Keeping a lid on cholesterol is always a boon for health, but if you focus on lowering bad cholesterol (or LDL), you can actually avoid common complications related to Covid-19.
Now, a new report from the Scripps Research Institute suggests high cholesterol in tissues can increase coronavirus severity. “Lowering ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol is a smart way to cut the risks of heart disease and COVID-19 complications”, explains Mark Menolascino, M.D.
Dip into guacamole.
Avocados are high in fiber, which binds to LDL during digestion, eliminating it from the body, explains Dr. Menolascino, director of the Meno Clinic and author of Heart Solution for Women. Plus, the “good” fats found in this fruit tamp down the liver’s production of LDL. The result: In a Penn State study, one avocado per day lowered participants’ LDL levels by 13.5 points, more than twice as much as others who consumed a low-fat diet.
Sip this water.
Fizzy mineral water does more than quench your thirst: The salts and bicarbonates it contains enhance fat metabolism to speed the body’s excretion of bad cholesterol, say Spanish researchers in The Journal of Nutrition. Their study found that women who sipped four cups daily cut LDL cholesterol by as much as 15 percent.
Curl up on the couch.
Weight training prods your liver to burn cholesterol for energy so effectively that just three weekly sessions can cut your LDL by 14 points in six weeks, according to a study in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. And you don’t have to go to the gym — arm curls and leg lifts as you watch TV can do the trick!
Chill with citrus.
Love iced tea? Go for Earl Grey! It gets its flavor from the citrus bergamot. Italian researchers found folks who took 1,000 mg. of bergamot extract daily for a month dropped LDL by 41 percent — that’s better than statins! Try: Solaray Advanced Formula Bergamot 500 mg. ($17.99, Buy at iHerb.com). Note: Check with a doctor before supplementing.
Chuckle to Cheers.
Tuning in to reruns of your favorite sitcom can lift levels of HDL, the ‘good’ cholesterol that protects your heart and health. In a study at Loma Linda University in California, folks who watched 30 minutes of laugh-provoking videos daily increased HDL by 26 percent.
If your cholesterol is high, or if you’re trying to maintain a healthy level, the more you know the better. Using a home cholesterol test kit is a great way to keep track of your numbers in between doctor visits. We’ve rounded up the top three home cholesterol test kits, so you can keep your levels in check.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.