5 Ways to Lower Bad Cholesterol

By Tasha McRae

While HDL-C (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) is the ‘good’ cholesterol that removes it from your bloodstream, having a high LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) – also known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol – could raise your risks of heart disease and strokes. An ideal LDL-C level is less than 130, depending on your risk for cardiovascular disease.

We want to help you on your journey to a healthy life! If your LDL-C level is higher than 130, here are some tips for decreasing it.

  1. Nutrition If you struggle with lowering your LDL-C, nutrition might be the issue. Changing your diet may make you feel much better. Start by reducing saturated fats, eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, mackerel, walnuts, etc.). Eliminate trans fats from your diet (like margarine and store-bought snacks), eat whey proteins, and increase your intake of soluble fibre (kidney beans, apples, Brussels sprouts, etc.).

  2. Weight Loss Losing weight and increasing your physical activity will raise your ‘good’ cholesterol levels. Unless your doctor disapproves, we recommend working out at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. These exercises don’t have to be complicated. Try taking a walk after your meals, bike around the neighbourhood, and do aerobic workouts.

  3. Quit Smoking Once you stop smoking, your HDL cholesterol will improve dramatically. Research has shown that within the first twenty minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate will immediately start to recover from the cigarettes. Half a year without cigarettes will regulate your blood circulation and improve your lung health. A year without smoking will protect your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

  4. Drink Alcohol in Moderation Lots of alcohol can result in heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, and other health issues. We recommend moderate consumption of alcohol: no more than two drinks a day for men, and one drink a day for women. More than three drinks a day may increase your risk of heart disease.

  5. Medication Depending on the individual, lifestyles changes might not be enough. Take prescription medication if recommended by your physician to decrease your cholesterol levels. Once you start taking medication, the above lifestyle modifications will strengthen the effect of your prescription.

These lifestyle changes can make a significant difference to your health. At LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic, we specialize in exercise for people with chronic conditions. We promise our supportive staff and community will keep you motivated! Visit a LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic near you to learn more.

Tasha McRae, BHK, ACSM, CES/CET, is a certified exercise physiologist and Director of Culture & Talent at LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic
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