Lifestyle Cholesterol Management (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Is There a Diet to Lower Cholesterol?
Diet and other lifestyle changes affect your blood cholesterol levels. Changing daily habits may prevent the need to take medication to control cholesterol levels, if no other risk factors for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) are present. Cholesterol-lowering medications are available, but they should be used in addition to and not as a substitute for exercise, dietary changes, avoiding smoking, and controlling blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Lifestyle changes should be employed first and continued for a lifetime to manage cholesterol levels.
Diets high in saturated fat are linked to high total blood cholesterol levels and pose an increased risk for heart disease and other vascular diseases. Simply put, reduce all fats in your diet, paying particular attention to saturated fats.
The American Heart Association suggests that fats should represent no more than 30% of total calories you consume in a day, but 25% or 20% is even better. Most of the fats in the diet should be unsaturated.
Certain foods really do have health benefits for controlling cholesterol and overall heart health beyond providing basic nutrition. The Department of Health and Human Services identifies these food choices.
What Foods Lower High Cholesterol Levels?
Lower cholesterol levels should start at the grocery store. Read food labels and buy foods low in saturated fat and low in cholesterol (cholesterol itself is found in some foods, and this type of cholesterol is different from blood cholesterol). If possible, try to include fresh fruits and vegetables in every grocery shopping trip.
To help you know what to look for when grocery shopping, use this shopping list from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/16/2016
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High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is positively associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).