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7 Lifestyle Tips to Lower Bad Cholesterol


by Caitlin H,

Feb 12, 2024

Lifestyle Tips to Lower Cholesterol

Cholesterol plays a vital role in your body, ensuring your blood cells can replicate and you get essential vitamins.

But high cholesterol levels can have the opposite effect, increasing your risk of serious diseases that lead to strokes, heart attacks, and even death.

High cholesterol is also a significant contributor to an increased chance of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia, according to a recent study published in the journal Neurology. Researchers analyzed 11,571 participants with a mean age of 71 and found a 19% increased risk of Alzheimer’s in those with blood levels that varied the most over 12 years. The study also found that participants with the highest variations had a 23% increased risk of Alzheimer’s.

“Reducing and keeping cholesterol and triglycerides low is a likely way to reduce dementia risk,” said Dr. Gabe Mirkin in a recent blog post analyzing the study results. Mirkin is a fitness guru, longtime radio host, and sports medicine doctor with over 50 years of practice.

“Highly motivated people can lower their blood cholesterol with lifestyle changes,” he added, citing a 2019 study that found that even as little as six weeks on a healthy diet and exercise program lowered participants’ cholesterol levels by up to 40%.

With that in mind, we rounded up seven lifestyle tips you can implement immediately to lower cholesterol levels and possibly add years to your life.

1) Choose white meats and lean protein.


Skinless turkey, chicken, and fish like salmon or tuna are much better options for your main protein than red meats. Red meats tend to have much higher levels of saturated fat, which can raise bad cholesterol levels if you eat them too often. But if you do opt for steak or burgers, try to go with lean cuts as often as possible.

2) Snack on fruits, vegetables, and nuts.


Packaged, ultra-processed foods like potato chips, cookies, candy, and crackers are major culprits driving up cholesterol levels. Fill your refrigerator, cupboards, and work desk with healthier options like air-popped popcorn, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables — all of which are excellent sources of filling nutrients like soluble fiber and unsaturated fats.

3) Pack your diet with whole grains and beans.


Food options like whole grains, beans, quinoa, and oats should be continuous diet staples. You can prepare them in various ways, and they work as side dishes to go with your lean protein. These food items are also filled with soluble fiber to even out the cholesterol levels that reach your bloodstream, which can ultimately help lower your bad cholesterol.

4) Switch to low-fat dairy products.


If you’re a fan of yogurt in the morning or a bowl of ice cream in the evening after dinner, no problem! One important change you can make is to opt for low-fat versions of things like milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream instead of the traditional, full-fat versions, which tend to contain higher levels of saturated fat.

5) Use oils instead of butter or margarine.


Cooking with butter or margarine is a standard norm in most kitchens. Unfortunately, they both add loads of saturated fats to your meal, which can easily boost your bad cholesterol levels. Whenever possible, switch to things like olive or sunflower oil. Oils tend to be higher in unsaturated fats and can help lower your cholesterol significantly the more regularly you use them.

6) Opt for more vegetarian meals.


Vegetarian meals use non-animal options for protein sources, pretty much eliminating the high levels of saturated fats you can get from red meats. Try to make vegetarian meals a few times a week (or more, if possible). You can find many vegetarian recipes to try online, or opt for a meal plan that delivers them right to your door!

7) Get in more movement.


Daily exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. This can be anything from going to the gym for an hour a few times a week to building daily walks into your schedule to trying at-home workouts with trainers who offer routines on common sites like YouTube! The sky’s the limit when it comes to exercise. The key is to get out there, try new things, find one you like, and stick with it.

Ultimately, getting better nutrition and daily exercise can go a long way toward lowering your bad cholesterol, which can, in turn, lower your risk of getting heart disease or Alzheimer’s. If you need help eating healthier, we can help! Our meals are heart-healthy and balanced for nutrition. Customers looking to lower cholesterol have especially found success on our Mediterranean Diet meal plan, which includes a menu rich in whole foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, grains, fish, and lean meats.

 



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