How to Cut Your Cholesterol ASAP
4. Decide how far you want to take your diet. continued...
The soluble kind of fiber is especially good for pushing down LDL. You'll get plenty in oatmeal and oat bran, beans, Brussels sprouts, and oranges. Women should aim for at least 25 grams of fiber each day, and men should shoot for 38 grams.
One plan to consider is the “Portfolio” diet, which is strong in fiber-rich foods. In one study, people with high cholesterol who tried it for 6 months saw their LDL drop by about 13%. Previous research found that the benefits might be even greater.
Though you'll need to become a vegetarian to reap the greatest rewards, it might be worth it: "It works in just a couple of weeks, which is similar in results to a statin drug," says Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, president of the American College of Cardiology and chief of cardiology at Rush University Medical Center.
But there’s no single diet that you need to go on. It’s a matter of adding more plant foods to your plate.
If you do keep some animal protein, favor fatty fish -- such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines – a couple of times a week. You’ll get omega-3 fatty acids that raise HDL cholesterol (the good kind), Zanini says. And keep meat and poultry lean.
5. Step up your strength.
Strength training helps your cholesterol. Aim to do it 2 to 3 days a week. You can do classic moves like lunges, pushups, and squats that use your body weight for resistance. Or you can use handheld weights -- if you’re a beginner, start with light ones and do two to three sets of 10-14 reps each. A trainer can show you a routine that will be quick and effective for you.
6. Toast to your heart.
Not a drinker? Don't start. But if you do enjoy a daily beer or glass or wine, it could also help your cholesterol. The perks have been shown with moderate drinking. That’s one serving per day (12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor) for women, or up to two for men.