Lifestyle Changes To Help Lower Your Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a type of fatty substance that is not inherently harmful. Your body needs it to produce cells, vitamins, and hormones. There are two sources of cholesterol: your liver, which produces all the cholesterol your body requires, and the remainder that comes from animal-based foods such as dairy, meat, and poultry. Excess cholesterol can increase your risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

To lower your cholesterol levels, you can adopt a heart-healthy diet by reducing your intake of saturated and trans fats. Try focusing your meals on low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts. You also can limit your consumption of red and processed meats, sodium, and sugar-sweetened foods and beverages.

Physical activity also is crucial in lowering your cholesterol levels. Strive for at least 150 minutes (or 2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week. This can include brisk walking, swimming, cycling, or even yard work.

Other lifestyle modifications that can help improve your cholesterol numbers include quitting smoking and losing weight. Being overweight or obese usually increases bad cholesterol while lowering good cholesterol. However, a modest weight loss of 5 to 10 percent can make a significant difference in lowering cholesterol.

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