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How can you lower cholesterol levels?

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Quick Answer

Lowering cholesterol can be accomplished by taking medication for this purpose and changing your lifestyle, according to WebMD. Medications work faster and include statins, fibrates, bile acid resins and niacin. Changes in diet and eating habits provide long-lasting control.

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Full Answer

Lifestyle changes can augment the use of cholesterol medications. Some individuals can lower cholesterol by losing 5 to 10 percent of their body weight. Habits such as eating when watching TV or eating a diet high in fast food can increase cholesterol, warns the Mayo Clinic. Eliminating trans fats found in baked goods and fried foods can help lower cholesterol. People should strive to reach a daily intake of cholesterol at levels below 300 milligrams by incorporating more heart-healthy foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables and experimenting with recipes that are vegetable based rather than meat based. Limiting the intake of dried fruits, which are higher in calories, may also help, and eating foods that contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids is beneficial too; these include fish, particularly salmon, herring and mackerel, as well as walnuts, flaxseeds and almonds. Exercise reduces total cholesterol and increases good, or HDL, cholesterol. Exercising five to seven times a week with such activities as walking is recommended by WebMD.

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