If you have high cholesterol, you also increase the risk of heart disease. But it turns out that it is a risk that you can control. You can reduce your “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase your “good” HDL cholesterol. Just make simple changes.
“I tell patients that you have to start somewhere and just keep going,” says Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “When you adopt lifestyle changes, everything starts to change and the improvements you see at 6 weeks often increase in 3 months.”
You may need to take medication to get your cholesterol back on track. But if you make a few small changes, you could reduce your dose and your risk of side effects.
Lowering your cholesterol: 11 tips to bring it down faster:
Follow these tips to lower your cholesterol and get back in good health.
Foods like oatmeal, apples, prunes and beans are high in soluble fiber, which allows your body to absorb cholesterol.
Research shows that people who eat 5 to 10 grams more each day have seen a drop in their LDL. Eating more fiber also gives you the feeling of fullness, so you will have less desire to eat. But be careful: too much fiber at one time can cause abdominal cramps or bloating.
Put some spices
Spices like garlic, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, coriander and cinnamon do more than just flavor your food, they can also improve cholesterol. Research shows that eating half a clove of garlic each day could reduce cholesterol by up to 9%.
Ban trans fats
“They increase your LDL, reduce your HDL and increase your risk of developing heart disease and stroke,” says Steinbaum. But it is difficult to avoid them. They are found in fried foods, baked goods (cakes, pie dough, frozen pizza and cookies) and some margarines.
When you go shopping, read the labels. But be careful if you see “partially hydrogenated oil” on the package, it’s just another name for trans fats.
You do not have to lose a lot of weight to lower your cholesterol level. If you are overweight, lose only 5 pounds and you will reduce your LDL by up to 8%. But to really avoid the pounds, you will have to do it gradually. A reasonable and safe goal is 0.5 to 1 kilo a week.
Related article: Here are 6 lies about cholesterol
“Exercising at least 2 1/2 times a week is enough to increase HDL and improve LDL and triglycerides,” says Sarah Samaan, MD, a cardiologist in Plano, TX. If you are not active, start slowly, even do 10 minutes of activity counts. Choose an exercise that you enjoy.
“Smoking can increase LDL levels and reduce HDL, and stopping often improves these numbers,” says Samaan. In one study, people who quit smoking had their “good” cholesterol levels increase by 5% in one year. But if you are regularly in the presence of smokers, be careful: breathing smoke every day can also increase the level of bad cholesterol.
Laughter is like a drug: it increases HDL, says Steinbaum. Watch funny movies, funny videos, laugh with your friends!
Try to eat two to four times a week. “Not only are omega-3 fats in fish good for you, but replacing red meat with fish will lower your cholesterol levels by reducing your exposure to saturated fats, which are abundant in red meat,” says Samaan. However, some types such as shark, swordfish and mackerel are rich in mercury. This can increase your risk of heart disease. Instead, choose wild salmon, sardines and bluefin tuna.
Opt for olive oil
“Replacing the butter with olive oil can lower LDL cholesterol by 15%, which is similar to the effect of a low dose of medication,” says Samaan. The “good” fats of olive oil are good for your heart. Choose extra virgin olive oil. It is less processed and contains more antioxidants, which helps prevent disease.
Most nuts can reduce LDL. The reason is that they contain sterols, which, like fiber, prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol, says Steinbaum. Just do not overdo it: nuts are high in calories.
High triglycerides: what to do?
Triglyceride levels are closely related to diet. Adopting an appropriate diet is therefore the surest way to avoid excess and, in fact, reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, such as myocardial infarction or stroke.
Thus, all foods rich in fast sugars are to be avoided as much as possible. In this category, we find not only cakes, sweets, but also industrialized preparations, white bread or fruit juices and sodas. Alcohol is also banned because it contains a lot of fermented carbohydrates. It is preferable to favor slow sugars, qualitatively better, contained among others in legumes. (source)