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Tips for Lowering your Cholesterol

January 2, 2019

It seems many individuals are not aware of the dangers behind high cholesterol; it can greatly increase your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. While there are medications that can help lower cholesterol, there are also some lifestyle changes that can do this naturally. If cholesterol medication is already part of your routine, the lifestyle changes below can greatly improve their effects - take a look.

Eat Heart Healthy Foods
There are several foods you can add to your diet to help lower your cholesterol, but first, let’s focus on what you should eliminate.

Eliminate - The saturated fat found primarily in red meat and full-fat dairy products raises your overall cholesterol. Cut back on your consumption of these foods to reduce your “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL). Trans fats should also be eliminated from your diet. Trans fats, often listed as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” on nutrition labels, are typically found in margarine, store-bought cookies, crackers and cakes. The FDA has banned the use of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils by January 2021.

Add - More foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, mackerel, walnuts and flaxseeds. While they don’t affect LDL cholesterol, they have other heart benefits such as lowering blood pressure. Add more soluble fiber to your diet to reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Foods with soluble fiber include oatmeal, Brussel sprouts, apples and pears. Lastly, consider adding whey protein, found in dairy products, to your diet to lower LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and blood pressure.

Exercise
Moderate amounts of exercise can increase the “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein  or HDL). With your doctor’s approval, add some aerobic exercises to your weekly schedule. This can be easily accomplished by taking a brisk walk once a day, playing a favorite sport a few times a week or a daily bike ride.

Limit Alcohol
While moderate consumption of alcohol has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol levels, the effects aren’t strong enough to recommend this to non-drinkers. For those who do drink, it’s important to do so in moderation. Too much alcohol can lead to serious health problems like high blood pressure, heart failure and strokes.

Give Up Smoking
If you smoke, consider quitting - it will greatly improve your HDL cholesterol levels, among many other health benefits. It takes 20-minutes for your blood pressure and heart rate to recover from the spike induced by the cigarette. If you think long-term - say three months, your blood circulation and lung function will start improving. Within a year, your risk of heart disease is half that of a person who continues to smoke.

At SIHF Healthcare, the board-certified physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistantsare committed toyour health and safety. Patients can rely on a team of medical professionals to answer questions while providing wellness tips, prevention advice and education in each appointment. New patients are always accepted; find a provider near you by visiting www.sihf.org.