Lowering Your Cholesterol
Cut back on high-cholesterol foods. Limiting cholesterol to less than 300 mg a day is important in reducing your risk of heart disease. Cholesterol is found in animal-based foods, such as whole-milk products, pork, beef and egg yolks.
Limit dietary fat. The American Heart Association recommends that no more than 30 percent of daily calories come from fat and only 10 percent from saturated fat. Saturated fat is found in whole-milk products such as butter, cheese and cream; meats, such as beef and pork; and certain plant oils, such as coconut and palm.
Limit saturated fat. Substitute saturated fats with monounsaturated or unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats lower levels of LDL, the “bad cholesterol,” and increase HDL, the “good kind” that helps remove bad cholesterol from the arteries. Polyunsaturated fat includes plant oils, such as sunflower, soybean and corn; and fish, such as tuna, salmon and mackerel. Monounsaturated fats include olive and canola oils.
Beware of trans fat. Trans fat is added to margarine to give it the consistency of butter and may be as harmful to your arteries as saturated fat. The words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” on a margarine’s label means it contains trans fat. There are currently brands of margarine that contain no trans fat—making it the healthiest choice.
Fill up on fiber. Fiber—found in foods such as fruits and vegetables, beans, oat bran and rice—can help lower cholesterol.
Add some soy to your diet. Research suggests that compounds found in soy may lower LDL cholesterol. The amount of soy needed to lower cholesterol is 25 grams a day. Soy protein is found in soy beans, tofu, tempeh and products made with soy flour.
Stop smoking. Smoking increases blood pressure, which damages blood vessels, increases blood cholesterol levels and leads to hardening of the arteries. Talk with your doctor about how smoking affects your health.
Stay active and lose weight. Exercise can keep your body fit and trim, and your heart strong. It also helps you lose weight. Excess weight can increase blood cholesterol, as well as your risk of high blood pressure and diabetes—two major risk factors for heart disease.
Take charge of your emotions. Research suggests that episodes of stress, depression, anxiety and anger release substances such as adrenaline—which converts stored body fat into fatty acids—increasing blood cholesterol. Relaxation is key to managing anxiety. It may help to talk with a counselor who can help you develop strategies to cope with stress or depression.
Upcoming Wellness Events
- May 23, 12:30pm-1pm: Weekly Walk with Charles DeSantis
- May 24, 11am-12pm: Free Yoga at Yates Field House
- May 30, 12:30pm-1pm: Weekly Walk with Charles DeSantis
- May 30, 1pm-2pm: Bike Commuting 101