Which nutrition supplements can help to control high cholesterol
High cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Medications can help improve your cholesterol. But if you prefer to change your lifestyle first to improve your cholesterol, try these five healthy changes.
If you are already taking medication, these changes can improve their cholesterol-lowering effect.
Eat heart-healthy foods
Some changes in your diet can lower cholesterol and improve your heart health:
- Reduce saturated fat: Saturated fats, found mainly in red meat and whole dairy products, increase total cholesterol. Decreasing your saturated fat intake can lower your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol.
- Eliminate trans fats: Trans fats, sometimes listed on food labels as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil,” are often used in store-bought margarines and cookies, biscuits, and cakes. Trans fats increase cholesterol levels in general.
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids do not affect LDL cholesterol. But they have other heart-healthy benefits, including lowering blood pressure. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts, and flax seeds.
- Increase soluble fiber: Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. Soluble fiber is found in foods such as oats, beans, Brussels sprouts, apples, and pears.
- Add whey protein: Whey protein, found in dairy products, may explain many of the health benefits attributed to dairy. Studies have shown that whey protein supplementation lowers both LDL and total cholesterol, as well as blood pressure.
Exercise almost every day of the week and increase your physical activity.
Exercise can improve cholesterol: Moderate physical activity can help increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, “good” cholesterol. With your doctor’s approval, get up to at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week or vigorous aerobic activity for 20 minutes three times a week.
Adding physical activity, even at short intervals several times a day can help you begin to lose weight. To consider:
- Take a brisk daily walk during lunchtime
- Riding a bike to work
- Play a favorite sport.
- To stay motivated, consider finding an exercise buddy or joining an exercise group.
Quitting smoking improves your HDL cholesterol level. The benefits happen quickly:
- Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the cigarette-induced spike.
- Within three months of quitting smoking, your blood circulation and lung function begin to improve.
- Within a year of quitting smoking, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker
Wearing even a few extra pounds can increase cholesterol. Small changes add up. If you drink sugary drinks, switch to tap water. Eat popcorn or popped pretzels, but keep track of calories. If you crave something sweet, try sherbet or sweets with little or no fat, like jelly beans.
For example, use a ladder in your daily life. Take a walk during work breaks. Try increasing the activity of cakes, such as cooked food or gardening.
Drink alcohol only in moderation
Moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to higher levels of HDL cholesterol, but the benefits are not strong enough to recommend alcohol to anyone who has not yet drunk.
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men over 65, and up to two drinks a day for men 65 and under.
Too much alcohol can lead to serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke.
If lifestyle changes aren’t enough …
Sometimes changing a healthy lifestyle is not enough to lower cholesterol. If your doctor recommends medications that can help you lower your cholesterol, take them as directed, while continuing to change your lifestyle. Lifestyle changes can help you keep your medication low.