Heart & Cholesterol

Controlling Cholesterol

A poor diet can cause or contribute to high cholesterol levels, one of the leading contributors to heart disease. By making better food choices, you can start improving your cholesterol levels today.

  1. Limit total fat to 30 percent of your daily calories. If you eat 2,000 calories a day, that's a maximum of 67 grams of fat (9 calories per gram of fat). Limit dietary cholesterol to fewer than 300 milligrams a day.
  2. Eat more food high in soluble fiber, such as oatmeal, beans, citrus fruits and strawberries. These can help lower your total blood cholesterol.
  3. Eat more fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel and herring. Omega 3s may help lower your triglycerides, a type of blood fat. Eating fish reduces the risk of heart disease through this and other benefits.
  4. Eat protein from plants rather than from animal sources. Studies show that substituting plant proteins can reduce your cholesterol. A good source of plant protein is soy (tofu).
  5. Exercise. Start slowly and work up to 30 to 45 minutes of moderately vigorous activity, most days. Combining diet changes and exercise will help you lose weight, which will help improve your cholesterol levels.

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