How to lower cholesterol

Cholesterol is found naturally in the body and is carried through the blood stream. With laboratory tests, an individualís blood can be checked for both high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). When high levels of LDL-cholesterol are present, the risk of heart disease increases. For this reason, it has become evident that those with high cholesterol should make every attempt to lower those levels.

To lower cholesterol, a change in dietary habits is necessary. Foods high in unsaturated fats should be avoided. A diet consisting of foods high in fiber such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables is essential. To change dietary habits, begin by consuming lean meat and trim excess fat. Low fat and fat free dairy products are also recommended. In recent years, health conscious consumers have caused food manufacturers to cut and lower fat content in nearly every product. This means it is easier than ever to find low fat salad dressings, sauces, chips, and even deserts.

Pay attention to labels when shopping and ask for nutritional charts when dining out. Lowering cholesterol isnít entirely about dietary changes, but also lifestyle changes. Research indicates that incorporating exercise into your daily routine aids in lowering cholesterol. It is recommended that everyone over the age of 20 have a blood lipid profile done every five years to monitor their cholesterol levels.

High levels of HDL are not associated with the risk factors of LDL. In fact, higher levels of HDL are a good thing. If your LDL is higher than 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood (200 mg/dl), you should work with a doctor to discuss dietary and lifestyle changes. In some cases, diet and exercise alone is not enough to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. In these cases, a doctor will want to monitor a patientís levels and medication may be necessary.