Lowering cholesterol is extremely important to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Cholesterol is divided into two portions: 'good' (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and 'bad' (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol). Dangerous levels are deposited into the blood vessels, while good levels bring cholesterol away from the blood vessel wall. The ideal number to stay under is 130 to stay healthy. Depending on other health problems, doctors may set lower goals.
Many individuals have high cholesterol and are not aware of it. It's vital to at least see a doctor annually for regular check-ups. Making lifestyle changes is the best way to lower cholesterol. For many individuals, diet and exercise are enough to reduce their levels and risk for heart disease.
Eat Heart-Healthy Foods
The first step to lowering cholesterol is making dietary changes and eating heart-healthy foods. Certain foods can influence low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. Diet plays a significant role in heart health and can impact an individual's risk of heart disease. Saturated fats and red meats such as beef and veal should be limited. Individuals should replace these foods with an increased consumption of turkey, chicken, and fish. They should avoid fried foods, and substitute whole milk with fat-free or low-fat products, and instead focus on fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits, low-sodium canned vegetables, and canned fruit packed in water. Individuals should limit coconut, frozen fruit with added sugar, canned fruit packed in syrup, vegetables with creamy sauces, and fried or breaded vegetables.