If you've been told that you have high cholesterol, you can make changes to help bring your levels down. Even if you have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, genes alone don’t dictate your destiny.
Internal medicine and endocrinology specialist Sam Morayati, MD, is committed to empowering patients like you to take proactive actions toward greater wellness. Continue reading to learn our top five practical ways to slash your high cholesterol.
1. Eat a diet that supports heart health
Lifestyle changes are the foundation of lowering cholesterol. The foods you eat regularly have an impact on how much cholesterol circulates through your bloodstream. Eating a diet high in saturated fat found in animal foods has an impact on raising your LDL — a harmful form of cholesterol. We recommended that you limit your saturated fat intake. Heart-healthy diets are low in saturated fat.
In addition to limiting saturated fat, a heart-healthy diet includes the following:
- Plenty of vegetables and fruit
- Limited sugar
- Whole grain foods
By focusing on plant-based, whole foods, you can lower your cholesterol numbers. When you do eat animal foods, choose low-fat dairy, and lean cuts of poultry and meat. Try mixing in meatless days, like having meatless Mondays.
2. Load up on foods rich in omega-3 fats
In addition to cutting back on saturated fat, it's vital to ensure you're eating adequate healthy fats. All fats are not created equal. Polyunsaturated fats, such as the omega-3 variety found in oily fish, have natural anti-cholesterol qualities.
Omega-3 fats are not only important for your health, but they are also regarded as heart-healthy because they cut cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. A diet high in omega-3 fats has been shown to greatly reduce the risk of heart disease. Fatty fish like salmon provide plenty of omega-3 fats. Try having fish twice a week.
3. Get moving and stay moving
Doing enough physical activity can pay off when it comes to lowering cholesterol. Combining exercise with a balanced diet delivers even more cholesterol-reduction advantages.
Not all types of cholesterol are harmful to your health. Exercising increases HDL, a beneficial type of cholesterol that circulates through the blood, collecting up bad cholesterol and transferring it to your liver for disposal. Higher levels of this form of cholesterol protect the heart.
Getting regular physical activity also lowers LDL, a bad form of cholesterol that works in the opposite direction as HDL. It transports cholesterol to your organs and tissues, where it builds up.
To reap cholesterol-lowering benefits, aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days a week.
4. Shed extra pounds
The majority of people who have high cholesterol are carrying excess body fat. The good news is that losing weight has a significant impact on cholesterol reduction. What’s more, positive changes like adopting a heart-friendly diet, and getting more physical activity can help you shed those extra pounds and better manage your weight.
There's no need to be concerned about having to shed a lot of weight. Even a 10% weight decrease can make an impact in lowering your cholesterol readings.
5. Consult with a medical professional
Working closely with a health care provider is the most effective way to lower your cholesterol. Dr. Morayti can help you maintain your heart health with regular checkups and high-quality care to keep your heart and blood vessels as strong as possible.
After checking your cholesterol levels, Dr. Morayati can discuss what the results mean for you and provide a specific treatment plan to help you improve your cholesterol and protect your heart.
To schedule a cholesterol check, and for all of your internal medicine and endocrinology needs, call or request an appointment online to schedule your visit with us at Burlington Medical Center in Burlington, North Carolina.