What are the best natural remedies for lowering cholesterol?
Medically reviewed by Adam Bernstein, MD, ScD on January 26, 2023
Your body needs cholesterol for essential functions like building cells, hormones, and bile. But too much cholesterol in your blood can affect your health.
In addition to lifestyle measures and prescription medications for cholesterol, some remedies you can use at home might also help lower your cholesterol levels.
Still, keep in mind that research on home remedies is not always reliable. Before trying any home remedies, discuss your treatment options with a doctor.
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Here are 5 natural remedies for high cholesterol you can consider trying.
1. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). Experts generally believe that MUFAs can improve heart health. According to a 2021 review, one way they may do so is by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Certain nuts and seeds are particularly rich in these important fatty acids, including:
- pumpkin seeds
- sesame seeds
- peanut oil
So, for a tasty, natural way to support healthy cholesterol levels, try tossing homemade salads with peanut oil, adding some fragrant sesame oil to your stir-fries, and enjoying an almond butter sandwich for a simple snack between meals.
2. Herbs and spices
Fresh or dried herbs and spices are a fantastic way to add flavor and aroma to your meals. Plus, some taste-enhancing additions may help get your cholesterol levels back in check.
In fact, a 2019 review suggests that various herbs and spices can help lower your cholesterol levels.
For a home remedy that goes well with both sweet and savory dishes, try adding some cinnamon to your recipes. In addition to a wealth of other health benefits, cinnamon may reduce cholesterol in the blood.
Another popular staple associated with cholesterol-lowering effects is ginger. If you already keep fresh or dried ginger in your kitchen, why not add it to your cooking for some heart health benefits?
Along with cinnamon and ginger, home remedies from your spice rack that may lower cholesterol include:
3. Beans and legumes
Beans and legumes are filling, affordable, and tasty. They may also work as a home remedy to improve your cholesterol levels.
These starchy foods are rich in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is a nutrient associated with weight loss, improved blood sugar, and — you guessed it — reduced cholesterol.
To reap their many benefits, try cooking up:
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4. Fatty fish
Fatty fish are rich in heart-healthy long-chain (LC) omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish include:
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), fish oils can lower your triglyceride (fat) levels and may reduce some heart problems, especially in people who do not have much omega-3 in their diets.
The ODS says that eating fish and other seafood can support your heart health, especially when you eat them instead of less healthy foods. Their protective effects are stronger in people who have coronary heart disease.
If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet or if you have seafood allergies, you can get LC omega-3 fatty acids from supplements that contain algal oil.
5. Onion and garlic
Like fatty fish, many people say that onion and garlic are effective options to lower cholesterol.
Whether enjoyed fresh or dried or taken as supplements, evidence of their effectiveness is promising. Still, research — including 2018 and 2021 reviews — says more robust research is needed to clarify exactly how these aromatic options may improve heart health.
As long as you’re not afraid of bad breath, don’t hesitate to add onion and garlic to your recipes for potential cholesterol-lowering benefits.
Looking for a meal plan that can help with hypertension? You can find some cholesterol-lowering recipes here.
Medications for high cholesterol
Elevated cholesterol levels are generally managed through lifestyle measures and prescription medication.
The type and strength of medications used depend on factors like age, overall health, and lifestyle.
Below are some common medications used for high cholesterol, though more options are available:
- Statins: These drugs stop cholesterol from forming in your body. Statins are generally well tolerated, with few side effects.
- Bempedoic acid: This is a newer drug that works similarly to statins.
- Absorption inhibitors: Absorption inhibitors like ezetimibe work by stopping cholesterol absorption in your gut after eating.
- PCSK9 inhibitors: These medications lower your levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
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When to talk with a doctor
If a doctor has given you a diagnosis of high cholesterol or you suspect that you may have high cholesterol based on family history or symptoms of high cholesterol, it’s best to consider seeing a doctor.
A doctor can help you:
- identify the severity of your condition
- discuss suitable prescription medications
- talk through home remedies you may consider trying
- support lifestyle changes to improve your overall health
When looking for home remedies to improve your cholesterol levels, there are many options to consider. The almost countless supplements and prescription medications on the market only add to the confusion.
Popular options with research to support their cholesterol-lowering effects include:
- fatty fish
- nuts and seeds
- onion and garlic
- beans and legumes
- certain herbs and spices
If you already keep some of these at home, consider adding them to your daily diet for a tasty, nourishing health boost.
That said, it’s always best to discuss your condition, treatment, and any concerns with your doctor to ensure you’re not missing out on the most suitable options — whether they’re related to home remedies, prescription medication, lifestyle, or a combination.
- Cholesterol medications. (2020). https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/prevention-and-treatment-of-high-cholesterol-hyperlipidemia/cholesterol-medications
- von Eckardstein A, et al. (2022). Prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-86076-9
- Feingold KR. (2021). The effect of diet on cardiovascular disease and lipid and lipoprotein levels. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK570127/
- Huang W, et al. (2021). Effect of onion on blood lipid profile: A meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8269690/
- Jiang TA. (2019). Health benefits of culinary herbs and spices. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Alan-Jiang/publication/330443715_Health_Benefits_of_Culinary_Herbs_and_Spices/links/5c8a680fa6fdcc3817540462/Health-Benefits-of-Culinary-Herbs-and-Spices.pdf
- Navar AM, et al. (2018). Prevalence and management of symptoms associated with statin therapy in community practice. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.117.004249
- Omega-3 fatty acids [Fact sheet]. (2022). https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/
- Schade DS, et al. (2020). Cholesterol review: A metabolically important molecule. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33471744/
- Sun Y-E, et al. (2018). Anti-hyperlipidemia of garlic by reducing the level of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6392629/
- Surampudi P, et al. (2016). Lipid lowering with soluble dietary fiber. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27807734/
- Types of fat. (n.d.). https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/