more heart friendly plant protein instead. Animal proteins can be very high in cholesterol and fat, particularly saturated fat.

A 2010 review in Nutrition in Clinical Practice reports that vegetarians have lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and lower body mass indexes than meat-eaters.

Beans, lentils, whole grains, quinoa, nuts and seeds are all sources of plant-based protein.

Lose Weight

If you are overweight or obese, then you are more likely to have high cholesterol than those within the ‘safe’ weight range.

Work with your doctor to devise a plan to help you keep your weight in check. Try some gentle exercise and make diet modifications.

Get Moving

Even if you’re not overweight, regular exercise is vital for overall health, and keeping those cholesterol levels balanced.

Moderate physical activity can actually help raise the good HDL cholesterol. You should be aiming for at least 30 minutes a day.

Try walking, swimming or jogging. If you need an extra bit of motivation, join an aerobics or Zumba class.

Quit Smoking

Smoking can accelerate the damage done by your high cholesterol levels so make an effort to quit.

Research also suggests that smoking lowers your good HDL levels. In a study of over 400 children, those whose mothers smoked during pregnancy had lower levels of HDL (good) cholesterol than those whose mothers didn’t smoke.

Here’s some food for thought: according to the Mayo Clinic, within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. Within one year, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker.

Increase Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3s are essential fatty acids, which we must get through diet. They play a vital role in brain function, normal growth and development and they may even reduce the risk of heart disease.

Both the Inuit Eskimos and those who follow a Mediterranean diet tend to have higher good HDL cholesterol levels.


It’s believed that both diets are naturally rich in Omega 3s.

Eat plenty of omega 3 rich sources of food like fatty fish including salmon, mackerel, herring and trout; chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, cod liver oil, flaxseed oil and walnut oil.

In fact, researchers have found ‘significant’ improvement in cholesterol levels and blood vessel flexibility just four hours after people consumed either walnuts or walnut oil. They recommend eating the nuts or oil four times a week.

Try Supplements

Using supplements may support healthy cholesterol particle size, says Dr Mark Hyman.

He recommends taking:

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

When we’re in a deep sleep, that’s when our body has the opportunity to rest and recharge. If you’re not getting around eight hours of quality sleep then you could be headed for trouble.

A 2013 study found that people who sleep for eight hours a night have lower cholesterol than those who get six hours sleep or less.

Getting a restful sleep will also ensure you don’t need to nap – something which, surprisingly, may raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

A study of over 27,000 people in China shows napping for more than 30 minutes at a time can raise cholesterol, blood pressure and subsequently the risk of diabetes.

Take Probiotics

Probiotics are friendly bacteria that help us digest our food, absorb nutrients and even break down medications.

Probiotics are thought to lower cholesterol because the bacteria binds to cholesterol in the small intestine, preventing it from being absorbed in the blood stream.

You can take probiotic supplements, but it’s much better to make your own beneficial bacteria – through fermented foods like kefir, kombucha and sourdough bread.

Don’t Forget the Prebiotics

Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that ‘feed’ the probiotics and help them grow in your gut, making sure they multiply and can carry even more damaging cholesterol away.

If you’re taking probiotic supplements, or adding probiotic rich foods to your diet, then make sure to eat some prebiotics – try garlic, onions, asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke and bananas.

Prebiotics might be hiding in your garden too – look out for edible backyard ‘weeds’ like chicory and dandelion greens.

Add in Plenty of Cholesterol Lowering Foods

While it would be wise to include certain food groups in your diet (healthy fats, omega-3 rich foods etc) some specific foods are especially well-known for their cholesterol lowering properties.

You should consider adding some, or all, of the following to your diet on a regular basis:

Psyllium Husks

Psyllium husks come from the seeds of the Plantago ovata plant and are full of soluble fiber. So much so, that they are sometimes added to certain laxative products!

Studies have shown that psyllium is an effective way for people to lower their cholesterol, with very few side effects.

A typical adult dosage is 1/2 to 2 teaspoons per day, mixed with 8oz of water.


If you’re worried about your cholesterol levels, a big bowl of oatmeal may be the perfect way to start the day.

Plenty of evidence exists to show that this fiber-rich food is great for lowering cholesterol. The FDA even gave it the status of a ‘health claim’ in 1997, meaning oatmeal manufacturers are allowed to advertise the heart-healthy benefits of oats on the packaging.

Green Tea

Showing how worthy it is of its superfood status, green tea can have a significant impact on cholesterol levels, by lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) while having no impact on the HDL level.

If you’re not a fan of the flavor of the plain tea, try one of these 21 great tasting Matcha Green Tea recipes or invest in some Green Tea Extract instead, which research shows is also effective in reducing cholesterol.

Red Wine

Who says eating for health has to be boring?

You now have the perfect excuse to enjoy a glass of red wine with your evening meal – research shows that a daily glass of red wine for four weeks increases good cholesterol by up to 16%.

No similar effects were found among people taking the same amount of red grape extract, leading researchers to believe it’s the alcohol in the drink that is key.

Dark Chocolate

Cocoa powder has been found to increase HDL (the good) and lower total LDL (the bad) cholesterol levels in men with already high cholesterol.

The same benefits can be gained by eating dark chocolate with a high levels of cocoa in it, according to scientists at San Diego State University.

Aim for chocolate with at least 70% cocoa.


This ancient super food provides a whole host of health benefits, including having the ability to naturally lower cholesterol.

In studies of patients aged 60 years and older, a daily dose of 8g of spirulina powder for 16 weeks was found to naturally lower cholesterol levels.

It can also prevent atherosclerosis (a hardening of the arteries caused by high cholesterol levels).

This blue-green algae isn’t the tastiest food around, but mix it into a smoothie or juice and you’ll hardly notice it.

Herbs and Spices

Instead of seasoning your food with salt (which is no good for heart health), liven up your meals with herbs and spices, most of which are loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

In particular, garlic, onion, ginger and turmeric are proven heart-friendly herbs and spices.


In addition, check out these foods which can help unclog your arteries, an inevitable result of long-term high cholesterol levels.