Foods to Eat for a Lower Cholesterol Level

In order for you to lower your cholesterol level, you need to make changes to your diet and to your lifestyle.  Having high cholesterol can put you at risk for developing serious health problems like heart disease so once you realize that you have a problem with your cholesterol, you should take steps to reduce it. 

The first step is to cut back but not eliminate the amount of cholesterol that you eat in your diet.  You should also cut back on the total fat, especially saturated and trans fats, that you eat.  Saturated fats, like those found in meat, full-fat dairy products and some oils, will raise your total cholesterol.  Trans fats, which are sometimes found in margarines and store-bought cookies, crackers and cakes, are especially bad for your cholesterol levels.  Trans fats will raise your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol, and lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol. 

Foods like butter, ice cream, and fatty meats will raise your cholesterol but, there are some foods that will actually improve your cholesterol.  Some foods like fatty fish, walnuts, oatmeal and oat bran can help to control your cholesterol level.  Some studies have shown that a diet that contains these types of foods works as well as some cholesterol-lowering medications to reduce LDL cholesterol levels.  Being able to avoid taking cholesterol-lowering medications has several benefits.  One benefit is that it is financially cheaper to eat these foods then it is to pay for the medications.  Another benefit is that some individuals have a hard time handling the side effects from these types of medications.  But, eating these certain foods is not a cure-all for having high cholesterol.  Individuals also need to practice moderation when it comes to eating plus they will need to eat a variety of foods.  There are also some lifestyle changes that you can make to decrease your cholesterol level.  

Regular exercise or at least being physically active for 30 minutes on most days is a simple way that you can change your lifestyle in order to lower your LDL cholesterol and raise your HDL cholesterol.  Plus getting enough physical activity can help you to loose weigh.  Excess weight tends to increase your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol level.  If you are overweight and have a high LDL-cholesterol level, losing weight can help you to lower it.  Weight loss also helps to lower triglycerides and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels.  Plus, being overweight increases your chances for other health problems like diabetes.  Poorly controlled diabetes can increases your cholesterol levels as well.  Surprisingly, controlling your stress is a way to take control of your cholesterol level.  Stress over the long time period has been shown in several studies to raise blood cholesterol levels.  One way that stress may do this is because stress controls your habits.  For example, when some individuals are under a lot of stress, they console themselves by eating fatty foods.  The saturated fat and cholesterol in these types of fatty foods can be responsible for higher levels of blood cholesterol.

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