National Cholesterol Education Month: Tips to Lower Your Cholesterol

September is National Cholesterol Education Month, so it’s important to understand why you should keep your levels in check. Too much cholesterol in the blood is one of the main risk factors for heart disease and stroke –– the two leading causes of death in the United States.

What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in all parts of your body. Some cholesterol, also known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), is considered good because it helps produce hormones, vitamin D and substances, like bile acid, that aid in digestion. However, when you have too much bad cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL), in your blood, you are at a higher risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and coronary heart disease.

Carrying even an extra few pounds contributes to higher cholesterol levels. But losing just 5 to 10 percent of your overall body weight can significantly reduce your cholesterol levels.

Diet and lifestyle changes to help lower your cholesterol

Increase your HDL cholesterol to help lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) from your blood by:

  • Increasing your daily intake of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Eating fish and other foods high in Omega-3s (try it grilled, roasted, baked or broiled)
  • Switching to heart-healthy whole grains that are rich in fiber, like oatmeal, brown rice or whole wheat bread
  • Enjoying a small portion of almonds, pecans, pistachios or walnuts each day

Decrease your LDL cholesterol in your blood by increasing your level of physical activity to three 30-minute sessions each week. Some exercises include:

  • Weight lifting
  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Hiking
  • Dancing

For the best results, try mixing aerobic and resistance exercises.

High cholesterol levels can have serious consequences, if left untreated. If you suffer from high cholesterol and need help getting back on track, contact the experienced medical associates at Charles River Medical Associates. Call 508-848-2190, or use our easy online form to schedule an appointment.