When it comes to maintaining a normal cholesterol level, it is out with the bad and in with the good. The LDL cholesterol level is the indicator of the “bad” cholesterol; the one that can stick in your arteries to clog the blood flow and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Lowering this number requires some attention to diet and exercise, and may even include medication in some cases. We have the basics you need to lower your LDL cholesterol level and enjoy a healthier lifestyle overall.
- Super Foods
There are a few foods that have been deemed by the Mayo Clinic as the best for lowering an LDL cholesterol level. For best results, eat these foods as often as possible while avoiding trans fats and saturated fats that can actually increase cholesterol levels. The first food on the list is oatmeal, since oat bran has been proven to lower cholesterol in many who consume it daily. Other good foods to include for a healthy LDL cholesterol level are walnuts, omega-3 fatty acids like those found in certain types of fish, and olive oil.
While exercise may not specifically lower an LDL cholesterol level, it will benefit your cardiovascular health in a number of ways. First, exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight, which is critical in maintaining a healthy LDL cholesterol level. Daily workouts can also raise the “good” cholesterol, also known as HDL. The best exercise program will combine aerobic activity five or more days a week, strength training two or three days a week and flexibility exercises daily.
While few nutritional supplements have been proven to lower an LDL cholesterol level at this time, some medical professionals are beginning to tout the benefits of fiber supplements as one possible tool. Most Americans do not get enough fiber in their diet, which can result in a sluggish digestive system and other health problems. By increasing fiber intake through supplementation, some people have been able to lower their LDL cholesterol level. Since there are some risks involved with fiber supplements, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor before taking them.
In some cases, doctors may prescribe a medication to lower a high LDL cholesterol level. This is usually the next step when dietary and lifestyle changes do not have the desired affect. However, medications like statins are not for everyone, since unpleasant side effects have occurred in some patients. For this reason, doctors can be hesitant to prescribe medication and will usually only do so when the LDL cholesterol level is at a dangerously high number.
An LDL cholesterol level is an important indication of overall health and risk for disease. Do you know your number? If not, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor for a cholesterol screening.