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How to Lower Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance that is essential for the normal functioning of the body. Cholesterol is present in cell walls or membranes and is also present in organs like the brain, skin, liver, intestines, and heart. The body uses only a small amount of cholesterol in the blood to produce hormones, vitamin D, and bile. Excess of cholesterol in the bloodstream is accumulated in the arteries, like the arteries of the heart, the arteries to the brain, and also the arteries that supply blood to the legs, causing the narrowing and blockage of the arteries leading to decreased blood supply and producing signs and symptoms originating from that part of the body. There are many ways many ways to lower the level of cholesterol which can be either done by a change in lifestyle or by taking medications.

  • Lose Weight: Being overweight contributes to high cholesterol. People can lose weight by adopting a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise.
  • Adopt heart- healthy food: Few dietary changes can reduce cholesterol levels and improve the health of your heart.
    • Choose healthier fats like the ones found in olive, canola or peanut oil. Also opt for leaner cuts of meat and low-fat dairy products.
    • Avoid Trans fats in your diet.
    • Include whole grains in your diet.
    • Vegetables, fruits and healthy fats that are healthy should be included in your diet.
    • Add food that is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like fish, walnuts, almonds and ground flaxseeds into your diet. You can also take fish oil capsules instead of adding the earlier mentioned food.
  • Exercise: Moderate physical activity or any kind of exercise helps raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol also known as the "good" cholesterol.
  • Quit smoking: When you quit smoking you improve your HDL cholesterol level and it also helps lower your blood pressure.
  • Alcohol in moderation: In moderation alcohol increases good cholesterol making it beneficial to the heart and keeps it healthy. However, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure and heart failure.
  • Medications: When lifestyle changes are not able to bring down cholesterol levels then medications are prescribed. Drugs like Statins block an enzyme in your liver that produces cholesterol thus decreasing the cholesterol levels.