Although cholesterol is necessary for many functions within the body including hormone production, excess cholesterol in the bloodstream can lead to cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks.
While high-risk patients are likely to be prescribed medication to lower cholesterol, many people have found that simple dietary changes and exercise can lead to lower cholesterol without medication, according to health experts.
Here are some tips to lowering cholesterol through diet.
- Avoid pastries and other foods high in fat, such as cake and other baked foods.
- If you enjoy red meat, which has a higher concentration of saturated fat than chicken or fish, go with lean cuts. The best way to cook red meat, chicken, and fish for lower cholesterol is grilled. Try to stay within the food pyramid guidelines of two servings per day equaling 5 ounces total.
- If fried food is something you are unwilling to take off the menu, choose olive oil or vegetable oil rather than butter.
- When purchasing dairy products, try low-fat options, like skim milk and yogurt.
- Don’t discount supplements. Studies show that vitamin B3, or niacin, is also an effective supplement to help lower cholesterol. Always talk with your physician before adding a supplement to your diet.
- Don't leave out fruits and vegetables. These are two of the most important aspects of a heart-healthy diet. According to Health.gov, and the Food Guide Pyramid, it is recommended to eat at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruits each day.
- Garlic is said to have properties that may lower cholesterol. As long as you don't have a garlic allergy, it can add that bit of extra flavor to most dinner dishes.
It is not impossible to lower cholesterol with minor dietary changes. This doesn't mean exercise is unnecessary. A well-rounded day in anyone's life should include a healthy diet along with exercise, but as mentioned in the title of this blog post, it doesn’t normally require a complete lifestyle change.
These are just a few ways to get started at lowering cholesterol. Take it one step at a time, and always keep your physician in the loop about the actions you are taking to keep your cholesterol under control.