Debra Wood, RN
Related Media: Managing High Cholesterol: Cooking Healthy Meals
Some risk factors for lipid disorders like family history or genetics can not be changed. Fortunately, there are many lifestyle risk factors that you can control. Modifications include:
Keep your diet low in saturated and
fat and cholesterol. Look for foods rich in
whole grains. Make
fruits and vegetables
a major part of your diet.
General guidelines include:
Exercise can help decrease LDL and increase HDL cholesterol levels. Choose exercises you enjoy and will make a regular part of your day. Strive to maintain an exercise program that keeps you fit and at a healthful weight. For most people, this could include walking or participating in another aerobic activity for 30 minutes every day.
Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
Excess weight is associated with higher levels of LDLs. Remember weight loss takes time and there is no quick fix. Give yourself time to make adjustments to your diet. Portion control, combined with healthy food choices, will get you started on the right track. A dietitian may help you develop effective meal plans.
If you need help getting started, check the
American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Alcohol can raise triglyceride levels. Moderation means 2 or fewer alcoholic beverages per day for women and 3 or fewer for men. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer or 4 ounces of wine or 1 ounce of 100-proof spirits.
Smoking lowers HDL (good cholesterol) levels. If you are a smoker, consider a smoking cessation program or cessation aids to help you stop. Quitting smoking can improve your overall cholesterol picture and your overall health.
Hypercholesterolemia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114250/Hypercholesterolemia. Updated December 19, 2017. Accessed March 13, 2017.
Hypertriglyceridemia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115419/Hypertriglyceridemia. Updated February 2, 2017. Accessed March 13, 2017.
Prevention and treatment of high cholesterol. American Heart Association website. Available at:
Updated August 30, 2016. Accessed March 13, 2017.
Last reviewed March 2017 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
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