Four ways to lower your cholesterol
One of the main ways we can keep our hearts healthy is by making sure our cholesterol levels are at a healthy level. Why? Cardiologist David Manly, MD, said high cholesterol is a known risk factor for the development of atherosclerotic heart disease. This is when fats, cholesterol and other substances build up inside and around the artery walls of your heart, restricting blood flow.
“Since the 1960s, studies have continued to prove a connection between high cholesterol and heart disease, current estimates suggest that high cholesterol accounts for up to 56% of heart disease and 18% of strokes, contributing to nearly 4.4 million deaths annually,” said Dr. Manly.
To help you lower your cholesterol and prevent heart disease, Dr. Manly offered these four tips.
- Make changes to your diet. Changing what you eat can significantly reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, often referred to as bad cholesterol, particularly in patients with diets high in saturated fats and animal products. Animal products are the primary source of cholesterol in your diet. Cholesterol can be found in butter, dairy, eggs and meat. Vegetables do not contain cholesterol making certain diets such as the Mediterranean diet, a vegetarian/vegan diet or high fiber diet helpful in lowering cholesterol levels.
- Get moving. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week. Studies have shown that routine exercise can raise your HDL cholesterol levels, also known as good cholesterol, and help reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.
- Reduce your alcohol intake. If you have high triglycerides, reducing your alcohol consumption can help your cholesterol.
- If you smoke, quit. For your general health, not smoking is important. It can also negatively affect your cholesterol levels.
“There is a connection between your heart health and your cholesterol levels. It is important that we take care of ourselves and monitor our cholesterol levels while taking steps to make the necessary changes to better our health,” said Dr. Manly.
There are also medications available to treat cholesterol levels. Talk to your doctor about your options.
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