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Ask A Nurse Highlight: Natural Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol

Posted Mar 24 2011 12:00am
Hi Nurse Robyn,

My doctor says I have high cholesterol but I don't want to start medications. What do you recommend?

Thank you!

Ask A Nurse Answer: There are two different causes of hyperlipidimia (high cholesterol).  One is due to dietary and lifestyle factors and the other is due to problems in the liver, caused by genetics, aging or other disease. In the case that your hyperlipidemia is caused by your liver then modifying lifestyle factors may not be enough and your doctor may recommend medications.

However, there are 10 things that you can try to lower you cholesterol naturally:
  1. Try to avoid all trans and saturated fats. No more than 25% of your dietary calories should come from fat.
  2. Focus on soluble fiber food sources such as oatmeal, oatbran, nuts, barley, flaxseed, peas and beans
  3. Use healthy oils for cooking such as olive oil
  4. Replace red meat with fish. Aim for 2-3 servings of fish per week
  5. Limit processed foods, fast foods, and sweets
  6. Get plenty of fruits and vegetables. Try to get a minimum of 9 servings per day.
  7. Exercise 30  minutes per day at moderate intensity. Try taking two 15 minute breaks for a brisk walk if you're not already accustomed to exercising.
  8. Quit smoking.
  9. Maintain your weight within your doctors recommendations.
  10. Consider supplements. Omega III fish oil, in particular, is known for it's cholesterol-lowering benefits. Be sure to choose a high quality supplement with 3grams of omega III.

If your doctor is OK with it, try these methods for 3 months and then be re-tested to see if these modifications have helped improve your cholesterol levels.
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