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What is the Best Way to Lower Cholesterol?

By C. Ausbrooks
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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High cholesterol affects hundreds of millions of people around the world. Although cholesterol is necessary for the body to build new cells, produce hormones and insulate nerves, too high a cholesterol level can cause serious health risks. High blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and cancer can all be caused by untreated high cholesterol.

The best way to lower cholesterol may be different for each individual, but doctors agree a systematic approach is best. Gradual changes to diet, lifestyle and physical activity levels will help lower cholesterol safely. Medication is also an option, as a last resort, but all medications are not suitable for everyone.

The main lifestyle changes needed to lower cholesterol include maintaining a healthy body weight, increasing exercise, reducing fat and cholesterol in the diet, and eating more foods rich in carbohydrates and fiber. Some foods that may help lower cholesterol include fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. According to the Mayo Clinic, oatmeal and oat bran, walnuts, almonds, olive oil, and fish can help maintain or even lower cholesterol levels.

Other changes in lifestyle that can have a significant impact on lowering cholesterol include reducing sodium levels and quitting smoking. In addition, these changes will reduce the risk for heart disease. Adopting a healthier lifestyle overall will result in lower cholesterol levels over time.

Reducing saturated fat is the key to lowering high cholesterol. A study conducted by the Heart Research Institute in Sydney, Australia, found that even one meal high in saturated fat can impede the ability of “good” cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein (HDL), to protect the arteries from plaque. This single meal can also reduce the arteries’ ability to expand and carry blood to organs and tissues.

Saturated fat is so important to the level of cholesterol in the body that for every one percent decrease of saturated fat in the diet, the cholesterol level decreases approximately 2 points. Research has shown that a diet which obtains 30 percent of its calories from fat is best for maintaining normal cholesterol levels.

Weight loss and control is another important step in lowering cholesterol. Cutting calories and boosting activity levels is the only safe, effective way to lose and/or manage weight. By lowering saturated fat and increasing fiber, calories are automatically lowered. Keeping dietary cholesterol to less than 300mg per day and limiting red meat and eggs is also beneficial.

A goal of total cholesterol under 200 points is optimal. An HDL count of 39 to 59, and an LDL count of 130 or less is recommended by doctors. Overall, a diet low in saturated fat, increased exercise, and medication where suitable, is the best way to lower cholesterol.

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Discussion Comments

By anon350461 — On Oct 05, 2013

High protein food and lack of exercise cause obesity and weight gain. Exercise and proper diet are very important to lose weight and improve fitness.

Avoid all high protein foods like meats, nuts, grains, cheese, fast foods, fried and dairy products. Eat fresh fruits, vegetables and yogurt, drink green tea, fruit juices and plenty of water. Go walking, running, cycling, practice push ups, bench presses and chair squats. It improves mood, burns fat, makes strong bones and muscles, boosts energy, improves heart function and improves fitness.

By anon317704 — On Feb 04, 2013

My HDL is 36.9mgs and LDL is 42mgs. My trigylcerides are 506 mg and VLDL is 101 mgs. My non HDL is 143mgs. My total cholesterol/hdl ratio. is 5. Please tell me how to control it and the steps of medicines.

By anon98176 — On Jul 22, 2010

Please help me to reduce the cholesterol in my body if possible to the minimal.

By anon86877 — On May 27, 2010

my total cholesterol level is 197,ldl is 145, ldl is 34, triglycerides are 111. The total ratio is 5.9 as per my lipid profile test. Also i am slight sugar patient and not using any medicine and controlled with exercise and food. my age is 42 years. i need your opinion?

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