Eight Tips to Lower Your Cholesterol

Eight Tips to Lower Your Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that can accumulate in your blood and stick to your artery walls. Over time it can harden and cause your arteries to narrow, which may affect blood flow. This is bad news for your heart since it depends on adequate blood flow to keep you healthy.

It’s reasonable to panic if your doctor has diagnosed you with elevated cholesterol. However, with a commitment to lifestyle and dietary changes, you can take steps to get your levels under control. We’ve put together eight things you can do to slash your cholesterol.

Limit your intake of unhealthy fats

Trans fats and saturated fats may taste good  but aren’t necessarily good for you. These fats are potent at raising LDL, a bad form of cholesterol. A high LDL level increases your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Cut back on fatty cuts of meat, high-fat dairy, fried foods, doughnuts and pastries, and fatty snack foods to curb your intake of unhealthy fats.

Fill up on fiber

Most Americans only manage to get about half of the recommended daily intake of fiber. You get two types of fiber from your diet, soluble and insoluble, and it’s the former that offers major benefits for cholesterol. The soluble fiber found in whole grains, beans, and vegetables lower LDL cholesterol. In fact, beta glucan, a soluble fiber found in oats, does such a good job of lowering cholesterol that the Food and Drug Administration took notice and approved a claim for heart health.

Slim down if you’re overweight

Carrying excess weight is a burden on your body. The extra body fat increases your risk of not only high cholesterol but also high blood pressure and heart disease. If you’re overweight, you should get serious about trimming down. Even modest weight loss has a beneficial effect on cholesterol. In fact, losing just 10 pounds may drop your LDL significantly.

Get moving

Exercise is one of the best ways to lower cholesterol. Your body was meant to move, and doing so helps everything -- from your lungs to your heart -- work more efficiently. Getting plenty of physical activity improves your body’s efficiency at removing LDL cholesterol and also boosts HDL, a good type of cholesterol. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.

Focus on polyunsaturated fats

Swapping out saturated fats for the polyunsaturated variety helps lower your cholesterol. This variety of fats are better for your heart. They help bring down LDL cholesterol in your blood. Olive, flaxseed, and safflower oil are examples of healthier oils you can use to replace solid fats. You’ll still want to keep your total fat intake to no more than about 25% of your total calories, if you have elevated cholesterol.

Eat fish

Of the polyunsaturated fats, the omega-3 variety is most well-known for heart health benefits. These fats do a good job of lowering bad cholesterol. For heart health benefits, try to eat at least two servings of low-mercury fish each week, such as salmon, mackerel, and tilapia.

Ban processed sugary foods

Trans and saturated fats aren’t the only food components that can create problems for your cholesterol. The fructose and high-fructose corn syrup in soda and processed snack foods increase LDL cholesterol, too. Consuming a diet high in sugary drinks and snack foods are just as bad for your cholesterol levels.

There’s no need to fear the fructose in whole fruit though because fructose from fruit doesn’t have a negative impact on cholesterol -- and instead has a favorable effect. The amount of fructose in fruit is far lower than what you find in processed foods, plus fruit contains fiber, which slows down how quickly your body absorbs the fruit sugars. Fruits are also rich in antioxidants which help reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol.  

Build a health support team

Your health support team plays a pivotal role in keeping you healthy. The providers at DOCCS can provide a cholesterol screening, make dietary and lifestyle recommendations, and prescribe medication to effectively manage your cholesterol, when appropriate.

The team at DOCCS is dedicated to outstanding care. To get help with managing your cholesterol, call our office in Melbourne, Florida, or use our online booking form to schedule an appointment.

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