9 Simple Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol

More than 70 million American adults have high cholesterol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of these, only one in three has their condition under control, and less than half are getting treatment. People with high cholesterol have twice the risk of developing heart disease as those with healthy levels. Learn more about what lifestyle changes you can make to get your cholesterol levels in check. At Comfort Nutrition Services, our dietary and nutritional guidance and counseling can help you achieve better health outcomes.

1. Learn Your Family History

Understanding your family history is crucial when managing cholesterol levels. If high cholesterol or heart disease runs in your family, you may be at an increased risk for these conditions. Talking to your relatives can help you determine if anyone has a history of high cholesterol. Additionally, find out if any of the following conditions are prevalent in your family:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Metabolic Syndrome

Knowing your family’s medical history can provide insights into your own health risks. If you have a family history of any of these conditions, consult with your doctor about your cholesterol levels and the best lifestyle plan for you. This information can guide personalized recommendations at Comfort Nutrition Services to help manage your cholesterol effectively.

2. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is a powerful way to lower cholesterol levels. Even a small amount of extra weight can contribute to high cholesterol. The good news is that you don’t have to lose all of your excess weight to see benefits. Shedding just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can significantly reduce cholesterol levels, according to the Obesity Action Coalition.

To manage your weight, it’s essential to understand your daily calorie needs. This can be done using tools like the USDA’s food plan calculator. By balancing your calorie intake with physical activity, you can achieve a healthier weight. Our experts at Comfort Nutrition Services can provide personalized dietary plans and support to help you reach and maintain your ideal weight.

3. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is a key factor in lowering high cholesterol, even if you’re not overweight. Regular physical activity can raise levels of HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol, and reduce LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol. The U.S. Surgeon General recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, which breaks down to about 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

Incorporating exercise into your routine doesn’t have to be daunting. Simple activities like a 10-minute walk during your lunch break or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can make a difference. At Comfort Nutrition Services, we can provide guidance on integrating physical activity into your lifestyle to improve your overall health.

4. Check the Nutrition Facts

Reading food labels and understanding the nutrition facts is essential for managing cholesterol levels. Pay special attention to the amount of saturated fats in your diet. Saturated fats are found in:

  • Cheese
  • Fatty meats, such as bacon and chicken skin
  • Egg yolks
  • Whole milk
  • Grain- and dairy-based desserts

To lower your cholesterol, switch to lean, skinless meats and skim milk, and limit your intake of high-fat desserts. Our dietary counseling at Comfort Nutrition Services can help you make healthier food choices and develop a balanced diet that supports your cholesterol management goals.

5. Eliminate Trans Fats

Trans fats are particularly harmful because they raise “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower “good” cholesterol (HDL). These fats are often found in fried foods and commercially packaged baked goods like cookies and crackers. The FDA has taken steps to reduce the amount of trans fats in food, but it’s still important to check ingredient lists. Look for labels that say “0 grams trans fat” and avoid products that contain partially hydrogenated oils.

By eliminating trans fats from your diet, you can significantly improve your cholesterol levels. Our team at Comfort Nutrition Services can help you identify and avoid foods containing trans fats, ensuring you maintain a heart-healthy diet.

6. Substitute Your Oils

You don’t have to cut fats out of your diet entirely. Instead, opt for unsaturated fats, which can lower your LDL cholesterol and raise your HDL cholesterol. Good options include:

  • Olive oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Canola oil

These oils are healthier alternatives to butter or mayonnaise. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat intake to less than 5–6 percent of your daily calories. By making these simple swaps, you can enjoy flavorful meals while keeping your cholesterol in check. Our nutrition experts at Comfort Nutrition Services can provide delicious and heart-healthy recipes to incorporate these oils into your diet.

7. Eat Fruits, Nuts, and Vegetables

A diet rich in fruits, nuts, and vegetables can help lower cholesterol. These foods are high in soluble fiber, which binds to cholesterol and helps the body eliminate it. Some great sources of soluble fiber include:

  • Lentils
  • Kidney beans
  • Edamame (soybeans)
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Pears
  • Apples

Nuts and avocados are also excellent sources of unsaturated fats and make for healthy snacks. Additionally, edamame contains isoflavones, and tomatoes are rich in lycopene, both of which can help lower cholesterol levels. Incorporating a variety of these foods into your diet can improve your heart health. At Comfort Nutrition Services, we can create personalized meal plans that include these nutritious foods to help you manage your cholesterol.

8. Quit Smoking

Smoking is a major risk factor for high cholesterol and heart disease. Tobacco use hardens the arteries and leads to atherosclerosis, making it easier for cholesterol to stick to the arterial walls and form plaques. Quitting smoking can improve your cholesterol levels and overall cardiovascular health.

If you smoke, cutting back or quitting entirely is one of the best steps you can take for your heart. Avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke is also important. Our team at Comfort Nutrition Services can support you with resources and strategies to quit smoking and improve your heart health.

9. Take Medication

If lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to control your cholesterol levels, medication may be necessary. Statins are the most common type of cholesterol-lowering drugs, blocking the pathway your body uses to create cholesterol. Other options include:

  • Bile acid sequestrants
  • Nicotinic acid
  • Fibric acid
  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors

Consult with your doctor to determine if medication is right for you. At Comfort Nutrition Services, we work closely with healthcare providers to offer comprehensive support and ensure that you receive the best possible care for managing your cholesterol.

By incorporating these nine simple strategies, you can take control of your cholesterol levels and improve your overall health. For personalized dietary and nutritional guidance, Comfort Nutrition Services is here to help you achieve better health outcomes and a healthier lifestyle.

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