You’ve just gotten your blood work in the mail and it turns out your cholesterol is over 200. Before you head to the pharmacy to pick up a cholesterol lowering medication, you should talk with your doctor about trying to reduce your cholesterol through lifestyle changes.
One of the first things you can do is increase the fiber in your diet. Fiber comes from plants and helps to reduce the cholesterol in your blood. You can increase your fiber by eating more fruits and vegetables.
You can also improve your fiber by eating whole grain foods such as bread, pasta, and rice. It’s also possible to take a fiber supplement to improve the level of fiber in your diet. You can also add fiber to your diet by eating beans. These are a great substitute for meat in your daily diet.
Adding sterols and stanols to your diet can also help your cholesterol. These are chemicals found in plants that research has shown to improve your blood cholesterol levels. You can get them just from eating vegetables.
However, if you’re really trying to lower your cholesterol you may want to look for foods that are enriched with these chemicals. There are many margarine brands that are heart healthy and add these chemicals. You can also find them added to some brands of orange juice.
Eating nuts can also improve your cholesterol levels. Nuts have had a bad reputation for years because they contain fat. But the fat they contain is actually good for your heart. So grab a handful of almonds, walnuts, pistachios, or pecans between meals to help improve your heart health. Cooking with olive oil is also a way to improve your heart health. It contains healthy fat that helps to reduce cholesterol.
In addition to adding these healthy nutrients to your diet, you should also make sure to eat a diet that’s low in cholesterol. You can easily find the amount of cholesterol on foods by checking the nutrition label. Look for foods that are very low in cholesterol or cholesterol free.
You can also improve your cholesterol levels by adding exercise. Exercise is one of the only proven ways to raise your HDL cholesterol levels. This is the good cholesterol that helps to keep your arteries clear of plaque.
Thirty to 60 minutes of exercise every day will help to improve your cholesterol. By making a few changes in your diet and exercise routine, you can actually reduce your cholesterol levels enough to keep you from having to take medication.