You’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) one in seven adults has high cholesterol. Kids can have high cholesterol too. But it’s certainly most common in adults. Especially older adults.
Having high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Again according to the CDC about 71 million american adults have high levels of LDL which is the bad kind of cholesterol. The CDC reports that Americans are improving though. The number of Americans with high cholesterol has dropped about 5% in 10 years. This is good news. Not only do fewer people have this problem, it means that we can do something about high cholesterol.
Anything above 200 is considered “high” cholesterol. 200-240 is considered “borderline high”. Above 240 is “high”. The desirable level is below 200.
So, what’s the solution? How do you lower your cholesterol? The short answer is to exercise more and eat better. Exercise for 30 minutes 3 times a week. Eat less fatty foods and more fruits and vegetables. Most people already know this.
So here’s a little more detail about how to lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease.
1. Take a 30 minute brisk walk 3 times a week. Or run on a treadmill for 30 minutes 3 times a week. Longer and more frequent is better of course.
2. Eat an apple every day. Eat other fruits too. Blueberries and raspberries are low in fat and high in antioxidants.
3. Drink skim milk rather than 2% or whole milk. Drink water instead of soda.
4. Eat less processed foods and fewer sweets. Too much sugar is bad.
5. Whole wheat bread is good, white bread not so much.
6. Vitamin supplements may be important if you’re not getting enough vitamins in your food.
7. Eat more fish.
8. Use olive oil and canola oil instead of butter when cooking.
9. Eat less foods with trans fats. These include baked and fried foods such as donuts, cookies, and cakes.
10. Eat less foods with saturated fats including egg yolks and meat fat.
11. Eat more foods with unsaturated fats including nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
12. Eat less salt and more whole grain foods.
This may be a bit of a shock at first. You might not know what to plan for your meals when many of your meals in the past have not been very healthy. I’ve had this problem myself. It seems like there are way fewer choices and so I don’t know what to eat. This is why you need to get more information about what the good foods are and what the bad ones are. Learning and understanding the basics of what’s good and bad in the foods we eat will make it easy to quickly determine what you should eat.