Chin up. Unhealthy cholesterol levels are not written in stone. With a little guidance from your doctor, and, we’re not going to lie, quite a bit of personal commitment to changing lifestyle habits you may enjoy and have become accustomed to (tasty fatty foods, anyone?), you can wrangle your levels back to within healthy range. The silver lining here? This can be done. Remember, when you lower unhealthy cholesterol levels, you also lower your risk of heart disease. Seeing as that’s the number one cause of death in the U.S., we’re sure your loved ones will be happy about that.
High blood cholesterol does not announce itself with loud and noticeable symptoms. If you are at increased risk of high cholesterol due to factors such as being overweight, eating a diet high in fatty foods, having a family history, and/or smoking, ask your doctor how often it would be appropriate for you to have your cholesterol tested.
Eat healthy fats. Aim to consume 10 percent or less of your daily calories from saturated fat, which can push your total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels higher. Instead, use and look for monounsaturated fats including canola, olive, and peanut oils. Other foods with healthy fats include almonds and walnuts.
Regulate cholesterol: Your target, if you have heart disease, is to consume less than 200 mg of cholesterol daily if you suffer from heart disease, and, less than 300 mg if you do not have heart disease. Consider switching to lean meat and fat-free milk.
Up your whole grains: Opt or oatmeal, oat bran, whole-wheat flour, whole-wheat pasta, and brown rice. Whole grains boost heart health.
Load up on fruits and veggies: The dietary fiber that these foods are high in help to lower cholesterol.
Go fish: Certain kinds of fish, including cod, halibut, and tuna, have lower amounts of cholesterol, as well as total fat and saturated fat than do chicken and meat. Also try eating salmon, mackerel and herring, which are high in heart-healthy omega-3s.
Avoid trans fats: Look at the ingredients listed on food labels and skip buying those that contain trans fats. These types of fats not only increase bad cholesterol (LDL) but also lower good cholesterol (HDL). When you see any partially hydrogenated oil listed, go back to shelf and look for something else.