Cholesterol numbers too high? These five diet and lifestyle strategies let you nudge numbers down without medication. By: Maureen Callahan, MS, RD
Photo: © Tiina & Geir/cultura/Corbis
Ours is a pill-popping culture, so it’s no surprise the default method for lowering high cholesterol levels is usually medicinal. Drugs are readily available. They’re effective. And the pill approach requires very little effort. Yet studies show that diet and lifestyle changes can be as or even more powerful than many drugs. Better yet, these natural methods help lower heart disease risk without negative side effects. Employ one (or all five) of these strategies and chances are cholesterol numbers will improve. Already taking cholesterol-lowering meds? These changes can enhance a drug’s effectiveness.
The ultimate goal: total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dl; 100 mg/dl or less for LDL or “bad” cholesterol, and 40 mg/dl or higher for HDL or “good” cholesterol.