Lowering your cholesterol can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. So why not start today? Here are seven ways you can start lowering your cholesterol this week:
- Get moving mid-day. Take a brisk 30-minute walk during your lunch break. In addition to lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol, regular physical activity can raise HDL “good” cholesterol by up to 10 percent.
- Go nuts. Snacking on a handful of nuts can help lower your cholesterol. Walnuts and almonds are your best choices. Make sure you stick to a handful because nuts are high in calories.
- Find out about fats. Read the Nutrition Facts label when selecting foods. Avoid foods high in saturated and trans fats and those that include the term “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient list. Choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Limit your total fat intake to 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories. Understanding Nutrition Facts Labels.
- Go fish. Twice a week, substitute fatty fish, such as salmon or tuna, for higher-fat meat such as beef. Fatty fish is full of cholesterol-lowering omega-3 fatty acids. Heart-Healthy Recipe: Crusty Spicy Salmon.
- Fill up on fiber. To lower cholesterol levels by up to five percent, consume at least five to 10 grams of soluble fiber each day. Foods rich in soluble fiber include oatmeal, beans, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
- Wine a little. Alcohol can raise your levels of HDL cholesterol by as much as five to 15 percent. Red wine is particularly beneficial because it contains polyphenol antioxidants, which may also lower your LDL levels. However, stick to one 5-ounce glass of wine a day for women and two for men.
- Hit the hay. Get at least 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to many medical problems including high blood pressure, weight gain and high cholesterol.