When you discover your cholesterol levels are higher than they should be, it's natural to want to solve the issue – and fast. So, how do you reduce cholesterol quickly, and exactly how quickly can you (realistically) do it? Here’s our six step guide.
How to reduce cholesterol – fast
The first thing you need to know is that while it’s possible to lower your cholesterol, and fast, you can’t reduce it significantly overnight. There’s no magic bullet. But if you set clear targets, and take the right steps, you will get there, and sooner than you might think.
1. Speak to a healthcare professional
First things first, it’s important to make time to talk to a healthcare professional (such as your GP) about how to lower cholesterol fast. They’ll lay out ways to change your diet and lifestyle to reach your cholesterol goal.
They may also prescribe statins, a kind of cholesterol lowering medication. You can find out more about statins and how soon you can expect to see a difference in the British Heart Foundation interview here.
2. Make a plan to lower cholesterol fast
If you want to lower cholesterol levels quickly, it’s a good idea to explore all the avenues available. Set goals based on your current levels and where you’d like them to be. Then take a look at the changes you might need to make to get there.
So: Is your diet balanced? Are you at a healthy weight? Are you doing enough physical activity? Could you be eating more of the foods that lower cholesterol fast? Download our 21 Day Challenge Tips Sheet for helpful ideas, then make a personal game plan.
3. Balance your diet
If you’re interested in using your diet and food to lower cholesterol fast, your first step should be to make sure you’re eating a balanced diet overall, with plenty of fruit and veg. Not sure where to start? Check out our guide to getting a balanced diet.
4. Try foods that reduce cholesterol fast
Flora ProActiv’s range of spreads, skimmed milk drinks, and mini drinks all contain plant sterols, a natural cholesterol lowering ingredient that can bring levels down by 7-10% in 2-3 weeks*.
All you need to do is eat 1.5 - 2.4g of plant sterols a day – that’s three servings of Flora ProActiv spread (where a serving is 2 tsp), three servings of milk (250 ml), or just the one mini drink.
5. Get active
People who are overweight or obese are more likely to have elevated cholesterol levels, so it’s good to include exercise in your cholesterol lowering plan. Plus, physical activity provides lots of other benefits, too.
If you’re not naturally sport-inclined, it’s a good idea to spend a few weeks experimenting with a range of different activities until you find one that makes you smile. After all, exercise should be fun – not torture. Why not try a local dancing class, get out in the garden, or go for a brisk walk? Anything that gets you up and moving counts. Just remember: if you’re trying something very new and different for you, it’s worth checking with your healthcare professional before it trying out.
6. Try some tasty fat swaps
If you’re looking for the best food to lower cholesterol fast, there’s one thing we haven’t covered yet: unsaturated fats. Cutting down on foods high in saturated fat, and replacing them with foods containing unsaturated fat, can really help to bring your levels down**. Find out more here.
That’s it! Just remember: while it’s natural to want to know how to lower cholesterol fast, it’s best not to get carried away! Most things will take at least a few weeks to really make an impact, and (just like anything when it comes to health) it’s important not to go to extremes. Instead, make small changes your diet and lifestyle that’ll give you better, more sustainable results in the long run.
Why not start by downloading our helpful Cholesterol Lowering Starter Kit? You’ll get loads of information and motivation to stay on track.
* Flora ProActiv contains plant sterols. A daily intake of 1.5 – 2.4g sterols can lower cholesterol by 7 – 10% in 2 – 3 weeks as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle including plenty of fruits and vegetables. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease. As coronary heart disease has many risk factors, more than one may need to be improved to reduce overall risk. Individual results may vary.
** Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats in the diet has been shown to lower blood cholesterol.