Ways to keep your bad cholesterol down

A study published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization suggests that many individuals with elevated cholesterol levels are not receiving treatment and are not actively working to lower it, despite the risks of clogged arteries and heart attacks associated with high cholesterol.

Taking control of your cholesterol levels is within your reach, and there are numerous strategies you can employ to lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. Here are some straightforward approaches:

  1. Establish Your Goal: Determine your target cholesterol level based on factors such as your overall health and cardiovascular risk factors like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking.
  2. Increase Fruit and Vegetable Intake: Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet as they are rich in nutrients, low in saturated fats, and cholesterol-free. Their high fiber content can help lower cholesterol levels. Aim for four to five servings of colorful fruits and veggies daily.
  3. Limit Unhealthy Fats: Reduce your consumption of saturated and trans fats found in processed and fast foods. Opt for low-fat dairy products and lean meats to help keep cholesterol levels in check.
  4. Use Healthy Oils: Cook with heart-healthy oils like olive and canola oil, which contain beneficial monounsaturated fats that can help lower total cholesterol levels.
  5. Include Garlic and Legumes: Incorporate garlic into your diet, as it has been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, beans, and peas are also beneficial due to their high nutrient content and ability to lower cholesterol.
  6. Opt for Heart-Healthy Breakfasts: Choose whole oats as a breakfast option, as they are high in dietary fiber and nutrients that can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  7. Snack on Nuts: Enjoy nuts like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pistachios, which are high in unsaturated fats and can help lower cholesterol levels.
  8. Stay Active: Engage in regular physical activity such as walking, brisk walking, jogging, or cycling to improve cholesterol levels and overall cardiovascular health.

While lifestyle changes are crucial, they may not always be sufficient. In some cases, medications may be necessary to lower cholesterol levels. It’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations regarding medication and not to discontinue any prescribed medications without consulting your doctor first.