How to Lower Cholesterol Naturally

How to Lower Cholesterol Naturally

If you’re searching for how to lower cholesterol naturally, you’ve come to the right place.

If you like, you can scroll straight down to the diet list of foods and supplements that naturally lower cholesterol.

But I do recommend reading the whole article to get a full picture of the problem and solution.

I’ve searched through research and listened to many experts who are on the cutting edge of this topic.

I’ve also experimented on myself after discovering my lipids were a mess.

This article is what I’ve discovered to be most useful and important.

*Note, I am not a doctor. This article is my opinion based on what I’ve seen and experienced and is not medical advice. You should always consult your doctor before taking any supplements, making dietary changes, or analyzing lab results.

There are some affiliate links in this article. All are products I’ve tried and believe can benefit you

Ok, that’s out of the way. Now let’s move on.

Why I’m Passionate About this Topic

A while back, I got some deep bloodwork done through a company called Marek Health.

I’d never really paid much attention to my cholesterol before, and assumed I was in great health.

I eat well (I thought), work out all the time, and feel good.

By outward appearances, I looked perfectly healthy and strong.

The results from the bloodwork shocked me.

My lipids (cholesterol) were a mess, my glucose levels were high and by all measures I was at a high risk for cardiovascular disease and pre-diabetes.

This led me down a path of getting as much information as I could to fix the problem asap.

And that’s exactly what I did.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is essentially a type of lipid (fat). It is a waxy substance that is made by the liver.

Cholesterol is made by the body because it is extremely important.

It is used by the body for everything from making hormones, to creating new cells.

The first thing to understand is that cholesterol is not “bad.”

It is actually vital, and you literally could not survive without it.

In fact, there are studies showing that certain types of cholesterol can be protective against diseases like Alzheimers.

The Framingham Study

Most of the current beliefs surrounding Cholesterol come from what is known as the Framingham Study.

The conclusion of this study was essentially that high cholesterol is bad and is predictor of heart disease.

This is known as the “lipid hypothesis” of heart disease.

The study further divided cholesterol into “good” HDL cholesterol, and “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Major Flaws and Ulterior Motives

foods to lower cholesterol naturally

As with any study, it is very important not to just take its conclusions as objective truth.

The Framingham study has many flaws.

A great critique of it can be found here in more depth if you want to go deep down the rabbit hole.

From how it was funded, to the bias of those carrying out the study, to the fact that it’s a purely observational study (which can never be used to prove causation).

Despite many shortcomings, this study is still the reason your doctor will put you on statin drugs with an outdated and misinterpreted cholesterol test.

Statin drugs are one of the best-selling drugs on the market, and one of the biggest money-makers for pharmaceutical companies.

So obviously, contradicting the notion that cholesterol is the boogey-man is going to be bad for business…

Unfortunately, statin drugs come with a host of undesirable side effects, such as:

  • Increased blood Sugar and Diabetes (study here)
  • Severe Muscle Damage and/or pain (see here)
  • CoQ10 Depletion, which can damage heart function (see here)
  • Neurophathy (weakness, tingling, pain in the hands/feet)

The point of this first section is to highlight two important things:

  1. Cholesterol is not in itself bad and has to be analyzed deeper. Traditional tests do NOT do this.
  2. Statins are handed out like candy to anyone with even moderate cholesterol levels. This is more due to profits and ignorance than actual benefit to a given individual.

Logic and Reason

When I say that cholesterol is not “bad,” what I mean is this:

First, your body would not produce something and place such a high priority on it, with such complex mechanisms, if it was not extremely important and beneficial.

Second, we need to look deeper into our cholesterol to understand which parts are actually harming us and which are beneficial or benign.

And last, it is our diet and lifestyle that cause our cholesterol to become problematic, and it is probably fixable for most people without prescription medication.

This is where an advanced lipid panel comes in.

Before we discuss diet to lower cholesterol, we need to get an accurate picture of what our cholesterol profile looks like.

Below is my original lipid panel done through Marek Health. It was not pretty, as I said.

cholesterol lipid panel

Advanced Lipid Panel.

To get an accurate picture of your lipids, you have to get an advanced panel.

The way most doctors are using the old method is unacceptable, as we know that we can easily get a much more accurate picture with additional measurements.

In my opinion, the old panel is used as it continues to allow the prescribing of the statin drugs. It’s part of the profit machine.

Most doctors are probably just taking the safe route and following the “standard of care,” in which case they are free from liability by prescribing statins for “high” cholesterol, as it is the accepted norm.

They should be discussing a diet to lower cholesterol, including lifestyle changes, before handing out medications.

The Real Cause of Heart Disease

heart disease picture

While we’ve allowed cholesterol to be deemed the boogeyman in relation to heart disease, there’s another monster lurking in the shadows.

That monster is insulin resistance.

It is estimated that over 10% of the US population is diabetic, and up to 2/3 are pre-diabetic.

This is NOT natural. It’s a symptom of a massive problem in our society.

The majority of people with diabetes will eventually develop cardiovascular disease.

This means that through a poor diet and lack of exercise, our bodies have become full of inflammation and resistant to insulin, one of the most important hormones in the body.

When you eat sugars (carbohydrates), Insulin clears that sugar from the blood and stores it away inside cells. When you’re resistant, you cannot properly deal with that sugar.

The result is constant inflammation and oxidative stress, among other things.

Heart disease is an inflammatory disease.

The real enemies are sugar, dangerously unhealthy oils, and unhealthy chemicals in our food that cause all of this inflammation and stress.

If this article was titled “how to raise your cholesterol and increase risk of heart disease,” the recommendation would literally be the Standard American Diet.

It’s All About Your Diet

Starting with what you put into your body, it all comes full circle.

It goes something like this:

We eat a diet full of unhealthy sugars and carbs, seed oils and chemicals..

This leads to insulin resistance and inflammation, along with oxidative stress.

This inflammation and oxidative stress damages the LDL particles transporting cholesterol around your body, shrinking them.

Those now small LDL particles (Small LDL-P on the test), will wreak havoc on your vascular system and arteries, leading to further inflammation and plaque accumulation.

Further, eating this way can also lower your HDL or “good” cholesterol.

The test actually measures the size of the small LDL particles, giving you a snapshot of how damaged those particles really are, and how dangerous they may be.

LDL on its own is not necessarily “bad.”

The larger LDL particles are healthy and may not cause problems.

It’s the damaged particles that are dangerous, and that’s critical to understand.

A test that doesn’t differentiate between the two is throwing darts in the dark and handing you potentially harmful medication in the process.

Diet to Lower Cholesterol Naturally

diet to lower cholesterol naturally

So now the reason you probably clicked on this post in the first place.

What foods can lower your cholesterol naturally?

Here’s a list, with links to studies that show they work.

Note some similarities in a lot of these;

They often work as antioxidants and/or have anti-inflammatory properties.

This is addressing the root of the problem, as we discussed earlier.

Citrus Bergamot

One of the best supplements to lower cholesterol naturally is Citrus Bergamot.

Bergamot is a citrus fruit native to southern Italy.

Studies have shown that supplementing with Citrus Bergamot can lower both total and LDL cholesterol.

It is thought to be the potency of phytochemicals (flavonoids) that provide this protective effect.

Below is a brand that worked really well for me and is rated very high:


Similar to citrus bergamot, several studies (like this one) have shown that Red Grapefruit (about 1 per day) can reduce triglycerides.

This is likely due to the antioxidants present, including naringenin, a powerful antioxidant.

(note, grapefruit can interact with some medications, so make sure to consult your doctor)

You can also get Naringenin as a supplement, if you don’t want to consume grapefruits every day.


Studies have consistently shown that Berberine can reduce LDL and Triglycerides by 20-50 mg/dl.

Berberine is made from the bark, roots and stems of certain plants, so it is natural.

Here is a link to a high quality Berberine Supplement.

Olive Oil

Studies have shown that olive oil can reduce total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides, as well as increase HDL more than any other plant oil.

I believe the reason for this is the way it is made.

Other oils like canola and vegetable oil are heavily processed.

If you don’t believe me, check out this YouTube Video on how Canola oil is made (gross).

Cold Pressed, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made by simply pressing the oil from the olives. That’s it.

It’s important to only buy good olive oil (cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil should be the ONLY ingredient.)

Here’s a good one off Amazon:


Garlic has been shown by several studies (like this one) to lower both total and LDL cholesterol by up to 10%.

While the mechanism is not fully understood, it is thought that compounds in garlic inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver.

Eating about 1-2 cloves/day should do the trick.

You can also blend garlic, olive oil and lemon juice to make an extremely heart-healthy dressing.

Of course, if you don’t like garlic, you can always take it in supplement form.

Cod Liver Oil

Cod Liver Oil is a rich source of Omega-3 Fatty acids (DHA and EPA).

Many studies have shown the effectiveness of Omega-3 at reducing inflammation and “bad” cholesterol..

Our typical diets are low in omega 3’s, so making this addition can have a profound effect on your lipids and inflammation levels.

This is the one I use (pure ingredients, no fillers, just cod liver oil and lemon).

Lower Your Sugar Intake Dramatically

If you’re eating the SAD diet (Standard American Diet), you are probably consuming a ton of carbohydrate and sugars.

As we already discussed, this is leading to insulin resistance, inflammation and oxidative stress in your body.

Eating healthier fats and cutting out a lot of those carbohydrates will lower insulin levels and go a long way to fixing your cholesterol issue, and probably other issues as well.

Here is a fascinating study where people were put on a carbohydrate restricted diet for 12 weeks.

At the end of 12 weeks, their lipid panels were dramatically improved.

The Large LDL particles (good) increased in size and number, and the small (harmful) LDL particles decreased.

This has incredibly powerful implications for improving your risk for cardiovascular disease.


Avocados are naturally full of monounsaturated fats.

Eating about 1 avocado a day (along with avoiding processed foods and sugar) can help raise your HDL cholesterol.

Avocados are one solid way you can replace carbs/sugars with healthy fats and see progress.

Cardiovascular Fitness

This discussion would not be complete without at least mentioning this.

Studies show that increasing cardiovascular fitness has a positive effect on lipid profiles.

It also has been shown to reduce all-cause mortality (higher cardiovascular fitness means you’re less likely to die from just about everything.)

By combining increased cardiovascular fitness with an improved diet, you’ll have a very solid plan of attack.

Final Thoughts on how to lower cholesterol naturally.

The overarching theme of this article is pretty clear.

Profits often dictate a lot in our current world. Reliance on pharmaceutical products and the widespread consuming of garbage foods is a symptom of that fact.

The root of much of our cholesterol and heart problems lies in what we eat.

Insulin resistance, inflammation and oxidative stress are wreaking havoc on our bodies.

But, we can take steps to combat the problem.

Through eating the right foods, taking the right supplements, avoiding processed foods, sugar and chemicals, you can see dramatic improvements in health, which are likely to be reflected on your lipid panels.

For some people who have genetic disorders and simply cannot control their cholesterol, statins may provide enormous benefit.

But for the majority of us, it’s lifestyle changes that are long overdue.

Hope you enjoyed this one, leave a comment and let me know!

Here’s another article you might find interesting: How to Get Lean Fast

Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson

ISSA Tactical Conditioning Specialist, creator of Forged Female and Swole Town Training programs, author of Former Army 11B Infantryman. Coach, Husband, Father, Brother, Son, Friend.

How to Lower Your Resting Heart Rate.

How to Lower Your Resting Heart Rate.

Want to lower you resting heart rate? Let’s break it all down. (5 minute read)

If you enjoy this article, check out my training programs that can take your physique and fitness to the next level.

Your resting heart rate (RHR) is one of the best indicators of your level of fitness, resilience and cardiovascular health.

A lower resting heart rate indicates that your heart is able to pump more blood per beat (Stroke Volume), and thus does not have to beat as frequently to keep up.

In short, the heart is less stressed 24/7.

The Law of Specificity

The common advice to lower your resting heart rate is to just “exercise.”

I see a lot of people advocating this and other copy-and-paste sounding tips.

But there’s nothing specific about that at all. Not all exercise is going to lower your resting heart rate.

Before we get to how you can lower your resting heart rate, there are a few topics that need to be understood:

(or just skip to the methods)

How to Properly Measure Your Resting Heart Rate

First things first.

To lower your resting heart rate, you need to be able to accurately measure and track it over time.

Your heart rate is affected by many things throughout the day.

Any form of stress, physical or mental, can increase sympathetic nervous system activity and increase your heart rate.

For this reason, to get an accurate resting heart rate, you should measure it first thing in the morning, before you drink your coffee or start scrolling social media.

Ideally, you should measure it in bed or seated in a chair within 5 minutes or so of waking up.

Use a Heart Rate Monitor to measure your resting heart rate

heart rate monitor wrist

The most accurate way to measure your resting heart rate is with a heart rate monitor.

A chest strap, like the Polar H10, is going to be the most accurate.

If you’re serious about lowering your resting heart rate, get a decent monitor, it is worth it.

You can also use wrist sensors, like a fitbit or smartwatch, which are slightly less accurate but still better than trying to measure your pulse with your fingers.

This can become part of a daily routine where you wake up and immediately check your resting heart rate.

Free apps like Elite HRV can keep track of your HR data over time for free (or keep a log yourself)

Keep Track of Your Resting Heart Rate Over Time

If you want to lower your resting heart rate, you need to keep track of it on a regular basis.

This way you can see if your resting heart rate is trending in the right direction.

Using free apps on your phone, you can easily measure and save your daily HR data to analyze.

This takes approximately 3 minutes of your time each morning or less.

Stroke Volume and Cardiac Output

cardiac output and stroke volume

There are 2 important concepts to understand in regards to lowering your resting heart rate:

Stroke Volume

Stroke volume can be defined as the amount of blood your heart pumps with each beat.

If your heart can pump more blood per beat, it will need to beat less frequenty.

Cardiac Output

Cardiac output can be defined as the total amount of blood pumped by the heart over one minute.

So, stroke volume x heart rate = cardiac output.

If you increase stroke volume, your heart rate can decrease while still pumping the same amount of blood.

This means your heart will have gotten stronger and more efficient, resulting in a lower resting heart rate.

Which Athletes have the Lowest Resting Heart Rates?

lower resting heart rate athletes

If you want to know how to lower your RHR, you should take a look at which athletes tend to have the lowest.

Endurance athletes can have RHR in the low 40’s, which is a direct result of the cumulative adaptations to their training.

Athletes in endurance sports demonstrate the lowest resting heart rates, so logically you would want to take a look at how they train to see how they got there.

Endurance athletes typically train with 80% low/moderate intensity, and 20% high intensity aerobic exercise.

The low resting heart rates associated with endurance athletes are a direct result of improved cardiac output. This is gained through frequently repeated, longer duration, low to moderate intensity cardiovascular training.

How to Work Out to Lower Your Resting Heart Rate

how to work out

I think most people know that regular exercise can lower your RHR.

Few, however, understand the correct methods and how they actually work.

1. Cardiac Output Method

The cardiac output method uses moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise performed for 30-90 minutes, 3-6 times per week.

The most important thing to understand is that you must keep your heart rate within a specific range to reap the cardiac output benefits from the training.

Keeping the heart rate between about 130-150 bpm allows the heart to completely fill with blood for each beat.

Raising your heart rate beyond this range will have your heart pumping too fast to fill up, causing a different set of adaptations, and not improved cardiac output.

Improving your cardiac output abilities will result in a lower resting heart rate.

In order to reap those benefits, you must train specifically for them.

Here’s a snapshot of how to improve resting heart rate through cardiac output workout sessions.

  • 30-90 minutes of continuous exercise
  • Heart rate 130-150 beats per minute for the duration
  • 3-5 sessions per week, depending on your fitness level.
  • Can use any cardiovascular activity: running, elliptical, circuit training, etc…

Benefits of Cardiac Output Training

heart rate best approach

This form of training has many benefits, both for performance and for overall health.

A lower RHR has been shown by multiple studies (1) (2) to decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.

A stronger heart is simply under far less stress than a weaker heart struggling to supply the body with oxygen and nutrients.

Some of the benefits of improved cardiac output:

  • Lower resting heart rate
  • Increased size of the left ventricle of the heart
  • Improved recovery abilities
  • Improved endurance
  • More energy
  • Lower risk of heart/cardiovascular disease

A 2018 study demonstrated that improved aerobic fitness results in a lower risk of dying from all causes.

This study showed that there was no upper limit to this benefit. Basically, the better your aerobic fitness, the less chance you have of dying, period.

2. Yoga, HRV and the Nervous System

yoga lowers heart rate

Studies have shown that regularly practicing Yoga can result in a decrease in RHR similar to that seen in endurance training.

Yoga is, at it’s core, an active form of meditation. While it may not improve cardiac output or aerobic fitness directly, it has other benefits that are just as powerful.

You can get high quality Yoga Instruction from your own home. Yoga Download is an exceptional service (see below)

Yoga lowers your RHR over time by improving the function of the nervous system.

Specifically, regular Yoga practice has been shown to improve Heart Rate Variability (HRV).

HRV is a measure of how your body is dealing with stress and has a strong correlation to cardiovascular health.

Can HIIT Lower Resting Heart Rate?


High intensity interval training on it’s own will not lower your RHR as effectively as the cardiac output method.

It can definitely serve a complimentary role, however.

HIIT workouts force the heart to work much harder, improving your body’s ability to use oxygen and strengthening the power of the heart muscle.

Read: How HIIT could be sabotaging your fitness

The problem with HIIT is that it is extremely taxing on the body. It takes longer to recover from, and should not be performed more than 2 times per week for most people. You cannot perform HIIT with enough frequency to lower your resting heart rate over time.

To lower your RHR, you need a high frequency of training, usually at least 4-5 days per week.

HIIT is a great training method, but should be used in a complimentary fashion with your higher frequency cardiovascular training.

1-2 HIIT sessions per week is plenty, according to most research and my experience.

The Best Overall Approach to a Lower Your Resting Heart Rate

how to lower your resting heart rate pin

The best overall approach to lower your RHR is:

  1. Focus on cardiac output training, using moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise, 3-5 days per week, for 30-90 minutes per session. Keep the heart rate around 130-150bpm.
  2. 1-2 HIIT sessions/week can be added in to build aerobic power, strengthen the heart and possibly build muscle as well.
  3. Yoga and other forms of active stretching and relaxation can also be used, as they improve our body’s ability to deal with stress, and promote an environment conducive to improved overall fitness and a lower resting heart rate.


Lowering your RHR has enormous upside: Improved fitness, more energy, lower risk of mortality and improved performance.

Using methods shown by research to lower your heart rate at rest will bring you results within a couple of months.

Cardiac output and Yoga are the two methods that, when brought together, can dramatically improve the function of your heart.

I hope you enjoyed this article, and as always… I hope it helped you get a little closer to that best version of you!

Please leave a comment and follow my blog for more great articles.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at

*This article contains affiliate links. If you buy a product, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson

ISSA Tactical Conditioning Specialist. Bioforce Certified Conditioning coach. Creator of Swole Town, Forged Female and Coach, husband, father, brother, son and friend.