Checklist to Lower Your Cholesterol
Lisa Nelson, RD, LN | Nov 2nd 2012
Know your cholesterol numbers
Have you had a lipid profile? Do you understand your cholesterol numbers? If you are going to successfully lower your cholesterol you need to know your numbers and what they mean.
Evaluate your lifestyle
There are risk factors for high cholesterol that you cannot control, such as age, gender, and family history. However, there are factors that you can control. You can reduce high cholesterol risks by not smoking, increading your physical activity, and losing extra weight.
Balance your fats
Reduce unhealthy saturated fats in your diet and replace them with heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Total fat intake should be 30 percent or less of your total daily calories. Out of this 30 percent, saturated fats should be limited to 7 percent.
Be active, exercise more
Physical activity lowers triglycerides and raises HDL (good) cholesterol. Shoot for 30 minutes at least five days a week. If you are not currently active, check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Eliminate trans fats from your diet
You need to be food label savvy and watch out for trans fats. Trans fats raise LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and raise triglycerides. Limit trans fats to 1 percent or less of your daily caloric intake.
Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in your food and in your body. Your simple sugar and alcohol intake impacts triglyceride levels the most. If you are struggling with high triglycerides, you need to change your diet to get your cholesterol under control.
Increase dietary fiber
A high fiber diet is necessary for heart health. You need 25-35 grams of dietary fiber daily, especially soluble fiber. For every 1-2 grams of daily soluble fiber intake, LDL (bad) cholesterol is lowered 1 percent.
Add omega 3 fatty acids
For a healthy heart and lower cholesterol, you need to improve the ration of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are involved in the regulation of heart rate, blood pressure, and blood clotting.