by Katelyn Schwanke
(last updated September 5, 2008)
High cholesterol levels can lead to a variety of diseases such as coronary heart disease or liver disease. Lowering your cholesterol is necessary to help you avoid illness and live a longer happier life. Most people are unaware of their cholesterol levels until they see their physician. There are almost no major symptoms of high cholesterol, therefore it is necessary to seek your physician's help in determining your cholesterol level.
Your doctor may mention two levels of cholesterol to you—your HDL levels and your LDL levels. HDL cholesterol is good cholesterol that your body needs to function correctly. LDL cholesterol is bad cholesterol that increases your risk of illness. If your doctor determines that you have high levels of LDL and low levels of HDL cholesterol, he may suggest that you take medication or make lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle changes offer a natural and more permanent answer to high cholesterol woes. Most often, your doctor will suggest that you alter your diet and increase your level of physical exercise. What diet changes are necessary for you to be effective in your efforts to lower your cholesterol naturally? Research indicates that a diet lower in transfats and refined sugars and higher in fiber, omega 3 and monounsaturated fats will lower your cholesterol. Transfats are refined foods that are manufactured commercially (store bought snacks etc.). Transfats can raise your levels of bad cholesterol and lower your levels of good cholesterol (the kind necessary for your body to function properly).
If you are concerned that the foods you are consuming contain transfats you may check the nutrition label found on the back of the food's package. Refined sugars mentioned above are simply foods that have no nutritional value; most store-bought snacks and fast food contain refined sugars and lack nutritional value.
As you decrease the amount of refined sugars and transfats in your diet you should complement this effort by increasing the amount of fiber and omega 3s in your diet. Fiber is found in whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. Omega 3s are proteins found, among other sources, in fish and eggs. Fiber and omega 3 not only help lower bad cholesterol but raise good cholesterol.
As you improve your diet, you should be sure to exercise appropriately and adequately. Ask your doctor what the best type of exercise is for you body and then proceed to exercise at least thirty minutes daily.
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