Category: Cholesterol

How Avocados and Lipitor Could Lower Your Cholesterol

Posted on 24 March, 2015  in Cholesterol

A Daily Avocado Lowers HealthDo you like avocados? New research suggests that eating an avocado a day, as part of a generally heart-healthy diet, can help reduce blood levels of LDL cholesterol, the “bad” type of cholesterol associated with heart attacks and strokes. That’s because avocados are a good source of monounsaturated fats, the healthy fats that can help protect heart health when eaten in moderate quantities. They also contain other valuable nutrients like fiber, which can help keep you feeling full longer, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytosterols, plant compounds that stop the body from absorbing cholesterol.

While the new study results underline the benefits of avocados for heart health, it’s important to remember that avocados should be eaten as part of a generally healthy diet. And while diet alone may be enough to control blood cholesterol for many patients, others will need to use medication, too.

A Daily Avocado Lowers Health

For the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers at Pennsylvania State University assigned one of three different cholesterol-reducing diets to a group of 45 overweight and obese people aged 21 to 70. The study participants suffered from no other health problems.

The three diets consisted of:

  • A low-fat diet that did not include avocado
  • A moderate-fat diet that did not include avocado
  • A moderate-fat diet that included one avocado per day

For the purposes of the study, the researchers used Hass avocados.

Study participants began by eating a normal American diet for two weeks, and the researchers measured their LDL cholesterol levels before proceeding to put them on one of the three cholesterol-lowering diets studied. The study participants were found to have an average LDL cholesterol level of 128 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) after two weeks of eating the American diet. The Mayo Clinic recommends maintaining an LDL cholesterol blood level of below 100 mg/dL.

After the study participants ate their assigned diets for five weeks, the researchers measured their LDL cholesterol levels again. Those who ate the low-fat diet had LDL cholesterol levels an average of 7.4 mg/dL lower. Those on the moderate-fat, no-avocado diet had LDL cholesterol levels an average of 8.3 mg/dL lower.

But those who ate the moderate-fat, daily-avocado diet had the lowest LDL cholesterol levels of all — an average of 13.5 mg/dL lower after five weeks. After taking these initial measurements, the researchers re-assigned the test diets so that each study participant ate each diet for a total of five weeks. The results remained the same throughout, suggesting that it was the avocados, and not other, more individualized factors, that caused the drop in LDL cholesterol. The study participants maintained their pre-study activity levels throughout the study, and none of them lost any weight.

Can Avocados Alone Lower Your Cholesterol?

For some patients, eating a daily avocado alone may be able to lower LDL cholesterol levels sufficiently to keep them off medication. However, avocados are expensive, especially when they’re out of season, so eating one every day can be cost-prohibitive. Plus, avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, so other sources of fats — ideally, sources of saturated fats — must be removed from the diet in order to compensate for the added fats from the avocado. It’s also important to note that other cholesterol-lowering diets are still effective for protecting heart health, even if they don’t lower cholesterol as drastically as the avocado diet.

Lead study author Penny Kris-Etherton points out that even though the avocado diet can lower LDL cholesterol somewhat, it’s nowhere near as effective as using cholesterol-lowering drugs like Lipitor, which may be the best choice for many patients.

Incorporating Avocados into Your Diet

Incorporating Avocados into Your DietThough eating avocados alone may not be a practical way to lower your LDL cholesterol, that doesn’t mean that they can’t form a part of a heart-healthy diet. Kris-Etherton warns against eating avocados primarily in the form of guacamole, since guacamole is often eaten with salty, high-fat tortilla chips.

Instead, eat avocados as part of a salad, on a sandwich or slice of toast, or with lean meats like chicken or fish. Use avocados to make a healthy salsa. Avocados can be used to make soup, and can even be added to a milk shake, or incorporated into a cheesecake. If your avocado is too unripe to eat, ripen it by placing it in a paper bag with a banana or apple and leave it on the countertop overnight.

If you’re looking for a new way to help lower your LDL cholesterol levels, you might want to try eating more avocados. That’s because the results of a new study suggest that eating an avocado every day, as part of a heart-healthy diet, can lower your LDL cholesterol by as much as 13.5 mg/dL. Even if you can’t eat an avocado every day, eating these nutritious fruits more often can protect you from heart disease and may have other health benefits, too.

Lowering Cholesterol with Exercise and Lipitor Is Easy

Posted on 4 December, 2014  in Cholesterol

Lowering Cholesterol with Exercise and Lipitor Is EasyIf your doctor has asked you to increase your physical activity level in order to help improve your cholesterol levels, you might be wondering where to start. The idea of exercising more to lose weight and lower cholesterol can be intimidating for a lot of people. But you don’t have to jump right into exercising vigorously for an hour a day or more — in fact, it’s best if you don’t.

If you’re not accustomed to exercising, you need to ease into an exercise regime slowly and work your way up to exercising for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week. Ask your doctor for advice to start exercising safely.

Many people who are beginning an exercise routine find it’s easier to get in a full 30 minutes of exercise if they break that time up into two or three shorter periods of activity. Keep yourself motivated by choosing physical activities you enjoy, finding workout buddies, and taking it easy on yourself when you don’t meet your goals.

Start Slow

It’s especially important to take care when starting a new exercise routine if you’re not in the habit of exercising regularly. Push yourself too hard, and you could do yourself injury or even increase your risk of a cardiovascular event. Instead of leaping right into a strenuous exercise routine, start slow and gradually increase your activity level.

Find Little Ways to Fit More Movement into Your Routine

If you get creative, it’s not hard to fit a little extra activity into your daily routine. Activities like cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, doing yard work or gardening, or washing the car count as exercise, though you may not be able to do these things every day.

Other ways to incorporate more movement into your daily life include taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work, playing outside with your kids, walking the dog, playing video games that incorporate dancing or other movements, taking a walk during your lunch break, or doing so-called couchersizing  while you watch TV.

Find Activities You EnjoyFind Activities You Enjoy

If the thought of exercising fills you with gloom, it might be because you’re operating under the common misconception that exercise has to be something you suffer through rather than enjoy.

Change your perspective by finding physical activities you enjoy. You might despise jogging, but love tennis; you might hate dancing, but would love to make more time to swim. You might have to try some different activities to find some things you look forward to doing again and again, but the more you enjoy your exercise routine, the more likely you will be to stick with it.

Vary Your Routine

Switching up your exercise routine serves dual purposes — it keeps you from getting bored, and it helps you get more out of your workout. As your body begins to get used to a particular exercise, it becomes less effective. In order to get the most benefit from your exercise routine, you have to change things up regularly so that your body continues working as hard as possible to burn calories and build muscle.

Varying your routine also helps ensure that you’ll stay motivated. No matter how much you enjoy a particular physical activity, you can still get bored with it if you do it often enough. Find two or three activities that you enjoy, and make sure your routine consists of a combination of aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility training.

Get Company

If you’re like most people, you’re more likely to stick with an exercise program if you turn working out into a social activity. It’s easy to skip exercising if you’re doing it alone, but a workout buddy gives you more of a reason to show up at the gym. Exercise classes serve the same purpose. If you like a little healthy competition, join an adult sports team or find a tennis partner. You can even use exercise as an excuse to spend time with family members and improve the health of your spouse and children while getting in shape yourself.

Don’t Beat Yourself up When You Veer off-Track

Staying motivated to keep up an exercise routine over the long term is one of the hardest parts of maintaining a healthy level of physical activity. Life is long and even the most dedicated exercisers fall out of the habit of exercising regularly sometimes. That’s why medications like Lipitor and Zetia are such an important part of managing high cholesterol — they help pick up the slack when life gets in the way of your exercise routine.

When bad weather, the holidays, a vacation, a bout of illness, or some other life circumstance causes you to stray from your regular exercise habits, don’t beat yourself up. There’s no point in feeling guilty or berating yourself for falling behind on your exercise goals. Instead, think about what you’ll need to do to get back on track. Motivate yourself by remembering the things you liked about exercising. If it helps, offer yourself a reward, such as a new book by your favorite author, a trip to the movies, or some other treat. Remember that you may not be capable of exercising as hard as you were before your lapse, and that’s okay.

Regular exercise can be a vital part of keeping your high cholesterol under control, and making exercise a part of your daily life may be easier than you think. Start slow and gradually work your way up to exercising for half an hour or more, five or more days a week. Soon you’ll be so used to exercising daily that you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.

Why Weight Loss Can Make Your Cholesterol Levels Go Up

Posted on 3 December, 2014  in Cholesterol

Why Weight Loss Can Make Your Cholesterol Levels Go UpCholesterol, a fatty substance found throughout the body’s cells, has a role to play in your body’s functioning. Your body uses cholesterol to help it produce hormones and vitamin D. It’s also important for helping your body properly digest foods and maintain the health of cell membranes.

Your liver produces about two-thirds of the cholesterol in your blood stream, but a diet high in saturated fats and trans fats can amplify cholesterol production to dangerous levels. When blood levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol are too high and levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol are too low, doctors recommend a combination of medication and healthy lifestyle changes, like weight loss, to bring cholesterol levels under control.

Weight loss, however, releases fatty acids into the bloodstream and can cause a spike in LDL cholesterol levels, among other blood changes. A spike in blood cholesterol due to weight loss is usually only temporary. While medication can be helpful for lowering chronically high blood cholesterol, it is usually not effective for high cholesterol linked to weight loss.

The Connection Between Weight Loss and High Cholesterol

Weight loss is a commonly-recommended strategy for treating high cholesterol. So why does it cause a spike in cholesterol levels? When you lose weight, you’re burning energy that the body has stored as fat. This has the same effect on your blood as eating fat calories from food, since that fat you’re burning must, by necessity, go into the bloodstream. When you lose 10 pounds, you’re releasing 35,000 calories of fat into your blood, although not all at once, of course.

Weight loss can cause your LDL cholesterol levels to go up temporarily, which can in turn cause your total cholesterol value to go up. HDL cholesterol levels tend to go down as the release of fatty acids in your blood causes an increase in LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, another type of blood lipid implicated in blood disease. The sudden influx of fatty acids into your bloodstream can temporarily cause other problems like insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure, too.

If you’re in the process of losing weight and your blood cholesterol levels are going up in spite of your weight loss, don’t panic. It’s completely normal for blood cholesterol levels to go up temporarily as your body burns some of the stored fat it’s carrying for fuel. You won’t be able to get accurate blood cholesterol readings until your weight has stabilized for at least four weeks, and your blood cholesterol levels have had a chance to normalize.

Don’t Let a Spike in Blood Cholesterol Discourage You

Don’t Let a Spike in Blood Cholesterol Discourage YouIf you’re working on losing weight to improve your blood cholesterol, it’s important not to get discouraged by temporary changes in your blood cholesterol numbers. Even if your blood levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides go up and your blood level of HDL cholesterol goes down during the weight loss process, weight loss is still a great way to control your blood cholesterol over the long term.

The spike in blood cholesterol that many people experience during weight loss is not permanent. As you settle into your new weight, your blood cholesterol levels will drop and may even dip into the normal range without the help of medication. Drugs used to treat high cholesterol, like Zetia and Lipitor, are most effective when high cholesterol is a chronic condition and not just a temporary side effect of weight loss. When blood cholesterol spikes during weight loss, you should first wait to see whether it comes down once you have reached a stable weight.

If you’re trying to lose weight to control cholesterol, a high-protein diet may help. According to research published in the journal The American Society for Nutritional Sciences in 2004, a high-protein diet is just as effective as a high-carbohydrate diet for reducing overall body fat and total cholesterol. However, a high-carbohydrate diet is less effective for controlling feelings of hunger, and might make it difficult to stick with the diet over the long term.

Exercise is also a powerful tool for lowering your cholesterol. If weight loss is your goal, exercise can help, but moderate activity on its own can boost your HDL cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol helps cleanse your blood of LDL particles, so a higher HDL cholesterol level is a good thing for your cholesterol overall. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in 2004 found that women who participated in an 80-minute dance session followed by a further 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity twice a week, plus a weekly home exercise session, experienced an average total cholesterol reduction of nine percent, and an average LDL cholesterol reduction of 9.6 percent. But you don’t have to exercise for hours on end. Set aside 30 minutes a day for a brisk walk or bike ride, or if that’s too difficult for your schedule, break the 30 minutes of activity up into two or three more manageable sessions.

A temporary spike blood cholesterol is normal when you’re losing weight, because burning fat means releasing fatty acids into your bloodstream. Don’t panic, even if your doctor wants you to lose weight to treat your high cholesterol. You won’t know what your real new cholesterol levels will be until after you reach your new maintenance weight.

5 Steps to Bring Your Cholesterol Under Control

Posted on 2 December, 2014  in Cholesterol

5 Steps to Bring Your Cholesterol Under ControlCholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance in the blood that, in normal amounts, helps your cells function properly. There are two kinds of cholesterol — HDL or “good” cholesterol, and LDL or “bad” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is the kind that contributes to hardening of the arteries and arterial plaque that can block arteries and cause a heart attack or stroke. HDL cholesterol, by contrast, helps remove excess LDL cholesterol from the blood. And a HDL level of below 40 to 50 mg/dL is bad news for your heart, and a level above 70 to 130 mg/dL of LDL cholesterol can spell trouble, depending on whether you are otherwise healthy, currently at risk for heart disease, or already suffering from heart disease.

While there are some causes of high cholesterol you can’t change — such as your genetics — there is a lot you can do to lower your cholesterol levels through diet, exercise, and other healthy lifestyle choices. If lifestyle choices alone aren’t enough to bring your cholesterol within safe levels, medication can be a very effective way to bring your cholesterol under control.

1. Eat Right

While the body does make its own cholesterol, dietary fats and cholesterol can also affect your blood cholesterol levels. You can improve your numbers by avoiding saturated and trans fats, and choosing monounsaturated fats instead. Do this by avoiding red meat, full-fat dairy products, fried foods, mass-produced baked goods, or any foods made with fats that are solid at room temperature — like butter and lard. All of these foods tend to be high in saturated and trans fats.

You should be aware that while foods sold in the United States may say “trans fat free” on the label that may not technically be the case. American food manufacturers are allowed to affix this label to their products if said products contain fewer than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but the American Heart Association recommends eating no more than two grams of trans fats per day if you are on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet. One warning sign to look out for is any kind of partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredients list.

In addition to cutting back on trans and saturated fats, eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, like sardines and salmon, are a good bet for heart health. Take it easy on the nuts, though, since they can be calorie-dense.

2. Make Time for ExerciseYou have to find time for exercising

Regular exercise can help you control your blood cholesterol even if you’re not overweight. Aim for no less than 30 minutes of exercise five or more days a week. You don’t have to do it all at once. Three 10-minute walks are just as beneficial as one 30-minute walk. Find a workout partner, join an exercise class or group, or choose activities you enjoy to help keep your motivation up. Turn exercise into a family activity — take a walk with your partner or throw a ball around with the kids.

3. Lose Weight

If you’re overweight, losing weight can help you bring your cholesterol within healthy limits. Losing weight can be a daunting prospect, but watching what you eat and exercising regularly can make it easier. If you have a lot of weight to lose, don’t be overwhelmed — you don’t have to lose all of your extra weight to see benefits. Losing just 10 percent of your total body weight can make a big difference in your cholesterol levels.

4. Take Medication

For many people, eating right, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight just aren’t enough to keep cholesterol levels in check. For these patients, genetics is often a bigger factor in high cholesterol than lifestyle. If you’re one of the many people who still need help with high cholesterol even after making lifestyle changes, statins like Lipitor and Zetia can lower your LDL cholesterol by 20 to 60 percent.

5. Avoid Alcohol and Tobacco

If you smoke or use chewing tobacco products, quitting can improve your HDL cholesterol level. Your risk of having a heart attack drops within 24 hours of smoking your last cigarette, and your risk of heart disease plummets to half that of a smoker within one year of putting out your last butt.

While moderate alcohol use may help keep your HDL levels within the acceptable range, most people don’t actually understand what “moderate” alcohol use is. If you’re a woman, moderate alcohol use means having no more than one drink a day; if you’re a man, you can have two drinks a day before your alcohol use becomes problematic. Drinking too much alcohol can cause life-threatening problems including high blood pressure and stroke.

You don’t have to let high cholesterol compromise your health. When you make healthy changes, you can take control of your cholesterol instead of letting it take control of you.

Lowering Cholesterol May Reduce Recurring Prostate Cancer Risk

Posted on 14 November, 2014  in Cholesterol

nov14-1Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths among American men, so finding ways to prevent its recurrence is vital. A new review of over 800 men who had their prostate glands removed found that the cancer was more likely to come back in subjects with elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, compared to those with healthy levels. The investigators also discovered that reducing these fatty substances may decrease the chances of prostate cancer returning. Lead researcher Emma Allott, a postdoctoral associate at Duke University School of Medicine, noted that prescription medications and dieting are effective ways to manage abnormal cholesterol levels.

Exploring Cholesterol Medications

Zetia (Ezetimibe) is a lipid-lowering compound that reduces the amount of cholesterol and other sterols that your body absorbs. For best results, use Zetia along with diet weight loss, and exercise.

Your doctor may combine Zetia with a statin drug like Atorvastatin, generic Lipitor. It slows your liver’s cholesterol production, which reduces bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride levels while increasing good high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Typical side effects include minor muscle pain, diarrhea, and mild nausea. Save by ordering these and additional prescription medications from this Canadian online pharmacy.

Establishing the Returning Cancer Link

Among the 843 men in this study, 325 had abnormal cholesterol levels, 263 had high triglycerides, and 293 had a recurrence of prostate cancer, according to the report in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention journal. The researchers linked every 10 milligram-per-deciliter (mg/dL) elevation in cholesterol above 200 mg/dL to a nine-percent greater risk of returning prostate cancer.

Subjects with triglyceride levels of 150 mg/dL or higher had a 35-percent increased likelihood of their cancer coming back, compared to those with normal levels. The research team also found that increases in HDL, the good cholesterol, benefited some men. For every 10-mg/dL elevation in men with abnormal HDL, the risk for prostate cancer recurrence dropped by 39 percent.

“Understanding the role of high cholesterol as a modifiable risk factor for both heart disease and cancer, the most common causes of death, is of great importance,” Allott said. “These findings suggest that normalization, or even partial normalization, of blood fats among men with high cholesterol and triglycerides may reduce the risk of prostate cancer recurrence.”

Differentiating Cholesterol and Triglycerides

Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance that your liver makes. You also get some cholesterol from the animal foods you eat. According to the Cleveland Clinic, cholesterol is an essential part of your cell walls and nerves. It also plays an important role in body functions such as digestion and hormone production.

Triglycerides are fats in your blood from your diet. Most of the fats that you consume including butter, margarines, and oils are in triglyceride form. Excess calories, alcohol, and sugar turn into triglycerides that fat cells store throughout your body.

Pure cholesterol cannot mix with or dissolve in your blood. So your liver packages it with triglycerides and proteins in lipoprotein carriers, which move this fatty mixture to areas throughout your body. If your cholesterol and triglyceride levels are both high, you have hyperlipidemia.

Adopting Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes

nov14-2Physicians usually recommend therapeutic lifestyle changes to control lipid levels. According to the Society for Vascular Surgery, diet and exercise can lower total cholesterol by two to six percent. Some people with hyperlipidemia experience a 10 to 20 percent reduction.

The diet changes your doctor recommends may include:

  • Reducing your saturated fat intake to seven percent of your daily calories
  • Decreasing your total fat consumption to 25 to 35 percent of your daily calories
  • Limiting your dietary cholesterol to less than 200 mg per day
  • Raising your daily soluble fiber intake to 20 to 30 grams from oats, peas, beans, and certain fruits
  • Increasing your daily consumption of plant stanols or sterols to 2 to 3 grams by eating nuts, vegetable oils, corn, and rice

Soybean sources including tofu, soy nuts, and many meat substitutes contain a powerful antioxidant that can lower LDL cholesterol. Cold-water fish such as mackerel, sardines, and salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids that may lower triglycerides.

Excess weight can decrease your HDL cholesterol, and dropping those extra pounds can lower your LDL levels. Your physician will help you decide how much weight you need to lose. Also consider your body shape. If you carry extra weight around your middle, you have a greater chance of heart disease than if your weight clusters around your hips, thighs, and bottom.

Consult your physician before starting any exercise program. He may recommend walking briskly for 20 to 30 minutes most days of the week. Start slowly and increase your exercise gradually. Regular physical activity can raise your HDL cholesterol while also lowering LDL and triglycerides. It also can help you lose or maintain your optimal weight and relieve stress.

If you smoke, you need to quit immediately, especially after discovering that you have hyperlipidemia. Smoking can lower HDL, narrow your blood vessels, and injure their walls. All of these effects can speed hardening of the arteries. Combining medications and all of these healthy lifestyle habits can help you manage your lipid levels, which also may lower your chances of recurring prostate cancer.

How to Lower Your Cholesterol with Zetia and Healthy Lifestyle Choices

How to Lower Your Cholesterol with Zetia and Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that travels through your blood. Your body produces the amount it needs, but you also get cholesterol from the foods you eat. High-density lipoprotein (HDL), the good cholesterol, helps clear fat from your blood and protects your heart. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol, clogs your arteries so your blood can’t flow easily. Triglycerides are chains of high-energy fatty acids that provide much of the energy your tissues need to function.

High cholesterol affects roughly half of all men and one-third of all women at some point in their lives. It occurs without symptoms. By the time you discover this silent disease, it may be causing atherosclerosis, hardening and narrowing of the arteries, which can lead to heart disease. Fasting blood tests measure total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglyceride levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, the desirable total cholesterol level is less than 200 milligrams per deciliter. If yours is 240 mg/dL or above, you can reduce it and help prevent heart attacks and strokes with medications and lifestyle modifications.

Take Cholesterol Medication

Your doctor may prescribe Zetia, an oral medication that treats high blood cholesterol along with a low-fat/low-cholesterol diet, exercise, and healthy weight. Zetia works in your digestive tract by blocking the absorption of cholesterol and related phytosterols selectively from foods you eat. Because your digestive tract delivers less cholesterol to your liver, it depletes its cholesterol storage. Your liver reacts by removing cholesterol from your blood.

Zetia can decrease your total cholesterol, bad LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. You may take this cholesterol absorption inhibitor alone or with other cholesterol-lowering medications. Buying Canadian drugs online from licensed pharmacies is safe, convenient, and affordable.

Be Aware of Possible Side Effects

While taking Zetia, contact your doctor if any common side effects persist or become bothersome. They include diarrhea, dizziness, headache, joint pain, sinus inflammation, and tiredness. Seek immediate medical attention if any severe side effects occur. Major allergic reactions include rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing or swallowing, chest tightness, unusual hoarseness, and swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue. Other serious adverse effects include chest pain, dark urine, depression, fever, chills, persistent sore throat, numbness or tingling, severe or persistent joint pain, intense stomach or back pain with nausea and vomiting, unexplained muscle conditions (pain, tenderness, or weakness), and yellow eyes or skin.

Know Your High Cholesterol Risk Factors
  • Overindulging in saturated fats may increase cholesterol.
  • Excessive weight may raise bad LDL.
  • Being inactive may elevate LDL.
  • Cigarette smoking can increase LDL and triglycerides while lowering good HDL.
  • Cholesterol starts to rise after age 20.
  • You may inherit high cholesterol from family members.
  • Other diseases such as hypothyroidism can elevate cholesterol levels.

Implement Lifestyle Changes

Eat Healthy to Control Cholesterol Levels

Luckily, you can control some of these risk factors. According to the Mayo Clinic, these smart choices can improve your medication’s cholesterol-lowering effects.

Diet

Eating heart-healthy foods can reduce your cholesterol and improve your heart health. Eliminate trans-fats. Skip fried foods and commercial baked goods like cookies, snack cakes, and crackers. Any food contains trans-fats if its ingredient list includes partially hydrogenated oil.

Restrict saturated fats

Limit red meat and dairy products containing saturated fats to less than 7 percent of your daily calories because they raise total and bad LDL cholesterol levels.

Choose healthier fats

Consume leaner meats and low-fat dairy. Use monounsaturated fats from olive, peanut, and canola oils.

Limit cholesterol

Aim for no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day or less than 200 mg if you have heart disease or diabetes. The most concentrated cholesterol sources are organ meats, egg yolks, and whole milk products. Choose lean meats, egg substitutes, and skim milk instead.

Pick whole grains

Various nutrients in whole-grain breads, whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat flour, and brown rice promote heart health.

Increase your fruit and vegetable intake.

These rich dietary fiber sources help lower cholesterol. Snack on seasonal fruits. Limit dried fruits to no more than a handful (about 1-2 ounces) because they tend to have more calories than fresh varieties. Enjoy veggie-based casseroles, stir-fry entrees, and soups.

Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Salmon, mackerel, and herring can lower your bad LDL cholesterol. Other good omega-3 fatty acid sources include walnuts, almonds, and flaxseeds.

Exercise

Adhering to a 30-minute moderate workout most days of the week can help reduce total cholesterol and raise good HDL levels. To enhance your motivation, find a workout buddy or join an exercise class. Any activity is helpful.

  • Walk briskly during your lunch hour
  • Ride your bike to work
  • Swim laps
  • Play a favorite sport

Weight

Carrying even just a few extra pounds contributes to high cholesterol. Losing as little as 5-10 percent of your body weight can help reduce your cholesterol levels significantly. Adding physical activity, even in 10-minute intervals several times a day, can help you lose weight.

  • Replace fast-food lunches with healthier choices from home.
  • Snack on carrot sticks instead of potato chips.
  • Eat slowly to enjoy, rather than devour, your food.
  • Exercise instead of eating during times of boredom or frustration.
  • Add more physical activity to your daily routine such as climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator.
  • Balance your food intake and physical activity levels.