Do you have high cholesterol? Do you have a family history of high cholesterol? Here are some key recommendations to reduce cholesterol levels.
1. Reduce the intake of saturated fats and trans fats. Limiting cholesterol intake to 200 mg per day can reduce LDL cholesterol levels by 9 to 12 percent. Eliminate trans fats completely.
2. Increase the intake of poly- and monounsaturated fats. Eating tree nuts, like 1.5 oz a day of almonds, walnuts, or pecans, which are high in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats can decrease your LDL cholesterol.
3. Increase intake of soluble fiber. Eat about 3 oz of oats per day and take a psyllium supplement.
4. Increase the intake of soy protein. Eat 1.5 oz of soy protein per day, like tofu to replace meat.
5. Limit alcoholic drinks to one or two per day. One drink per day for women and two per day for men. With minimal amounts daily, alcohol can increase HDL cholesterol, which is protective.
6. Increase intake of plant stanols and sterols. Using spreads like Promise Activ and Benecol spreads instead of margarine or butter, can reduce LDL cholesterol.
7. Increase the intake of omega-3 fatty acids from marine sources. Eat about 6 oz. of salmon or tuna twice per week. On the other days, take EPA/DHA supplements or chinese red yeast rice.
8. Follow a Mediterranean diet. Consume limited amounts of red meat, dairy products, eggs and poultry and increase the amounts of vegetables, whole grains, fish and tree nuts. Use olive oil as the main dietary fat and consume moderate red wine intake.
9. Follow the Portfolio diet. This consists mainly of a vegetarian diet with soy and other vegetable proteins, plant sterols, almonds, and soluble fiber.
10. Engage in aerobic exercise, at least 120 minutes per week.
(American Family Physician)