Your Lower Cholesterol Toolbox
Get the tools you need to help lower cholesterol -- and reduce your risk of disease -- starting now.
Diet to Lower Cholesterol continued...
To help lower LDL cholesterol,
you'll want to avoid or reduce saturated fats (usually found in animal products
like meats, eggs, and dairy), and trans fats, which are formed when hydrogen is
added to vegetable oil (think French fries and doughnuts).
"A quick way to tell the difference between animal fats and vegetable fats
is that animal fats are usually solid at room temperature, while vegetable fats
are liquid at room temperature," says Antonio Gotto, MD, the Stephen and
Suzanne Weiss Dean at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, in New
So fill up on the healthy fats found in vegetable oils, nuts, avocados, and
salmon, and cut back on higher-fat foods like red meat, whole milk, and of
course, those tempting chips and pastries.
Exercise to Lower Cholesterol
Regular physical activity is key to keeping your cholesterol low. Studies
have found that even moderate exercise is enough to boost HDL (good)
cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. In a recent study of young and
middle-aged women in Spain, researchers found that the more calories a woman
burned through moderate exercise, the lower her LDL level and the higher her
Exercise, in combination with a healthy diet, is also important because
while a low-fat lower calorie diet helps lower total cholesterol and bad LDL
cholesterol, one study showed it can also drop good HDL cholesterol by 7% over
a year. That same study showed an increase in good HDL cholesterol (and
a decrease in LDL and total cholesterol) for those who walked or jogged about 8
miles a week.
Weight Loss to Lower Cholesterol
Both a healthy diet and regular physical exercise can lead to another
important tool in lower cholesterol: weight loss.
Excess weight tends to increase your LDL cholesterol level. If you are
overweight and have high LDL cholesterol, losing weight may help you lower it.
Weight loss also helps to lower triglycerides (another form of fat in your
blood and one which you should aim to keep below 150 mg/dL) and raise HDL
("good") cholesterol levels.