High cholesterol can mean a higher risk of heart disease. Controlling your cholesterol levels lowers that risk and gives you an upper hand over potential heart-related complications. (1) Read on to learn how to reduce your bad cholesterol levels in your body and protect your heart from harm.

Cholesterol is an essential fat required by the cells in your body. Not all cholesterol is bad.


lower your cholesterol

Good vs. Bad Cholesterol

The ‘good’ high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol actually helps to manage and control the levels of the ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. (1)

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) causes fatty build-up in the arteries and increases the risk of stroke, arterial blockages, and heart disease. HDL, on the other hand, scavenges the blood vessels and carries away LDL from the arteries to the liver. The liver breaks down the LDL, and it is passed out of the body as waste.

Managing your cholesterol levels involves increasing your regular intake of HDL and lowering your everyday consumption of LDL.


Bad cholesterol is a silent killer as it goes undetected until serious complications arise. The only way to keep track of your blood cholesterol levels is to get regular blood tests done, on an annual or semi-annual basis.

Complications of High Cholesterol

  • Atherosclerosis, deposition of cholesterol and other deposits on your arterial walls.
  • Frequent chest pain or angina caused by reduced blood flow to the heart
  • Pain while walking due to blockage in the artery supplying blood to your veins.
  • Heart attack or stroke

Causes & Risk Factors

Here are some factors that determine your cholesterol levels and also indicate your chances of having high cholesterol:

  • History of early heart disease in your family
  • An immediate family member with high cholesterol levels
  • An inactive or lazy lifestyle
  • If you are overweight, with a BMI of 30 or more
  • If you have Type 2 diabetes
  • If you are a smoker
  • If you have South Asian ancestry
  • If you eat a diet rich in red meat, full-fat dairy products, and saturated vegetable fats.

Testing Your Cholesterol Levels

A high cholesterol level can lead to various heart complications; therefore it becomes important to check your cholesterol levels via lipid profile tests. It is advisable to get regular tests done, once you cross 40.

The following guidelines will help you to properly evaluate the results of your lipid profile blood tests:

Total Cholesterol - should be less than 200 mg/dL

LDL - should be less than 100 mg/dL


HDL (men) - should be over 40 mg/dL

HDL (women) - should be over 60 mg/dL

*Triglycerides - should be less than 150 mg/dl

* A type of fat used by the body to store energy, high levels can cause heart disease.


cholesterol level chart

Home Treatment to Reduce Bad Cholesterol Levels

With some simple diet and lifestyle changes, you can lower the LDL and raise the HDL levels in your blood without medication. Making small changes often makes a big difference over time.

With your cholesterol back on track, you’ll no longer have to rely solely on medications that may have side effects, such as muscle pain, memory loss, and elevated liver enzymes.

It’s about time you made the healthy choice.

Here are 8 ways you can reduce your bad cholesterol level without medication

Method 1: Use Oatmeal

using oatmeal


An average adult should aim for at least 30 grams of fiber each day. Including foods rich in dietary fiber in your diet can help you do just that. Old-fashioned oatmeal is a great source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber can be easily digested by your body, as opposed to insoluble fiber.

Once digested, the soluble fiber binds to the cholesterol and prevents it from getting absorbed into the bloodstream. This helps lower the LDL level in your blood.

A 2014 study published in Lipids and Health Disease conducted on rats suggests that consumption of oats helped in regulating high cholesterol levels in them. (2)

  • Eat 1 to 2 bowls of cooked oatmeal each day to bring about a significant change in your cholesterol levels over time.
  • To make it more appetizing, you can add fresh fruits and nuts as well.

Method 2: Use Garlic

using garlic

Garlic can help you significantly lower your LDL level. (3) It prevents cholesterol from sticking to the artery walls, which prevents clogging of the arteries. It also prevents blood clots and reduces high blood pressure.

The best results come from consuming garlic raw and fresh.

  • Eating 2 to 4 cloves of raw garlic each day may produce significant results over time.
  • If that’s not possible, include 5 to 7 cloves in your daily meals.
  • You can use them as a seasoning or add them to any sauce or dish.
  • Garlic can also be consumed in the form of tablets, capsules, extract or powder, depending on your preference or whichever is available in your nearby stores.

Always check with your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen.

Method 3: Use Cinnamon

Cinnamon doesn’t just make your desserts tasty; it can also help improve your bad cholesterol levels. A 2015 study published in Journal of traditional and Complementary Medicine suggests lower levels of total and LDL cholesterol in subjects who were given 500 mg of water-based cinnamon extract for two months. (4)

While cinnamon alone will not control your cholesterol, including a healthy dose of this spice in your diet can help you manage it.

Cinnamon tea is a great way to enjoy this spice.

Things you’ll need:


  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Water – 1 cup

Step 1. Bring cinnamon sticks and water to a boil

bring cinnamon sticks to a boil

  • Pour 1 cup of water into a pan and add some cinnamon sticks to it.
  • Bring the water to a boil, then let it simmer on low for about 3 minutes.

Cinnamon is available in the market in the form of sticks or powder. You can use either to make cinnamon tea. If using cinnamon powder, use 1 teaspoon per cup of water.

Step 2. Strain and drink the cinnamon tea

strain and drink the tea

  • Strain the cinnamon tea into a glass, through a strainer.
  • You can drink the cinnamon tea while it’s still warm or let it cool first.
  • A dash of honey may be added to improve the taste.

You can also add cinnamon to your diet by sprinkling a little cinnamon powder over your tea, coffee or cereal.


Method 4: Use Coriander

Coriander seeds are the seeds of the much-loved cilantro herb. This spice can be used in whole or powdered form. It is generally used in curries and masalas. (5)

Things you’ll need:


  • Coriander seeds – 1 tablespoon
  • Water – 1 cup

Step 1. Boil coriander seeds in water

boil coriander seeds in water

  • Add 1 cup of water along with 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds to a pan.
  • Bring the water to a boil, then let it simmer on low for about 3 minutes.

If coriander is only available in powder form in the stores near you, you can make this tea using 2 teaspoons of coriander powder for each cup of water.

Step 2. Strain and drink the coriander tea

strain and drink the tea

  • Strain the coriander tea through a strainer.
  • Your cup of coriander tea is ready.

Drink this once or twice a day.

You can also incorporate coriander, whole seeds or powdered, into your cooking to include it in your diet.


Method 5: Use Onions

Onions, especially red onions, have proven to be a worthy adversary to cholesterol. (6) Quercetin, a healthy flavonoid found in the outer skin of the onions, is what balances cholesterol levels. While cooking doesn’t destroy quercetin, it may leach into the cooking liquid. Thus, consuming raw onions is best for lowering cholesterol.

If you don’t fancy chewing on this sharp-tasting, crunchy vegetable, drinking onion juice as a tonic is a good option.

Things you’ll need:


  • Onion, peeled and quartered – 1 medium-sized
  • Honey

Step 1. Puree the onion

Puree the onion

Puree 1 peeled and quartered, medium-sized onion in a blender.

Step 2. Extract the onion juice

extract the onion juice

  • Fold a cheesecloth into a double layer and arrange it over a bowl.
  • Spoon the pureed onion onto the cheesecloth.
  • Bundle up the cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice.

Step 3. Add honey and consume

Add honey and consume

  • Mix an equal amount of honey into the onion juice to make it more beneficial and add a little flavor.

Drink this daily regularly to make an impact on your cholesterol levels.


Method 6: Use Red Yeast Rice

using red yeast rice

Consumed for centuries as food as well as medicine in China, red yeast rice is prepared by fermenting a type of yeast over red rice. In Chinese medicine, it has been known to lower cholesterol as well as improve circulation.

Red yeast rice contains some chemicals that somewhat mimic the effect of the statin medications that doctors often prescribe to reduce high levels of LDL cholesterol. (7)

You can get red yeast rice in tablet form at any good drug store or order it online.

  • The standardized dosage for an adult is 600 mg taken 2 to 4 times a day.

Always check with your doctor before beginning a supplement regimen.

Note: Red yeast rice should not be consumed by people below 20 years of age, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or people with liver problems or kidney disease.

Method 7: Use Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is probably one of the most ancient household remedies still used today. An effective remedy for anything from sniffles and infections to aches and cramps, apple cider vinegar is almost a miracle ingredient. Now, you can also use it to manage your cholesterol levels.

Various animal studies have proven that apple cider vinegar not only lowers LDL levels but also reduces high blood pressure. While consuming apple cider vinegar, you don’t need to worry about any extra calories either. (8)

Things you’ll need:


  • Apple cider vinegar – 1 to 2 tablespoons
  • Warm water – 1 cup

Single-Step Treatment: Drink diluted apple cider vinegar

mix ACV into warm water

  • Pour 1 cup of warm water into a glass.
  • Thoroughly mix in 1 to 2 tablespoons of ACV.
  • Drink the ACV water daily to manage your cholesterol.

Do this on a regular basis.


Method 8: Use Exercise

using exercise

Lifestyle changes including diet and exercise are crucial for your overall cardiovascular health. (9) Everyone knows that exercise is good for a healthy body and heart. It is the manner in which it keeps your heart healthy that’s interesting.

Maintaining a healthy weight and burning off excess fat is one effect brought about by exercise. But exercising can also help significantly reduce your overall cholesterol levels, especially the bad LDL cholesterol.

Exercising helps move the cholesterol from the bloodstream and the walls of the blood vessels to the liver, where it is either excreted or converted into bile to aid digestion. Thus, exercise helps your body naturally use up or expel cholesterol. This, in turn, reduces your risk of cholesterol-related cardiovascular and heart problems.

  • To achieve significant results, engage in vigorous exercise for 30 minutes daily.
  • Vary your workouts with a variety of aerobic exercises that will get your heart pumping, such as running, jogging, cycling, swimming, sports, aerobics classes or even energetic dancing.

Tips to lower high cholesterol

  • Include foods rich in soluble fiber in your diet like oat bran, barley, flaxseeds, Brussels sprouts, beans, prunes, apples, carrots, pears, and avocados.
  • Eliminate trans fats from your diet, as they raise bad LDL cholesterol and lower the good HDL cholesterol levels and put you at greater risk of strokes and heart disease. Avoid trans fats by steering clear of fried, greasy or baked foods like cakes, cookies and frozen pizza.
  • Eat a handful of nuts of your choice daily. All nuts contain sterols that can help manage your cholesterol levels.
  • Consuming fish oil and oily fish can also help you boost your good cholesterol.
  • Prefer lean meats over red meat for your protein intake. Legumes are also a healthy alternative.
  • Spices like curcumin, ginger and black pepper can prove beneficial in maintaining your cholesterol levels as well.
  • Avoiding smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and drinking alcohol only in moderation can help raise your good HDL cholesterol level.
  • Stress and anxiety can boost your LDL cholesterol. Yoga and meditation can help you keep your stress and anxiety in check. You can also engage in laughter therapy to boost your HDL level.
  • A high level of bad cholesterol is only one factor that can lead to heart disease. Diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure and obesity are some other potential causes of heart disease that you shouldn’t ignore.


  1. High cholesterol: Overview. Informed Health Online. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279318/. Published September 7, 2017.
  2. Guo L, Tong L-T, Liu L, Zhong K, Qiu J, Zhou S. The cholesterol-lowering effects of oat varieties based on ... Lipids in Health and Disease. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4271338/. Published 2014.
  3. Wang W, Qin J, YE S. Anti-hyperlipidemia of garlic by reducing the level of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein. Medicine. https://insights.ovid.com/pubmed?pmid=29718835. Published May 1, 2018.
  4. Anderson RA, Zhan Z, Luo R, et al. Cinnamon extract lowers glucose, insulin, and cholesterol ... Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5067830/. Published April 18, 2015.
  5. Sahib NG, Anwar F, Gilani AH, Hamid AA, Saari N, Alkharfy KM. Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.): A Potential Source of High‐Value Components for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals‐ A Review. The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.4897. Published December 19, 2012.
  6. Lee K-H, Park E, Lee H-J. Effects of daily quercetin-rich supplementation on ... Nutrition Research and Practice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3061266/. Published 2011.
  7. Nguyen T, Karl M, Santini A. Red Yeast Rice. Foods. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5368538/. Published March 2017.
  8. Iizuka M, Tani M, Kishimoto Y, Saita E, Toyozaki M, Kondo K. Inhibitory effects of balsamic vinegar on LDL oxidation and lipid accumulation in THP-1 macrophages. Journal of Nutritional Science & Vitaminology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21422711. Published 2010.
  9. Enkhmaa B. Lifestyle Changes: Effect of Diet, Exercise, Functional Food, and Obesity Treatment on Lipids and Lipoproteins. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK326737/. Published September 11, 2018.

Summary of How to Reduce Your Bad Cholesterol Without Medication:

reduce your bad cholesterol

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