5 Ways To Lower Cholesterol
Whole grains, such as those found in whole-grain breads and pastas, promote heart health.
• Whole grains, vegetables and fruits are important for lowering cholesterol
• Weight loss can have a good impact on cholesterol
• Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of heart disease
Cholesterol has long been viewed as a crime for heart health, but our understanding of these animals is changing. Many have recently suggested that risk factors should determine who should receive drugs called statins to lower cholesterol levels, and who should change their lifestyle to combat these problems.
Anyone with diabetes, heart disease, "bad" cholesterol above 190 or a 10-year risk of heart attack above 7.5% should take statins, new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology say. All people with high cholesterol: Treat it with your own hands.
There is a caveat, too, that not all cholesterol is the same. There's "good" cholesterol - high-density lipoproteins, or HDL - that you want to keep relatively high, and "bad" cholesterol - low-density lipoproteins, or LDL - that need to be kept away.
Here are some lifestyle modifications you can try, with the aim of pushing the bad and good cholesterol down to healthy levels. Keep in mind that, according to the American Heart Association, this strategy may not be enough, especially if you have a family history of high cholesterol. Talk with your doctor about what treatment plan is best for you.
1. Lose weight
You may be able to lower your cholesterol levels significantly by dropping 5% to 10% of your body weight, according to the Mayo Clinic.Getting there isn't always easy, but you can start with small steps. or it could include incorporating physical activity into your daily routine in simple ways, such as walking up and down stairs.Replace fast food lunches with healthy homemade foods and eat carrots instead of potato chips.
Introducing more exercise slowly and a healthier diet can have a big impact on your weight and, in turn, lower your cholesterol.
A healthy weight is essential for overall heart health, in fact, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology released a new report asking doctors to create a customized weight loss plan and recommend counseling with a certified dietitian or weight loss specialist for at least six months. Doctors should also offer bariatric surgery as a potential option for some patients with high body mass index, the report said.
2. Be a picky eater
What you eat can make a big difference to cholesterol.Watch out for saturated fat, which lurks in red meat and dairy products. The Mayo Clinic recommends that less than 7% of daily calories come from saturated fat. Alternatives include lean cuts of meat, low-fat dairy products, and monounsaturated fats, which you can get from olive oil, peanut oil, and canola oil.
But avoid foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils - ingredients that indicate the presence of trans fats, a hallmark of fried foods, and many commercial baked goods.
Even products that say "trans fat free" may not be completely free of these fats; in the United States, the label "trans fat-free" can be affixed to any food containing less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving.Such small amounts can add up, so check the ingredients for partially hydrogenated oils.
In general, you should consume no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol every day, and if you have heart disease or diabetes, that number drops to 200. Organ meats such as liver, egg yolks, and whole milk products are full of cholesterol; You can replace it with lean cuts of meat, egg substitutes and skim milk.
Whole grains, vegetables and fruits can all help lower cholesterol. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can also help lower bad cholesterol; These include certain fish - salmon, mackerel and herring - as well as walnuts, almonds and ground flaxseeds.
Oatmeal is an antidote to bad cholesterol because it contains soluble fiber, which reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. Kidney beans,barle, pears,apples, and prunes are also good sources of soluble fiber.
3. Be active
Try to exercise 30 minutes per day, with your doctor's approval, and you can immediately reduce your overall cholesterol and increase your good cholesterol. Your weight loss journey can start with 10 minute intervals of physical activity several times a day.
Look for opportunities to add exercise. Can you take a walk during lunch hour? Can you ride a bicycle to work? Can you start a sports match, or jog? When you watch TV, can you sit up?
Finding a sports partner can also help. You could also consider starting or joining a group that exercises together.
4. No more cigarettes
Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health, so it's no surprise that smoking is harmful to the heart. If you quit smoking, you can raise your good cholesterol levels.What's more, your blood pressure drops within 20 minutes of stopping, according to the Mayo Clinic. The risk of heart attack decreases within 24 hours of quitting smoking, and within a year the risk of heart disease is only half that of a person who smokes. The risk of heart disease drops to the same level as that of people who have never smoked within 15 years of quitting.
5. Reduce alcohol consumption
Drinking alcohol in excess can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke. Therefore, women of all ages and men over the age of 65 are advised to drink only one alcoholic drink per day; for men aged 65 and under, choose a maximum of two drinks.
Interestingly, high levels of good cholesterol have been associated with moderate alcohol use, but this association has not been shown to be strong enough to recommend alcohol to nondrinkers.
Although these lifestyle changes can be beneficial, sometimes doctors still need to prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs. If your cholesterol is high, talk to your health care provider and come up with a plan of attack that is easy to manage.