If you have been told that you have high cholesterol, you may be thinking that you will need to take medication to bring it down into the normal range. Medication can be part of the treatment plan, but there are drug-free strategies that can help, too.
Losing weight can help bring your cholesterol levels down to a more normal level. Resist the urge to go on a crash diet to get rid of extra pounds. Instead, set a goal of losing 0.5-1 lbs. per week. At this rate, you are more likely to be able to keep the weight off. Even losing a relatively small amount (5-10 lbs) can help to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes as well.
Get Some Exercise
When you are trying to bring your cholesterol level down, increase your level of physical activity. Making a point of going for a walk regularly can help to improve your cholesterol numbers. Other forms of aerobic activity are also effective cholesterol busters, too. Be sure to choose something you will enjoy and make a point of getting active several times a week for at least 30 minutes at a time.
Eat “Good” Fats
If your doctor has advised you to cut your fat intake, he or she has given you some good advice. Not all fats are considered harmful to your health, though, and you should make a point of including foods containing monounsaturated fat in your diet. Examples of foods with this ingredient include peanut butter, olive oil, canola oil and avocados.
You will also want to make a point of including foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.
To get this important nutrient, eat salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna a couple of times a week.
Increase Fiber in Your Diet
To lower your cholesterol level, eat more fiber. Look to fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans to improve your health. The reason fiber-rich foods help to lower cholesterol is that they bind with bile acids (which contain cholesterol) and help to move them through the body.
These strategies can help to lower your cholesterol levels into a healthier range. It’s a good idea to discuss them with your doctor as part of your overall treatment plan.