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Lifestyle Changes

Diet and exercise are always the first step in managing your high LDL cholesterol level, but for some, they may not be enough. It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about finding a management plan that works for you.

See how a low cholesterol diet and exercise can help reduce high LDL cholesterol

Switching to a Low Cholesterol Diet

A diet rich in fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals and low in saturated fat and salt can help to manage your cholesterol level.  In fact changing to a healthier diet could help reduce your cholesterol levels by over 10%. In addition making healthy changes to your diet can benefit your health in other ways like protecting against high blood pressure, diabetes and weight gain. Making lifestyle changes like increasing physical activity and giving up smoking in addition to considering what you eat can help bring you closer to your LDL-C goal.1 


The Haves2

Different foods can help lower cholesterol in different ways. The charts below suggest some foods that help to lower cholesterol which you might consider adding to your diet. Choosing healthier fats, high-fibre foods and foods with added plant stanols and sterols all can help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels.  

The Have-Nots2
Cutting down on saturated fats and avoiding trans fats can help reduce LDL-C levels. Trans fats are industrially produced fats and have been linked to CHD. They are most commonly found in processed founds like biscuits and cakes, fast food, pastries and some margarines and spreads. To reduce your LDL-C levels avoid eating trans fats and cut down on saturated fats. Below are a few suggestions to try:

Increasing Physical Activity

Being active has many benefits to your health and wellbeing including helping to maintain a healthy weight. Start with small amounts of physical activity, especially if you have been inactive for some time, building the intensity and length of time you exercise. If you have not exercised for a long time or you have concerns speak to your doctor to establish what level of physical activity is appropriate. Remember every little bit helps so look for opportunities to include being active into your routine — walk to the bus stop or train, walk the dog, walk the kids to school, do some gardening, or climb the stairs — all are good starting points to improve your heart health.1

Cholesterol-Lowering Treatment

Sometimes diet and exercise are not enough and cholesterol-lowering medications, such as statins, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, bile acid sequestrants and PCSK9 inhibitors, are needed to reduce cholesterol levels. Talk to your doctor about what treatment options may be right for you. Together, you can determine a suitable way to reach your LDL-C goal.


References:

  1. British Heart Foundation. Reducing your blood cholesterol. Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/~/media/files/publications/heart-conditions/his3_0114_reducing-your-blood-cholestero_a6.pdf [Last accessed 27 February 2017]
  2. Harvard Health Publications. 11 foods that lower cholesterol. Available at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/11-foods-that-lower-cholesterol [Last accessed 27 February 2017]