Cholesterol numbers too high? These five diet and lifestyle strategies let you nudge numbers down without medication. By: Maureen Callahan, MS, RD
Spoiler alert: While diet and lifestyle changes can promote dramatic drops in cholesterol for many folks, sometimes they don’t do the trick, particularly in people with a genetic disposition for high cholesterol levels. If that’s the case, a doctor can prescribe medications (probably less of them if you’re being scrupulous about diet and exercise) to bridge the gap. Also important, if you’re a smoker, quit smoking. Studies on smoking suggest mixed results with smoking raising LDL levels in some studies and having little impact in others. Yet there is no doubt that smoking is a strong risk factor for heart disease.