Mmmm ... sardines lightly floured and pan fried in olive oil.

Mmmm … sardines lightly floured and pan fried in olive oil.

Top-3 Drug-Free Ways to Lower High Cholesterol
  1. Don’t Smoke. A given, I hope.
  2. Exercise for 30 minutes most every day.
  3. Eat healthfully. Consider this when you’re storing food. Just because it’s stored doesn’t mean it has to be bad for you. Of course, fruits and vegetables are always great. But other heart-healthy foods include:
    • Oatmeal.
    • Fish. Salmon and sardines are two of the best. Others are halibut, tuna, mackerel, herring, and lake trout.
    • Nuts—especially walnuts and almonds.
    • Flaxseed and edamame (soybeans).
    • Oils. They need to be liquid vegetable, if possible—polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. Olive oil is one of the best. Canola oil is good.
Natural Supplements That May Lower High Cholesterol
  1. Garlic. This food is good for so many things. One is lowering your cholesterol a little. The dosage is one clove (that’s one segment of the whole bulb) once or twice a day OR garlic extract, 200-400 mg, three times a day.

    5 Natural Ways to Lower Cholesterol (including garlic) | The Survival DoctorGarlic may have side effects and can interact with other medicines such as blood thinners and birth control pills. Read here for details.
  2. Red yeast rice. Be careful with this one. It contains the same ingredients as in statins, which are the most popular prescription medicines for lowering blood pressure. The problem is, there’s no way of telling how much of a statin dose you’re getting with red yeast rice. One small study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found 1,800 mg twice a day significantly lowered cholesterol.

    Never combine red yeast rice with or substitute it for prescription medicine without asking your doctor. As with prescription statins, it’s a good idea to take about 90-110 mg of coenzyme Q10 with it since it can deplete this enzyme. Don’t take it if pregnant or breastfeeding. Here’s more on safety and side effects.

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Cholesterol-lowering prescription medicine is more standardized and consistent in lowering your cholesterol than supplements. There are several cheaper generic versions of some of the statins now. I wouldn’t recommend taking a cholesterol-lowering supplement without checking with your doctor first.

Have any of you tried supplements? How did they work? Also, about the fish, oils, nuts, flaxseed, and such: Does anyone have tips on how to store these and how long they’re safe to eat?

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Sardines photo via Flickr/Ignotus the Mage.