Saturday, February 23, 2008

Managing High Cholesterol

  1. Limit red meat and dairy with saturated fat and reduce unhealthy transfats. Drink 1% of skim milk and eat no more than 3 egg yolks a week. Shoot for 10-20 grams of soluble fiber a day from fruits, veggies, whole grains, and black or kidney beans, all of which help reduce cholesterol. Eat more nuts, fatty fish and mono unsaturated fats.
  2. At least 6 to 8 weeks before you try medication, make some lifestyle changes: Exercise for 30 minutes a day, try a vegetarian diet with plenty of oatmeal and cut back on trans and saturated fats.
  3. Cholesterol drugs were developed as an adjunct to a healthy lifestyle, not a a replacement. So try changing your diet and doing aerobic exercise to achieve your ideal body weight. If you need medication, statins are generally prescribed first, but your doctor may also suggest bile acid sequestrants, fibrates or prescription niacin, all which will help.
  4. Red rice yeast works like statins, suppressing enzymes that cause high cholesterol, and omega-3 fish oils reduce triglycerides. Niacin also comes in supplement form. It helps break down bad fats in the blood. These supplements are powerful and can have side effects. To make sure you're using them safely, only take them with your doctor's supervision.