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Lowering Your High Cholesterol

More than 102 million American adults (20 years or older) have total cholesterol levels at or above 200 mg/dL, which is above healthy levels. More than 35 million of these people have levels of 240 mg/dL or higher, which puts them at high risk for heart disease. If you fall into either of these categories, it may be time to consider the steps you can take to lower your cholesterol. Take a look at the tips provided by Melissa Bischoff, MMH registered dietitian.

  • Eat More Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains, Dried Beans & Lentils
    • Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are rich in fiber and low in fat.
    • Increasing fiber intake can help to lower cholesterol levels and aid in weight loss by helping you feel fuller longer.
    • You should get 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day.
    • At least half of your grain choices should be whole grains.
    • Avoid added sugars. Limit to seven to eight teaspoons (26 to 32 grams) a day.
  • Replace Saturated Fats with Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats
    • Twenty to 35 percent of your calories each day should come from fats with less than seven percent of these calories coming from saturated fat and the remaining calories coming from a blend of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
    • Avoid trans-fats completely. Avoid foods including ‘partially-hydrogenated oils.’
    • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
      • Omega 3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that cannot be made in our bodies and therefore must be provided by our food. They are protective against heart disease and help to lower cholesterol.
        • Flaxseed meal
        • Canola oil
        • Walnuts
        • Salmon
        • Sardines
        • Herring
        • Shrimp
        • Flaxseed oil
        • Soybean oil
        • Mackerel
        • Lake trout
        • Albacore tuna
        • Oysters
        • Shellfish
      • We recommend including fish in your meals three times per week.
  • Nut Consumption
    • Nuts are heart healthy. Eating five ounces of nuts per week can lower the risk of heart disease. Nuts are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. But nuts also have a lot of calories per serving, so you should limit the amount you eat. Aim for one to two tablespoons daily, or up to five ounces per week. Unsalted nuts are preferred over salted nuts. Tips for adding nuts to your daily plan include:
      • Sprinkle walnuts in a garden salad.
      • Add nuts to a high-fiber breakfast cereal (hot or cold).
      • Make your own trail mix using nuts, pretzels, dry cereal and dried fruit.
      • Add cashews or almonds to a stir-fry meal.
      • Top non-fat frozen yogurt with walnuts.
      • Add almonds to green beans.
  • Physical Activity
    • Physical activity helps:
      • Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
      • Raise HDL (healthy) cholesterol.
      • Keep your heart in good shape. Exercise trains the heart muscle and helps the lungs take in more oxygen.
      • Keep you flexible, possibly reducing the incidence of injury and joint conditions.
      • Build and maintain muscle strength.
    • How much activity do you need?
      • Always ask your doctor for their recommendation before starting an exercise regimen, but below are general guidelines from the USDA.
        • Aerobic exercise: 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.
        • Strength training: Two to three times per week using dumbbells, medicine balls and resistance bands to build strength.
        • Flexibility: Incorporate group exercises promoting full range of motion and target major muscle groups.

If you need to know your numbers, talk to your primary care provider about having blood work done, or make an appointment for one of our upcoming wellness screenings by calling 812.933.5583.

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