September is National Cholesterol Education Month. Almost 2 in 5 adults in the United States have high cholesterol (total blood cholesterol ≥ 200 mg/dL), according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). High blood cholesterol raises the risk of heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of death in the U.S.
What is Cholesterol? from the American Heart Association (AHA):
4 Lifestyle Changes to Manage High Cholesterol from AHA:
- Heart-healthy diet: A heart-healthy diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, nuts, and non-tropical vegetable oils while limiting red and processed meats, sodium, and sugar-sweetened foods and beverages. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to less than 6% of daily calories and minimizing the amount of trans fat you eat. Click here for a shopping list to find heart-healthy foods provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Get Moving: Physical activity will increase your HDL (good fat) and reduce LDL (bad fat). At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise weekly is enough to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure.
- Manage weight: Being overweight or obese tends to raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol. A weight loss of as little as 5% to 10% can help improve cholesterol numbers.
- Stop smoking: By quitting, smokers can lower their LDL cholesterol and increase their HDL cholesterol levels. It can also help protect their arteries.
Click here to read more from the AHA about preventing and treating of high cholesterol.