How to lower your blood cholesterol level

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
Controlling your cholesterol is absolutely essential to lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks. Though medication may be required, a nutrition and exercise plan is the most effective weapon for putting cholesterol in proper balance. There are several ways to accomplish this. Walk, jog, cycle, or do some other form of moderate exercise at least three or four days a week, 20 to 30 minutes per session. There's solid evidence that for many people that the HDL (H-D-L), or 'good' cholesterol levels, can be raised 10 percent or more through regular moderate-to-vigorous endurance exercise. Second, take off excess weight. Carrying even a few extra pounds can significantly increase your total cholesterol, including your LDL (L-D-L), or 'bad' cholesterol. Third, reduce your intake of saturated fats. No more than 10 percent of the calories in your daily diet should come from saturated fats, such as those found in meats, butter, or whole milk and cheese. Saturated fats trigger the body's production of excess cholesterol. Limit your intake of cholesterol to no more than 300 milligrams per day. Keep the amount below 200 milligrams per day if you have a cholesterol problem or a family or personal history of heart disease. All animal products contain cholesterol and no fiber. Increase your intake of foods containing soluble fiber, such as oatmeal, beans, apples, and citrus fruits. Several studies have shown that soluble-fiber foods can help lower cholesterol levels. If you can't bring your cholesterol into a healthy balance with these lifestyle changes, your doctor may have to prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication.

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