Cholesterol is produced by your body and is also present in foods of animal origin. While we could not survive without cholesterol, levels that are too high may contribute to heart disease.
- If you already have heart disease, you need to speak to your doctor about dietary requirements.
- Some types of high cholesterol are caused by a certain genetic predisposition to it. This does not mean that you will get heart disease, as there are many other factors involved. You should still eat healthy and exercise and follow any other advice from you doctor.
- Recent studies have shown that meditation may decrease the risk of heart disease, possibly because the resulting stress relief may promote the body's self-repair system to thin the fatty buildup on artery walls.
- Studies have shown that drinking apple juice daily can help keep cholesterol low. The juice contains high levels of phenol, which reduces LDL oxidation, the process that can lead to heart disease.
- Keep a food diary. Write down what you eat every day for a week. This is an easy method of evaluating what types of foods you are eating and if they are high in fat and cholesterol.
- Reduce your intake of foods high is saturated fat, which will raise your blood cholesterol higher than anything else you eat. Saturated fat is found primarily in foods from animals, such as fatty red meat, poultry skin, whole milk, butter and lard. Plant sources of saturated fat include coconut oil and palm oil.
- Cut down on your overall intake of fat. That will reduce your saturated fat intake.
- Set a goal of having fat make up 30 percent or less of the total day's calories. No more than 8-10 percent should be from saturated fat.
- Replace saturated fat, such as butter and lard, with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil and canola oil.
- Choose foods that are naturally low in fat, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They are also high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Reduce or eliminate your intake of fast foods. Many of them tend to be very high in fat, especially those that are fried and breaded.
- Eat less dietary cholesterol. Only animal foods contain dietary cholesterol, so reduce or eliminate animal products. Avoid consuming more than 300mg of cholesterol per day.
- Experiment with new ways of eating. Check out different ethnic cuisines, such as Thai and other Asian cuisines, in which the traditional diet is low in fat. Order pizza with low fat mozzarella, minus the pepperoni but topped with fresh veggies.
- Buy a vegan/vegetarian cookbook and try having at least two or three meatless dinners a week.
- Exercise. Find a sport you like, join a gym, do whatever it takes to get your body moving. Exercise can help lower your blood cholesterol; it can also help with weight loss and keep your heart healthy.
Niacin is used to treat high cholesterol under certain conditions. Very high doses are used, and you should speak with your doctor to determine if you are a candidate for it. Your doctor will determine the dose.