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  • There are many steps that you can take to help lower your cholesterol levels. Prevention is the key to keeping high cholesterol levels at bay. However, if you already suffer from high cholesterol there are still many things you can do to lower it. Some measures may also help to raise good cholesterol, while lowering harmful cholesterol levels.

    Cholesterol-Lowering Foods

    Eating a well balanced diet is the most effective way to keep down cholesterol levels. Although there are several foods that are thought to ward off high cholesterol, the Mayo Clinic recommends adding three things to your diet: soluble fiber, polyunsaturated fatty acid and omega-3 fatty acids. Oatmeal contains soluble fiber. Soluble fiber naturally reduces bad cholesterol known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Apples, pears, beans, barley and prunes also contain naturally occurring soluble fiber. Soluble fiber works to reduce cholesterol absorption by your intestines. Ingesting just 10 grams of soluble fiber is enough to lower your total cholesterol levels. Cooked oatmeal in a one and a half cup serving yields 6 grams of soluble fiber. Adding bananas will increase the total amount of soluble fiber by 4 grams. Try increasing your intake of oatmeal by eating steel-cut oats, oatmeal cereal or oat bran. Certain nuts, such as walnuts and almonds, contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, which help to reduce blood cholesterol and promote blood vessel elasticity. According to Mayo Clinic research, the FDA recommends eating about a handful (42.5 grams) of almonds, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, pistachios or hazelnuts to reduce cholesterol and your risk for heart disease. Fish high in omega 3-fatty acids such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, tuna and sardines may work to reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol and also lower your risk of developing heart disease. The recommendation is to eat at least two servings of grilled or baked fish a week. If you have an aversion to eating fish, you may take a fish oil supplement or omega-3 supplement sold over the counter.

    Statins

    There are several medications used to lower cholesterol levels, and all are available by prescription only. Your physician may offer you one medication, or a combination of several to lower your cholesterol levels. One common class of drugs that are prescribed for this purpose are statins. Statins work within the liver to prevent cholesterol formation. They are most effective in lowering LDL levels, and inadvertently lowering triglycerides (blood fat), and raising good cholesterol (HDL). Statins readily available by prescription in the U.S. are Lipitor, Lescol, Mevacor, Altroprev, Pravachol, Crestor and Zocor.

    Source:

    Mayo Clinic: High Blood Cholesterol

    American Heart Association: How can I Lower my Cholesterol?

    Checklist for Lowering Cholesterol

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