High cholesterol levels can increase the risk of heart disease and other health problems, so it’s important to take steps to improve cholesterol levels. Here are some ways to improve cholesterol with diet and exercise:
- Reduce saturated and trans fats: Limiting your intake of saturated and trans fats, found in foods like red meat, butter, and processed foods, can help lower LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). Instead, opt for healthier fats like those found in nuts, seeds, and oily fish.
- Increase fiber intake: Eating more fiber can help lower LDL cholesterol. Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help increase HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and lower LDL cholesterol. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week.
- Eat heart-healthy foods: Incorporate more heart-healthy foods into your diet, such as fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid sugary and processed foods: Foods that are high in added sugars and processed carbohydrates can raise LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol. Limit your intake of these foods and opt for whole, unprocessed foods instead.
- Quit smoking: Smoking can lower HDL cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease. Quitting smoking can help improve cholesterol levels and overall heart health.
In addition to these lifestyle changes, some people may need medication to help lower cholesterol levels. It’s important to talk to a healthcare provider about the best approach for your individual needs.