Has your doctor informed you that you need to start working on lowering your cholesterol level? Don't panic. High cholesterol can lead to serious health risks including heart disease, but you can take simple steps to lower your level with a few lifestyle and diet changes.
- Commit to regular exercise. Even moderate daily exercise, such as a walk around the neighborhood, can help lower your cholesterol level.
- Snack on nuts. Instead of reaching for potato chips or cheese crackers between meals, try walnuts or almonds, which have been linked to lower cholesterol.
- Say no to saturated fats. Instead of checking for cholesterol on nutrition labels, look for foods with minimal to no saturated fats. These foods are usually the main culprit behind high cholesterol levels.
- Quit smoking. Cigarettes can lead to many health problems, including high cholesterol and heart disease.
- Try green tea. Studies have shown that green tea will lower cholesterol levels, along with providing a host of other health benefits.
- Increase your fiber intake. Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, oatmeal, and beans.
- Make some food substitutions. Look for healthy alternatives to kitchen staples such as whole milk, butter, or cheeses. Low-fat or non-dairy options are usually available in most supermarkets.
- Eat more fish. Instead of red meats, stock up on fish filled with omega-3 fatty acids. Aim for two or three meals a week that feature fish as the main dish.
- Ask your doctor about medications. Lifestyle changes work in the long run, but if your cholesterol levels are too high or you are at a high risk for heart disease, medication might be your best short-term solution. Talk to a healthcare professional about which medications you might benefit from.
If you have more questions about cardiac care, or you want to make an appointment to check your cholesterol level, call our free Consult-A-Nurse® line at 1-888-741-5120. This Oak Hill Hospital service is available 24/7 to provide information or give physician referrals.