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5 Tips to Improve Cholesterol

High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. If you want to make natural lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol, follow these tips. If you are already taking medications, making these changes can help improve their cholesterol-lowering effect:

Heart-Healthy Foods

Making changes to your diet can reduce cholesterol and improve heart health. Reduce your intake of saturated fats, such as those found in red meat and full-fat dairy products. Decreasing your consumption of saturated fats can reduce your low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Eliminate trans fats, which are often used in margarines and store-bought cookies, crackers, and cakes. Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts, and flaxseeds. Increase soluble fiber to reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream by eating oatmeal, brussels sprouts, kidney beans, apples, and pears. Add whey protein to your diet to lower LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and blood pressure.

Physical Activity

Moderate physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol. Try working up to at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. Physical activity, even in short intervals such as riding your bike or taking a brisk daily walk, can help you lose weight and improve cholesterol.

Stop Smoking

If you smoke, quitting can improve your HDL cholesterol level. Within three months of quitting, your blood circulation and lung function start to improve. Within a year, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker.

Lose Weight

Losing weight can be a challenge, but start by making small changes. Start drinking water rather than sugary beverages, try candies with little to no fat when you are craving something sweet, and snack on air-popped popcorn or pretzels. Take the stairs instead of using the elevator or park farther away when you drive to work or the grocery store.

Decrease Alcohol Consumption

If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. Healthy adults may have up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65. Men age 65 and younger may have up to two drinks a day.

Greenville Health Care

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