Six quick and easy steps to cut your cholesterol

If you have high cholesterol, there are ways to address the problem without drugs.

High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and some types of stroke. If your cholesterol levels are too high, you may be on medication to treat it. However, there are  some diet and lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce cholesterol naturally and perhaps lower the dosage of medication you require.

Cut out trans fats
Trans fats are a particularly nasty fat that increases LDL, or 'bad' cholesterol levels and decreases 'good' HDL cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes. Trans-fatty acids are created by treating vegetable oils with hydrogen, which causes the liquid oil to hold its solid form at room temperature. This helps food products like doughnuts, biscuits and cakes hold their shape and extend their shelf life. Deep-fried food from takeaway restaurants also often contain trans fats. Check the ingredients list on packaged foods for ‘hydrogenated oils’ or ‘partially hydrogenated vegetable oils’ and avoid foods with these.

Lose weight
It may sound daunting, but you don’t have to lose very much weight to significantly lower your cholesterol. If you are overweight, losing just 4.5kg can cut your LDL cholesterol by eight per cent. An eating plan that allows 1000-1200 calories a day will help most women lose weight comfortably, while men can eat between 1200-1600 calories a day and still lose weight.

Exercise
As well as improving your diet to lose weight, you can also improve your exercise regimen. When you exercise regularly, your cholesterol numbers will improve. To protect your heart, get an average of 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity three or four times a week. A combination of aerobic exercise and strength training is the best way to reduce your heart disease risk.

Increase soluble fibre in your diet
Soluble fibre can help reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed through the small intestine. Soluble fibre is found in oats, legumes (split peas, dried beans such as red kidney beans, baked beans and lentils), fruit, vegetables and seeds. Apples, prunes and beans are particularly high in soluble fibre. Foods high in these fibres can also help you feel full, reducing your desire to reach for unhealthy snack food.

Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, found mainly in fish and shellfish, have become one of the great weapons in lowering cholesterol. If you can eat fish between two to four times a week your cholesterol will drop, not only because of the omega-3 fatty acids, but also because it will likely reduce your red meat intake, which can be heavy in saturated fats. If that much fish in your diet seems like too much, you can always take omega-3 supplements such as fish oil or krill oil.

Spice up your life
Research shows that eating between half a clove and one full clove of garlic per day can lower your cholesterol by up to nine per cent. Other herbs and spices that help improve cholesterol levels are  cumin, ginger, black pepper, coriander and cinnamon.. The extra seasoning also lowers your appetite, which can also help with your weight-loss objective.

Learn more at WebMD

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    COMMENTS

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    Ella
    30th Jun 2017
    6:51pm
    Strangly enough when i dieted and lost 11kg based on lean protein and lots of veges and salad my cholestrol levels went up. I've since disregarded weight as a trigger. I do agree with cutting out trans fats and getting regular exercise. I believe high cholestrol is a more complex issue than most guidelines can help with as I've known too many people with the problem who dont fit the description healthwise such as a good friend who is lean,runs triathlons, doesn't drink or smoke and eats a very healthy diet. My other friend with high cholestrol is also slim and doesn't drink or smoke. Also a careful eater. Go figure.
    KSS
    30th Jun 2017
    6:56pm
    Yes there is also a genetic tendency too to consider especially when all other factors are taken care of.
    musicveg
    1st Jul 2017
    8:21pm
    A lot of people who exercise sometimes add more protein in their diet, eat too many fats or sugar which all effect your body. The truth is a low fat and low salt diet will lower your cholesterol, it has already been proven. Cut out the processed junk too.
    SMMM
    29th Jul 2017
    11:06am
    I have been eating a LOW FAT, LOW Salt diet for years, since, my cholesterol Level went up.
    I eat everything I was told too, Oats, pulses, fish 3times a week,red meat fat removed, maybe 1 a week, Multi grains.Now reading is 3 points higher, and I have gained weight.
    Doc told me Genes are a factor and I had a 10% chance of heart Disease. Apart from walking 3-4 times a week. Don't smoke, have small glass red wine maybe 3 times a week. What is a person to do. Can't win!!!! Like you say Ella it doesn't fit the mold for everyone.
    musicveg
    29th Jul 2017
    2:09pm
    I don't believe in the gene factor. I think you need to look at your overall fat intake, meat, fish, chicken, cheese are usually the ones that increase your cholesterol levels. Why not try a vegan diet and see how you go. More info can be found at: forksoverknives.com with many stories about people who have overcome many health problems. Even if you use olive oil or any other cooking oils will contribute to cholesterol. Try keeping away from fried foods all together too. Good luck.
    SMMM
    29th Jul 2017
    5:41pm
    musicveg , You are a Doctor! re Gene Factor!!You assume I eat allot of Fat, how condescending of you. I watch my Fat and Sugar intake very closely,I read labels and don't cook anything that has a high fat or sugar quantity. I don't eat junk food. Cheese yes but not in vast quantities, and eat meat free meals 5 out of 7 days in the week.
    Not a vegan but close to it. Your comments are not helpful.
    musicveg
    29th Jul 2017
    8:15pm
    I have read a lot of research and I was only trying to help, I wasn't assuming anything and did not mean to be condescending, sorry you took it that way. Sounds like you are doing a lot to help yourself which is great.
    SMMM
    29th Jul 2017
    10:01pm
    Yes l have read and watched a lot of health reports on the subject too. As l said l am doing what is recommended, but have not reduced the levels. Which is very frustrating. I am doing more exercise which was lacking. I was fine until l started to Look After Myself.!!!!! Which was my point.
    As findings for a Low Fat diet, is now being said, to be not the GoodThing, it was thought to be.
    We were told that too many eggs were bad, but now OK to have 1 a day. It is hard to stay positive when even the so called experts get it wrong. You meant well,but. As l told a doctor l will probably have a heart attack from the Stress caused trying to get a lower score.
    SMMM
    29th Jul 2017
    10:08pm
    musicveg, l eat all the above re soluble fibre in diet. Legumes, beans, oats,prunes ect. Suppose to lower cholesterol!!!!!! Get my meaning.


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