If you’ve vowed to lower your cholesterol levels, you’re not alone. The way to do it is to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol, which encourages a waxy plaque to build up in your arteries, and raise your HDL (good) cholesterol, which clears this plaque and removes it from your body. And if you’re hesitant to rely on statins, with their known side effects, you should know that just a few lifestyle changes can help you reach your goal:
- Tip the Scale a Little
Weight loss of just a few pounds can increase your HDL cholesterol, while decreasing LDL levels.
- Fill up on Fiber-Rich Foods
Fiber comes in different forms, and while both are good for your heart, it’s soluble fiber (the kind that’s in Cholesterade®!) that’s great for lowering your cholesterol. In addition to making you feel full, soluble fiber can actually reduce the amount of cholesterol your body absorbs.
- Can the Trans Fats
Trans fats – which lurk in fried foods, stick margarine, cookies, crackers, cakes, pie crusts and frozen pizza – increase your LDL cholesterol, reduce your HDL levels and raise your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other chronic conditions.
- Face the Facts on Fats
Replace the trans fats with unsaturated fats, which don’t increase your LDL cholesterol. Unsaturated fats are found in olive oil, canola oil, vegetable and sunflower oils, as well as fish, nuts, seeds and avocados.
- Exercise Your Options
Start working out. Daily exercise can help raise your HDL cholesterol levels and reduce your LDL cholesterol. Consider jogging, brisk walking, cycling, tennis, swimming or hitting the gym.
- No Smoking
Time to pack it in: According to the American Heart Association, smoking reduces your HDL cholesterol levels, while increasing your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. If you’re a smoker, you need to quit.