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Lower your risk of heart disease. Four ways to control your cholesterol levels.

White Woman Eating Bagel

Having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Whether you have high cholesterol levels and are trying to prevent heart attack or stroke, or you have known heart disease, here are 4 ways to control your cholesterol levels.

Avoid saturated fats

The type of fat we eat is important. Try to eat a diet the incorporates monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like fish, nuts, and olive oil. Foods that are high in saturated fats can raise. Foods that are high in saturated fats can raise your LDL-c (bad cholesterol).

Saturated fat comes from animal products as well as 2 plant-based items (coconut and palm oil). Look for items on the nutrition label that contain less than 3g or 20% of your daily value of saturated fat.

Get enough fiber

Eating a diet high in fiber can help to lower cholesterol. Generally, the most fiber is found in fruits and vegetables (with the skin intact), nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole-grain foods (oats, brown rice, whole-grain breads, cereals).

The Dietary Reference Intake for fiber for adults is 38g per day for men and 25g per day for women. This equates to ~13g per meal for men, and ~8g per meal for women.

Say no to processed foods

A diet low in processed foods will help to lower your triglycerides. Think about making healthy swaps! Instead of eating white enriched bread change opt for whole-grain bread, or instead of creamy dressings switch to a vinaigrette or make the dressing from non-fat Greek yogurt.

Know your numbers

Getting your cholesterol levels checked is an important part of staying healthy. High cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the country. Knowing your numbers can help you stay in control of your health.

Contact your Primary Care Physician to obtain lipid assessment to gauge your risk. Act on your numbers by managing your diet, staying physical activity, getting good sleep, reducing stress, and managing medication as needed.

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