After you discover you have high cholesterol, the first step is to work to lower it as quickly as possible. The longer you have high cholesterol, the greater your risk is for developing potentially dangerous health conditions.
Incredibly, lowering your bad, or LDL, cholesterol, isn’t as complicated as it seems. For many people, a few simple lifestyle changes are all it takes to get LDL cholesterol down to healthy levels.
Thomas Nguyen, MD, of Nguyen Medical Group in Boynton Beach, Florida, explains the simple steps you can take to lower your LDL cholesterol.
Lowering your LDL cholesterol
To lower your LDL cholesterol, you can easily make these changes to your diet, physical activity levels, and other ares of wellnesss.
Increase soluble fiber in your diet
Soluble fiber makes it harder for your body to absorb cholesterol, so eating at least 20 grams per day helps lower your LDL cholesterol. Food like beans, tofu, avocado, chickpeas, and brussels sprouts are all high in soluble fiber.
Eat more fish
Omega-3 fats, present in most fish, are excellent for your heart and high cholesterol. You also reduce your intake of saturated fats by replacing portions of meat with fish 2-4 times a week.
Consider a Mediterranean diet
A heart healthy Mediterranean diet focuses on eating healthy fats, such as fish, poultry, and olive oil, over saturated fats like red meat and butter. This diet also focuses on eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, and nuts, while limiting your intake of full fat dairy products and sugar.
Reduce saturated fats
Saturated fat is one of the worst offenders for increasing LDL cholesterol, so eating less of it helps you lower levels quickly. Try to avoid or heavily limit fried foods, food from the bakery, dairy products that are full fat, and processed and red meats.
Lower calories if you’re overweight
Being overweight puts stress on your heart, and losing as little as ten pounds helps lower your cholesterol levels if you’re overweight. Our team can advise you on a healthy weight range and an ideal number of calories to eat per day.
Exercising is wonderful for your heart health and helps lower and maintain a healthy LDL cholesterol. Just 30 minutes a day, five days a week, of moderate exercise does wonders for your health.
Another benefit of exercise is that it helps you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. If you are currently inactive, talk to our team before you start exercising to help develop a safe exercise routine for your needs.
Stop using tobacco
Smoking, vaping, and chewing tobacco can lead to higher cholesterol levels. If you currently smoke and would like help quitting, our team can refer you to resources that support you in stopping permanently.
Decrease stress levels
Stress can cause your cholesterol levels to rise, even when the rest of your lifestyle is heart healthy. It’s not always possible to avoid the stresses of daily life, but you can learn coping techniques that can help you feel better when life gets complicated.
Getting support from friends, doing activities you enjoy, and watching books and films that make you laugh can all help reduce stress. Techniques like yoga, mindfulness, and deep breathing also help you feel calmer.
If lifestyle changes don’t work to lower your cholesterol, our team can prescribe medication that helps reduce LDL cholesterol.
High cholesterol doesn’t have to be a permanent condition when you live a healthy lifestyle. For support in lowering your cholesterol, contact our team today.