But there are steps you can take to get your numbers back on track — and keep them there. Here are some tips to lower your cholesterol:
1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber that help reduce blood cholesterol levels by reducing the absorption of cholesterol from food in the gut.
2. Eat more whole grains such as brown rice, oats and barley rather than refined grains (white rice or white flour). Whole grains contain dietary fiber that helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels by helping the body remove excess fat from the body through normal bowel function
3. Cut down on saturated fats found in meat products such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs and cold cuts as well as butter and margarine made with hydrogenated oils (trans fats). Saturated fat also raises blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which contributes to atherosclerosis
4. Consume unsaturated fats. Saturated fats, which are solid at room temperature, and unsaturated fats, which have at least one double bond that prevents them from adhering and maintains them liquid at room temperature, are the two most common forms of fats found in food. Avocados, olives, almonds, and fatty seafood are all good sources of unsaturated fats. Eight weeks of switching from saturated to unsaturated fats has been shown to result in a 9 percentage point drop in total cholesterol and an 11 percentage point drop in LDL cholesterol. People whose diets are higher in unsaturated fats and lower in saturated fats tend to have lower cholesterol levels than those whose diets are more balanced.
5. Remove trans fats from your diet. Most trans fats come from processed foods; as a low-cost alternative to animal fats, it is widely used by restaurants and food producers. Hydrogen or the addition of hydrogen to unsaturated fats, including vegetable oils, causes them to alter structure and become solid at room temperature, leading to the production of synthetic trans fats. Consuming trans fats is associated with a 23% higher risk of cardiovascular disease, as established in several studies.