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Lifestyle Changes to Lower Your Cholesterol

A few changes in your lifestyle can make a difference in managing your cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol builds up in your body over time and there is no quick fix for reducing cholesterol to healthy levels. A few lifestyle changes may get those levels under control within a reasonable amount of time, however. A change in diet and following a rigorous exercise routine, along with a daily regimen of supplements, may be all you need to get your cholesterol under control and keep it under control. 

Diet:

1. Stop eating fast foods and processed foods. These products are high in sodium and saturated fats, two major influences on the production and processing of cholesterol in your body.

Stop eating fatty foods such as fried eggs and bacon, red meat, whole milk and butter. Avoid deep fried foods and foods made with lard or shortening.

2. Follow a diet that consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, legumes and nuts, and whole grains. Eat four to five servings per day of fruits and of vegetables. Include salads in your diet with low-sodium, low-fat vinaigrette salad dressings.

3. Stay well hydrated. Drink several glasses of water a day and avoid soda and other sugar drinks. For variety, include green tea and natural fruit juices in your daily intake. The fluids help cleanse your digestive system; your digestive system then processes more bad cholesterol as waste and reduces the levels in your blood.

 
Exercise:
1. Exercise for one hour a day. This exercise regimen may include low-impact exercises such as yoga and walking as well as more rigorous exercises including strength training and aerobics.

If an hour at a time is too much for you, break up the time into 15-minute increments. Spend 15 minutes in the morning doing yoga, and another 15 minutes at midday on strength training. Later in the day spend 15 minutes on an aerobic exercise and then take a 15-minute walk after dinner.

2. Utilize additional opportunities to exercise. This includes parking at the far end of a parking lot to add extra walking time and taking the stairs instead of the elevator to augment strength training and aerobics.

Supplements:
1. Take fish oil supplements on a daily basis. The omega fats in fish oil work to process the bad cholesterol, and so allow your body to process it as waste. Eat fish high in omega fats, such as salmon, three times a week to augment and enhance the use of fish oil capsules as a supplement.

2. Include phytosterols in your supplement regimen. Phytosterols is a plant-based compound that works in much the same way as statin drugs, a prescription medication used to control cholesterol levels. Some multivitamins include phytosterols, as does the supplement red yeast rice.

Statin drugs are a synthesized version of phytosterols. If you are unable to take statin drugs due to side effects such as severe muscle and joint pain, or headaches, taking supplements with phytosterols may result in your experiencing the same or similar side effects.

These lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on your cholesterol levels, and on your overall health. Continue to have regular check-ups, including cholesterol testing, and consult with your physician before taking any supplements.

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