Tips to Lower Your Cholesterol

A person with high cholesterol levels has twice the risk of heart diseases, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Most often, high cholesterol is a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices. A doctor may prescribe medication to get your high cholesterol levels in check. However, committing yourself to a healthier lifestyle can also significantly help in lowering your cholesterol levels.

Simple Lifestyle Changes

High cholesterol is usually the effect of an unhealthy lifestyle. If you want to lower your cholesterol and eventually reduce your risk of heart disease, then you may have to make some changes. The good news? There’s no need for drastic changes—the important thing is to be mindful of what you eat and do with your body.

Avoid Trans Fat & Saturated Fat

Trans fat and saturated fat are commonly known as the “bad” fats. Although there are still some debates on how “bad” saturated fat is, trans fat is the one that should be avoided as much as possible. So what are common foods with trans fat and saturated fat?

Common Trans Fat Foods:

  • Fried foods
  • Fast food
  • Baked goods and other snacks like cookies, chips, etc.

When grocery shopping, you may be encouraged by products with zero trans gram labels, but don’t be deceived. Instead, check if it has “partially hydrogenated oil,” which is the actual oil that produces trans fat.

Common Saturated Fat Foods:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Veal
  • Other red meats
  • Dairy products like milk, cheese, butter, etc.

Eating Healthier

Healthy eating does not mean that you’ll be stuck eating salad for the rest of your life. The key here is to eat smart and find the right foods that will help lower your cholesterol levels!

Here are some suggestions on how to eat smart:

  • Increase fiber intake. Whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat bread, oats, and popcorn (without the “butter”) are just some of the foods with high fiber content. Colorful fruits and vegetables are also good sources of fiber.
  • Substitute red meat with fish. Since red meat are high in saturated fat, choose to eat fish instead. Fish like wild salmon, sardines, and blue fin tuna are high in Omega-3 fatty acid, which is one of the good fats that are known to bring cholesterol levels down. Other sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are nuts like walnuts and cashews so you may also want to substitute your unhealthy snacks for those instead.
  • Choose healthy oils. Olive oil and canola oil are the most common source of another kind of good fat called monounsaturated fat. Using these healthy oils to cook your food means getting more of the good fat that decreases your cholesterol levels.

Getting in Some Exercise

Even if you’re not overweight, exercise has proven to be beneficial in lowering cholesterol levels. A 30-minute workout a day can already improve your cholesterol levels and keeps your heart fit and healthy.

Kick Your Smoking Habit

Simply put, smoking is bad and this has been proven over and over again. The harmful effects of smoking are too irrefutable to ignore. Smoking not only raises your cholesterol levels, it can also clog your arteries that may lead to stroke. On top of that, there’s cancer, emphysema, and other respiratory diseases. Quitting this bad habit will greatly improve your overall health.

High cholesterol is manageable as long as you’re willing to do some changes in your life. Remember, a healthy lifestyle does not only equate to low cholesterol but also an improved quality of life!

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.