Despite the dangerous side effects of statins , millions of Americans take them every day to lower their cholesterol levels . Statins work by blocking the enzyme in the liver that naturally produces cholesterol. One of the main problems is that statins cannot differentiate between HDL and LDL cholesterol, they simply lower total cholesterol numbers.

Side effects of statins

Statins have been shown to cause multiple side effects , including muscle damage and weakness. Studies also suggest a possible link between statins and a progression of muscle wasting that can lead to Lou Gehrig’s disease.

While your total cholesterol levels may be lowering, by taking statins you are putting yourself at risk for many adverse side effects. The consequences of taking statins in strong doses over a long period of time include headache, difficulty sleeping, increased blood sugar, vision changes, lower back pain, frequent fevers, cognitive loss, and the list goes on. .

If you suffer from high cholesterol levels, a doctor can write you a prescription and send you home to take this medication. But the truth is, there are plenty of safe and natural ways to lower cholesterol levels, without putting your health at risk by taking statins.

Natural ways to improve your cholesterol levels

To properly lower cholesterol, we need an eating strategy that consists of two factors that must work together: Add foods that lower bad cholesterol , the harmful particle that contributes to arteriosclerosis and clogs the arteries. At the same time, cut down on foods that raise good cholesterol levels. Without that step, you are engaging in retention action rather than a firm and tasty victory.

1. Optimize vitamin D levels

The best way to increase your vitamin D levels is to spend time outdoors. Vitamin D from sun exposure will help normalize your cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease.

2. Reduce carbohydrates and maintain a healthy weight

Reaching a healthy weight by eliminating sugars in the diet can help dramatically improve good cholesterol levels.

Sugary carbohydrates increase the level of insulin, which triggers the development of bad LDL cholesterol.

3. Eat heart-healthy foods

Adding plenty of heart-healthy foods to your diet helps naturally improve cholesterol levels. Heart-healthy foods include olive oil, coconut oil, eggs, avocados, nuts, and raw seeds.

4. Practice regular exercise

Exercising regularly promotes a healthy heart. It can also help you lose excess weight and help improve cholesterol levels naturally. If you don’t exercise regularly or rarely, start with walking. Gradually increase to a program that includes strength training and high intensity exercise.

5. Reduce stress level

Stress can have a negative impact on your health, your weight, and your cholesterol levels. Find a way to handle stress. One of the best ways to reduce stress levels is to  improve the quality of your sleep.

6. Improve your quality of sleep

Your body needs an adequate amount of sleep to function and to keep things running smoothly. Ensuring a good night’s sleep each night will help reduce stress levels and normalize your insulin levels.

7. Avoid alcohol or excessive tobacco

Both alcohol and tobacco negatively affect your health, including high levels of bad cholesterol. Alcohol is high in carbohydrates, which affects insulin levels. Tobacco temporarily raises your blood pressure, which has a negative effect on your arterial system.

8. Replace vegetable oils with healthy fats

Vegetable oils and synthetic trans fats should be replaced with healthy fats that include omega-3s for a cholesterol-friendly diet. Try olive oil and coconut oil instead.

9. Eat fermented foods

The fermented foods  can help boost your immune system , creating a healthier body in general. Increasing the beneficial bacteria in your gut can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Try fermented vegetables like cabbage, kale, and carrots, along with tempeh, natto, and kimchee.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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