Learning how to lower cholesterol is something that medical experts advise almost every adult to do, since cholesterol levels in the body tend to increase as one ages. In fact, cardiologists recommend people aged 20 and above to undergo screenings for high cholesterol at least once every five years or so.
Reducing cholesterol levels is vital for those who are at high risk for cardiovascular disease. One way to achieve this is to implement several lifestyle changes. Doing so may help stave off the need to take cholesterol-lowering drugs, or enhance the effectiveness of such drugs if one is already on medication.
A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that being overweight or obese can lead to a high blood cholesterol level, which is in turn associated with greater risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). Shedding excess pounds is therefore vital for reducing cholesterol levels in the body. Incorporating healthier foods in one’s diet, or using recipes that include ingredients such as whole grains and fruits and vegetables as well as those that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help lower the levels of bad cholesterol in the body.
Becoming more physically fit is another important part of learning how to lower cholesterol. Even moderate exercise done regularly can help increase the levels of good cholesterol in the body and get rid of excess weight. Strenuous exercises aren’t really necessary to achieve this goal; even activities such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking the car some distance away from one’s destination and then walking the rest of the way can make a significant difference.
Learning how to manage stressful situations more effectively is another key factor in obtaining healthier cholesterol levels. Studies done at the University of Hawaii and Oregon State University indicate that reacting to stress with hostility or aggression may lower the amount of HDL or good cholesterol in one’s system.
Smoking and alcohol consumption are two other important factors to consider in educating one’s self on how to lower cholesterol. Quitting smoking improves HDL or good cholesterol levels and reduces heart disease risk. When it comes to drinking alcohol, physicians say that one drink a day for women and up to two daily for men can improve good HDL levels. However, those who do not drink alcohol don’t have to take up the habit; they can drink green tea instead, which has compounds called polyphenols that help the body excrete cholesterol.