Everydayhealth.com offers these simple easy steps to help lower your cholesterol:
A Canadian study of 351 people with high cholesterol, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that participants lowered their LDL, or low-density lipoprotein levels (the bad kind of cholesterol), by about 13 percent from eating a diet rich in foods known for their cholesterol-lowering ability, such as soy, fiber, and nuts, rather than following a general low-fat diet.
Top Off Coffee with Milk Instead of Cream - ditching the half and half in your coffee for some skim milk is about the easiest change you can make - you’ll barely taste the difference and it takes a matter of seconds.
Put Down the Butter - skipping butter in your frying pan lowers the amount of saturated fat in your meal, which can lower cholesterol quick. In a Spanish study that evaluated the LDL-lowering benefits of replacing 40 percent of saturated fats with unsaturated choices, participants who swapped saturated fat for virgin olive oil - a monounsaturated fat that doesn’t raise cholesterol - had about a 7 percent reduction in their LDL levels after four weeks.
Order It Grilled - at restaurants take a few minutes to separate the good choices from the bad. Bypass heavy cooking techniques - so no foods that are fried, breaded, or heavily sauced. Instead, go for simply prepared dishes that don’t require adding fat. Baked, steamed, broiled, and grilled (in which the fat drips off as the food cooks) are a go. Just make sure your entrée isn’t broiled with a crumb top coat or baked in a cheesy crust, warns Joan Salge Blake, RD, a clinical associate professor at Boston University and author of “Nutrition and You.”
Pack Walnuts With Lunch - about 1.5 ounces of nuts per day are part of a heart-healthy diet. Nuts can take the edge off hunger when you might otherwise end up snacking on unhealthy options that won’t improve cholesterol. The same Spanish study that demonstrated the benefits of olive oil found that replacing 40 percent of your daily saturated fat with about this amount of walnuts or almonds lowered LDL cholesterol by 10.8 and 13.4 percent, respectively.
Add Beans - they contain soluble fiber, the kind that binds to cholesterol and sweeps it away (insoluble fiber plays a different positive role, aiding digestion). Varieties abound, and they’re easily added to many dishes. Garnish a salad or use as the foundation for vegetarian chili. If you haven’t been eating many high-fiber foods, up your intake slowly to avoid gassy discomfort. And be choosy about beans when eating out - some dishes, such as refried beans, may contain the saturated fat you want to avoid when you’re at a cholesterol high.
Walk Past the Marbled Meat - those white streaks are pure saturated fat. Instead, go for lean red meat and keep your portion size to about 5 ounces. Consistently making this choice, in addition to tossing some salad onto your plate, could cut your cholesterol by 10 percent, according to a recently published study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers analyzing variations in the American diet found it’s not necessary to give up red meat completely if you choose the right cut.
Make It Tea Time - Research reviewing 20 studies, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, found that sipping green tea reduces LDL by an average of 5.30 mg/dL, though the amount of green tea sipped varied widely from one study to the next. The secret ingredient in green tea to help lower cholesterol? Antioxidants called catechins. One cup has between 50 and 100 mg of catechins. Across the studies, participants had
between 3 and 10 cups a day.
Take the Stairs - in addition to quick-and-easy diet fixes being physically active needs to be part of the plan to cholesterol and heart disease risk. Exercise improves your good HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and
helps you work off any excess weight and calories that could contribute to high cholesterol high. Need a quick change? Take the stairs. A report in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease analyzed a number of studies on lifestyle
interventions for cholesterol management and found that stair-climbing can reduce LDL cholesterol by 6.6 mg/dL. Other aerobic activities and strength training (which tones muscle) can also reduce total cholesterol.