What can you do to keep your cholesterol at or reduce it to healthy levels? Try these nine tips:
1.Eat a hearty bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Experts praise this fiber-rich dish as a cholesterol-lowering powerhouse.
2.Switch from red meat to chicken or fish, which tend to be lower in fat than beef, for at least a few meals each week. Some fish, including salmon and mackerel, are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower triglycerides, one of the components of cholesterol.
3.Eliminate or greatly reduce saturated fats. Tasty alternatives to high-fat items, such as low-fat or fat-free milk, reduced-fat cheese, and lean cuts of meat, are readily available.
4.A couch-potato lifestyle is not heart-healthy, so try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, four days a week. Aim to do some light exercise, such as walking or gardening, every day. Studies have shown that exercise may increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as good cholesterol.
5.Try olive oil or canola oil in cooking, instead of butter, trans- fat margarine, and polyunsaturated oil.
6.Look for products specifically created for low-cholesterol diets, which include margarines and fruit juices. These foods have been fortified with plant stanols and sterols that help to block the absorption of cholesterol.
7.Use cholesterol-free egg substitutes instead of whole eggs, which are notoriously rich in cholesterol.
8.Check nutrition labels to ensure that foods are low in saturated and trans- fats, and high in desirable components such as fiber and nutrients.
9.Stop smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke. Smoking has been shown to increase cholesterol levels.