Keeping Cholesterol in Check!

High cholesterol levels can increase your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. While medications can help improve your levels, some simple lifestyle changes can lower your chances of harmful side effects. Take these steps to keep your cholesterol in check.

Avoid Trans fats. These fats are found in fried foods, baked goods and margarine. They increase unhealthy LDL levels and lower protective HDL. Substitute with healthier unsaturated fats, which are found in fish, nuts and vegetable oils.

Go with whole grains. Whole-grain breads, pasta and cereal help prevent a blood sugar roller coaster and make you feel full longer. Many of these foods contain fiber that lowers LDL levels. Oatmeal, apples, prunes and beans are high in soluble fiber, which keeps your body from absorbing cholesterol.

Catch of the day! Try to eat heart-healthy fish two to four times a week. The omega-3 fats in fish fish can help lower your cholesterol by reducing your exposure to saturated fats. Some fish may contain high levels of mercury which can increase your risk for heart disease. Choose heart-healthy options like wild salmon, sardines and bluefin tuna.

Choose healthy. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Make healthy dairy substitutions: fat-free milk instead of whole milk or low-fat yogurt instead of sugar-laden versions.

Consider medication. If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower your cholesterol to healthy levels, talk with your doctor about taking a cholesterol-lowering drug.

Source: WebMd and Harvard Health