Having high cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, both of which can prove to be fatal. And that’s not all, high levels of this lipid have other dangerous and fatal complications as well. There are so many cholesterol lowering foods advocated on the web that lower your cholesterol naturally. But, I have narrowed down and made a list of eight that work best and do the job quickly.

These are in addition to the foods incorporated in the specially formulated diet for raised cholesterol. It is also necessary that you avoid foods that are high in cholesterol content. You don’t want to neutralize your efforts of following your cholesterol-lowering program. You should, therefore, adopt certain simple lifestyle changes also that will make your efforts succeed like a dream, without drugs.

This natural four-pronged attack, if followed religiously, succeeds in about 70 percent of the people with a cholesterol problem.

The goal of these natural measures is to avoid cholesterol-lowering medications such as statins, which usually are a lifelong commitment once started. Secondly, statins are associated with side effects, which include liver and muscle damage and neurological problems.

Having stressed the need to lower your raised levels within normal limits, it may seem to you that cholesterol is the worst thing to consume. That is wrong. Cholesterol is not just necessary but very essential for your body in view of the essential functions it performs. All it asks is to be kept within the desirable values.

Cholesterol-lowering foods 

If your bad cholesterol (LDL) levels are found raised above normal levels, your doctor will first advise you of certain natural ways and cholesterol-lowering foods to bring the levels within the normal range.

This is because, as mentioned above, cholesterol medicines have to be taken throughout life and can also cause side effects.

The following are eight foods that help to reduce raised cholesterol levels naturally:

1. Drink an adequate quantity of water

Chronic high cholesterol levels tend to thicken the blood and narrow the arterial lumen reducing blood flow to various parts of the body including the heart, thereby raising the risk of heart attack.

Cholesterol is a wax-type substance and excess of it sticks to the inner walls of the arteries narrowing their lumen and hardening them. This is called atherosclerosis.

Again, less water intake can lead to dehydration. Chronic dehydration makes the blood acidic. It may increase your blood cholesterol levels because your body produces more of it and deposits it within cell membranes to maintain flexibility and prevent the cells from getting dehydrated and avoid further loss of water.

Those who do not drink water for as few as 12 hours have shown an increase of 8% in the total and bad cholesterol in their blood. Drinking water reverses dehydration and brings down the raised levels.

Maintaining a good water intake can actually thin the blood and smoothen the blood circulation.

Again, if you are following the prescribed rules of diet, exercise, and an improved lifestyle, you need to compensate the loss of water through sweat due to your exercise by drinking more water.

Drink about 3 to 4 liters of water every day, evenly spaced out.  And educate yourself about the wonderful benefits of drinking an adequate amount of water every day. They are almost therapeutic.

2. Garlic and cholesterol reduction

 Eat one clove of raw garlic every day either with lunch or dinner and wait for its benefits. Alternatively, you can boil one garlic clove in a glass of milk, cool it, and drink it.

Studies have proved that eating less than half a clove of raw garlic every day can lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels by up to 20 mg/dL in humans.

Garlic contains certain supplements like niacin that boost the levels of HDL, the good cholesterol, by more than 30 percent.

The cholesterol-lowering properties of garlic appear to be dose-dependent – meaning the more of it you consume, the more it will lower your total and bad cholesterol levels.

3. Red onions for cholesterol

Eating raw red onions or their extract with lunch and/or dinner also works well to lower your cholesterol naturally. But, eat them raw because raw onions offer more nutrition than eating them cooked. Secondly, red onions contain more antioxidants than white onions.

The cholesterol-reducing property of red onions is attributed to its specific flavonoid quercetin, an antioxidant that reduces the LDL in the blood and retains the HDL levels. Triglyceride levels largely remain unaffected.

Eating one red onion every day can increase your HDL levels by 30 percent in a span of three months.

Red onions also make the platelets in the blood less sticky thereby preventing them from clumping together and forming clots, which tends to happen due to a high saturated fat diet.

4. Coriander seeds

Coriander seeds are extracted from the fruit of the plant. Add two teaspoons of coriander seeds to a glass of water. Cool this mix, filter it, and drink 2 to 3 times a day.

According to the National Library of Medicine, Coriandrum sativum (Coriander) has been established as the traditional treatment for cholesterol as well as diabetes.

Research conducted showed that eating coriander seeds regularly is good for patients with high cholesterol. They help decrease the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and increase that of high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

5. Cinnamon, ginger, and honey – a potent combination for lowering cholesterol

A combination of honey and cinnamon is a powerful health potion. Add to it some ginger and you get a potent cholesterol-lowering food combination.

Boil 2 oz of cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon, some ginger, and one tablespoon of honey in about one liter of water (about 5 cups). Drink it warm.

This is a powerful health mix incorporating the health benefits of all three ingredients, each of which is rich in nutrients and antioxidants by itself.

Each of these has a cholesterol-lowering property; the mix just adds a synergistic action, meaning the effect of this mix is more than the sum total of the individual effects. Check out the potency of each of these:

  • Cinnamon has shown significant potential in lowering cholesterol as well as blood sugar. In a study on type 2 diabetic patients, ¼ to ½ cinnamon powder taken daily reduced triglycerides by up to 30 percent, total cholesterol by up to 26%, and LDL by up to 26 percent in a matter of weeks. Though higher doses reduce the lipid levels more, it is best to stick to smaller doses to avoid its side effects.
  • Ginger extract can have dramatic effects on cardiovascular health. It lowers LDL levels and prevents atherosclerosis formation by preventing the oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL). It is the oxidized LDL cholesterol that is responsible for the formation of atherosclerosis.
  • Honey is well known for its all-around health benefits. It is emerging as a non-drug option to help reduce your cholesterol values and normalize your cholesterol ratios. Research indicates that consuming about one and a half tablespoons of honey for 30 days lowered total cholesterol by 3 percent in one study while by 8 percent in another. Similarly, LDL was lowered by 5.8 percent and 11 percent in each of the studies. In both studies, honey also increased the levels of HDL by 3.3 percent and 2 percent.

6. Sweet neem or curry leaves

Neem leaf is an antioxidant, providing immense overall health benefits. You can chew its leaves (Azadirachta indica) or take it in the form of its extract, or as neem tea or as neem capsules. Also called Kari pattha, these leaves are used in Indian cooking regularly.

Neem reduces both cholesterol and high blood pressure. In addition, it reduces clotting, slows down a rapid or abnormally high heartbeat and prevents irregular heart rhythms.

Studies have been conducted on the properties of the neem with alcoholic neem extracts and they have shown encouraging results. The neem alcoholic extract has a fast action; it reduced cholesterol levels by about 30 percent within two hours and kept them low for another four hours.

Since neem is a safe herb in low doses, it is best to stabilize your levels by drinking neem tea every day for a month.

7. Sprouted fenugreek seeds

Adding a preparation of sprouted fenugreek seeds to your food will also help in lowering cholesterol blood levels. Fenugreek increases the secretion of bile and inhibits the absorption of cholesterol from the intestines.

To make up for the increased secretion of the bile into the intestine, the liver makes more of the bile for which cholesterol is needed. It takes this extra requirement of cholesterol from the blood, thereby reducing its blood levels.

Fenugreek reduces LDL and triglycerides and improves HDL levels.

In the morning, you can take a handful of fenugreek seeds soaked overnight or one tablespoon of powdered fenugreek seeds with milk in the morning.

Another good way is to add crushed fenugreek seeds to a cup of water with honey and drink it up as fenugreek tea. Consume daily.

8. Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds contain phytosterols, which are similar in chemical structure to cholesterol. Because of this similarity, both battle for absorption from the intestines into the bloodstream.

More absorption of phytosterols leads to cholesterol not being absorbed. It is then excreted bringing down its levels in the blood.

Secondly, hulled sunflower seeds do not contain any cholesterol, but they do contain fats. These are the dietary fats, which are the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats belonging to the healthy fats category. Polyunsaturated fatty acids include both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They too, contribute to bringing down the cholesterol levels.

Sunflower seeds provide a healthy source of fatty acids in the form of linoleic acid. It lowers the total, LDL and VLDL cholesterols and raises the HDL levels. Regular intake of sunflower seeds can exhibit the cholesterol-lowering effect within three weeks giving you an improved lipid profile over time.