Make The Changes Worth Making
If you have high blood cholesterol, making lifestyle changes is a great first step to lower your risk of heart disease. If those steps dont reduce your risk enough, your doctor may prescribe medications to help.
Remember: Making even modest changes now can help to prevent significant medical issues later. Do all you can to reduce your risk for the serious effects of heart attack and stroke.
Dont Forget Your Triglycerides
Even if your cholesterol numbers are in the OK range, your doctor should be checking your triglyceride levels as part of your cholesterol panel. You want to keep your total triglyceride levels below 100, says Dr. Ghandi. Patients who are prone to high triglycerides need to limit their carbohydrate consumption and avoid high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and honey. I recommend niacin, CoQ10, and high-quality omega 3 fatty acid supplementation, says Dr. Ghandi. She also likes red yeast rice for elevated lipid levels, which is what traditional statins are made of.
Increase Your Physical Activity
Physical activity increases levels of HDL cholesterol the good cholesterol that removes LDL cholesterol from the blood. Vigorous aerobic exercise is best.
If you havent been exercising much lately, gradually build up to the recommended amount of physical activity:
- People aged 18-64 years should do 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week.
- People aged 65 years and over should aim for a total of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days .
Moderate-intensity exercise is a level that increases your heart rate and breathing but allows you to keep talking. Vigorous intensity exercise makes your heart rate higher and makes you breathe more heavily.
Resistance training and muscle-toning exercises can increase HDL cholesterol. Aim to do this twice a week.
You May Like: Bananas Lower Cholesterol
What Is Cholesterol And Why Is It Important
Cholesterol is a type of fat molecule found in the bloodstream. There are two primary sources of the cholesterol floating through the body we create most in our livers, and the rest comes from our diet, which is called dietary cholesterol.
Though we usually hear about cholesterol in the context of it being bad for us, cholesterol helps our bodies perform a number of essential functions, like cell division and vitamin and hormone synthesis.
Our livers make enough cholesterol to support our body function, so technically, scientists don’t consider it an essential nutrient we can physically survive and thrive without consuming any cholesterol at all. However, the diet would be pretty restrictive.
Some cholesterol in the blood is entirely normal. Still, when that level raises above the healthy range, it can increase your chances of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and stroke.
Seven Tips To Fix Your Cholesterol Without Medication
THE SINGULAR FOCUS on treating cholesterol as a means to prevent heart attacks is leading to the deaths of millions of people because the real underlying cause of the majority of heart disease is not being diagnosed or treated by most physicians.
For example, I recently saw a patient named Jim who had normal cholesterol levels yet was taking the most powerful statin on the market, Crestor. Despite this aggressive pharmaceutical treatment, this man was headed for a serious heart attack.
Jims doctors had missed his real disease risks by focusing on and treating his cholesterol levels. All the while they were ignoring the most important condition that put him at dramatically higher risk of heart attacks, diabetes, cancer, and dementia. In a moment I will explain what this condition is and what you can do about it.
This craze for treating cholesterol has lead to an onslaught of pharmaceuticals designed to lower cholesterol. Statins are now the number one selling class of drugs in the nation and new cholesterol medications are produced every day.
The latest in a new class of super cholesterol drugs, CETP inhibitors, now in the drug approval pipeline from Merck burst into the news recently with exclamations from typically restrained scientists. Data on this new drug was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the American Heart Association conference in Chicago.
Why Lowering Cholesterol May Not Lower the Risk of Death
Read Also: Does Baked Potato Have Cholesterol
How To Lower Your Elevated Ldl Cholesterol
Cholesterol is naturally produced by your body and is essential to its function throughout your everyday life. However, excessively high levels of cholesterolin particular, LDL cholesterol are bad and can lead to serious health problems such as clogged arteries, heart disease, and stroke.
What is LDL Cholesterol?
LDL stands for Low-Density Lipoproteins. This type of cholesterol is produced by the liver and is instrumental in the creation of cell walls, hormones, and digestive juices. However, when your LDL level is high, it can start to form a plaque-like substance on the walls of your cardiovascular system, blocking the natural flow of blood and leaving you at severe risk for heart attack and stroke. Put simply, LDL is the bad kind of cholesterol. But fear not there are several ways in which you can lower your LDL cholesterol and encourage the development of High-Density Lipoproteins , which actually function to limit the level of LDL cholesterol in your system.
Consider Screening for Familial Hypercholesterolemia ?
Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic disorder that causes dangerously high levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol from birth. If you have a family history of heart disease and very high cholesterol, you may have FH. FH can be diagnosed with a simple blood test, or lipid panel. Learn more here.
Check out more Diet & Lifestyle Tips for a healthier life.
About the Author
Consider Plant Sterols And Stanols
Multiple types of supplements show promise for managing cholesterol.
Plant stanols and sterols are plant versions of cholesterol. Because they resemble cholesterol, they are absorbed from the diet like cholesterol.
However, because parts of their chemistry are different from human cholesterol, they do not contribute to clogged arteries.
Instead, they reduce cholesterol levels by competing with human cholesterol. When plant sterols are absorbed from the diet, this replaces the absorption of cholesterol.
Small amounts of plant stanols and sterols are naturally found in vegetable oils and are added to certain oils and butter substitutes.
A research review reported that clinical studies show that taking 1.53 grams of plant sterols/stanols daily can reduce LDL concentration by 7.512%. Researchers said taking it with a main meal twice per day allows for optimal cholesterol-lowering .
Although research has established the cholesterol-lowering benefit of plant stanols and sterols, it has not yet proved that they decrease the risk of heart disease. Numerous clinical trials have suggested that plant sterols supplements and enriched foods may lower heart disease risk, but hard data is still lacking .
Plant stanols and sterols in vegetable oil or margarines compete with cholesterol absorption and reduce LDL by up to 20%. They are not proven to reduce heart disease.
Also Check: Is There A Lot Of Cholesterol In Shrimp
Modify Your Eating Habits
A great way to lower your cholesterol naturally is to start by replacing unhealthy fats with healthy fats .
This means becoming a food label reader, says Dr. Cho. Its important to limit your saturated fat intake. There should be no more than 2 grams of fat per serving and it should account for less than 7% of your daily calorie intake.
Saturated fats are most often found in palm oil and coconut oil, along with animal products like beef, pork, chicken skin, hot dogs and regular cheese.
What Causes Clogged Arteries
Clogged arteries are caused by a buildup of plaque in your arteries. Plaque is usually made up of a few substances, including minerals like calcium, or fats and cholesterol. High cholesterol levels can lead to this buildup of plaques.
In some cases, high cholesterol is genetic, but it is mostly linked to diet and lifestyle choices.
You May Like: Is Tuna Good For Cholesterol
Path To Improved Health
There are 2 main types of cholesterol:
- Low-density lipoprotein .This delivers cholesterol to the body. This is called bad cholesterol. You want a low level of this type.
- High-density lipoprotein .This removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. This is called good cholesterol. You want a high level of this type.
A high level of LDL is bad for your body. Likewise, a low level of HDL is bad for you. If your doctor says you need to improve your cholesterol, youll need to lower your LDL and increase your HDL. Medicines can help with this. But the simplest way to improve your cholesterol is through lifestyle changes.
Sunday: Oatmeal For Breakfast
Start your week with a cholesterol-lowering food superstar: Choosing oatmeal for breakfast is a simple way to lower cholesterol fast. Oatmeal is high in fiber, and the TLC diet recommends increasing your fiber intake to get to healthy cholesterol levels. Oatmeal contains more soluble fiber than other grains you can actually imagine it sopping up the bad LDL cholesterol. Getting 5 to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber a day decreases your total and LDL cholesterol, according to the Mayo Clinic, which recommends having 1 1/2 cups of oatmeal for 6 g of soluble fiber. And oatmeal doesnt have to taste bland sprinkle on some fruit or cinnamon for extra flavor.
You May Like: Diy Cholesterol Test
What To Do When High Cholesterol Runs In Your Family
Because high cholesterol doesnt have any symptoms, its not something thats commonly on peoples radar. Even if it is, people often dont take it seriously until they have a heart attack or stroke. And while we tend to think of those events as happening to an older population, people under the age of 55 can also be affected, especially if they were born with high cholesterol.
This condition is called familial hypercholesterolemia . FH is an inherited disorder that makes it harder for your body to remove low-density lipoprotein cholesterol from your blood. The result? From childhood, cholesterol builds up along the walls of your arteries and veins, narrowing the passageways and drastically increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke at a very early age.
Can I Pass Fh To My Kids
If you inherited FH from one parent, theres a 50% chance youll pass it on to your children. If both of your parents passed the FH trait to you, your children will definitely have FH. Thats why its crucial to get children with a family history tested at an early age and begin cholesterol-reducing treatment for those with FH.
People with FH are usually not diagnosed until their 30s or 40s or later. Unfortunately, far too few are diagnosed as children. But early treatment can significantly impact a persons lifetime cardiovascular health by lowering their long-term exposure to high cholesterol levels, Martin advises. The treatment keeps their arteries healthier and prevents premature heart attacks and strokes.
You May Like: Baked Potato Cholesterol
Recognizing Signs And Symptoms
Replace Saturated Fats With Healthier Fats
Replacing foods that contain mainly saturated fats with foods that contain unsaturated fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats will help reduce your cholesterol level.
For example, instead of butter and cream in cooking, use olive oil, nut butters or avocado.
Healthy unsaturated fats are found in:
- oily fish
- fruits and vegetables
Recommended Reading: How Much Cholesterol In Pork Chops
Monday: Switch Your Snack To Walnuts
Eating nuts is one of the great and easy ways to lower cholesterol, and almost any type of nut will do. An analysis of 25 trials published in May 2010 in JAMA Internal Medicine found that eating an average of 67 g of nuts a day can lower your cholesterol significantly, bringing total cholesterol down by about 5 percent and LDL cholesterol by 7 percent.
To get the most cholesterol-fighting power, walnuts are a top choice, says Harvey Kramer, MD, a cardiologist at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut. Almonds, pistachios, and peanuts are also top choices for lower cholesterol levels. Snacking on a handful of walnuts is a great way to lower cholesterol, but you do have to be a little careful because, like other nuts, walnuts are high in calories, Dr. Kramer says.
What Happens If I Incorporated Dietary Changes And My Cholesterol Is Still Not Within Recommended Ranges
If youve made some dietary changes and you still havent seen results, try incorporating phytosterol into your diet. Phytosterol is similar to the bodys cholesterol and can block cholesterol from being absorbed into your body.
Phytosterol can lower your cholesterol by 10% and your LDL by 14%, she says. Aim to get about 2 grams of phytosterol a day. Some common food and dietary supplements include high sterol or stanol esters be sure to read the labels.
Don’t Miss: Are Crab Legs High In Cholesterol
How Can I Lower My Cholesterol With Medicines
As well as making lifestyle changes, some people will need to take cholesterol-lowering medicines to reduce their risk of heart and blood vessel disease, known as cardiovascular disease. The medicines most commonly used are called statins.
Your doctor will consider all your risk factors for cardiovascular disease before suggesting medication not just your cholesterol and lipid results. If youve already had a heart attack or stroke, taking statins can substantially lower your risk of having another one.
Statins work by slowing the amount of cholesterol made in your liver. In response, your liver uses the cholesterol already in your blood to make up for the deficit. This lowers the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood.
If statins alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may need additional medicines.
Contact your doctor if your medicines are causing any side effects.
How Much Benefit Do I Get If My Cholesterol Level Is Reduced
If you have a high risk of developing a cardiovascular disease, or you already have a cardiovascular disease, lowering your LDL cholesterol level reduces your risk of developing future cardiovascular problems.
For details on exactly how much risk is reduced by lowering and treating risk factors, find out more about the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Clinical Knowledge Summary , ‘Cardiovascular risk assessment and management’ .
Also Check: Are Oysters High In Cholesterol
What Is High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is made by your liver. Its a waxy substance that your body uses to build cells, among other processes.
Eating fatty foods and oils can cause your liver to make extra cholesterol. It can also come from the meat and dairy products in your diet.
LDL cholesterol is whats known as bad cholesterol. High LDL can also be linked to high triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood that comes from your diet.
If you have too much LDL cholesterol, it can build up into a hard, waxy substance in your arteries, called plaque. When this happens, your arteries become narrow and less flexible.
Dietary Tips To Avoid Cholesterol
The most important thing you can do to reduce your cholesterol level is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You should try to:
- Increase the amount and variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods you have each day.
- Choose low or reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and other dairy products or have added calcium soy drinks.
- Choose lean meat .
- Limit fatty meats, including sausages and salami, and choose leaner sandwich meats like turkey breast or cooked lean chicken.
- Have fish at least twice a week.
- Replace butter and dairy blends with polyunsaturated margarines.
- Include foods in your diet that are rich in soluble fibre and healthy fats, such as nuts, legumes and seeds.
- Limit cheese and ice cream to twice a week.
Other storage fats that are transported in blood lipoproteins include triglycerides. When present in high concentrations in the blood, this fat is also a risk for heart attack. Some foods will affect the cholesterol level or the triglyceride level and some will affect both.
Also Check: Is Tuna Fish Good For Cholesterol