Making healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, exercising, eating a heart-healthy diet and quitting smoking, is an effective way to reduce high cholesterol, according to Mayo Clinic. Some people also need medications to help lower cholesterol.
Diet, exercise and weight loss work together to improve heart health and potentially lower cholesterol. Staying active and eating healthy foods helps reduce and control weight. Even a weight loss as small as 5 to 10 percent may have a big impact on cholesterol levels, notes Mayo Clinic.
Most people can make improvements to their diets than benefit the heart. Trans fats and saturated fats can make cholesterol levels higher. Monounsaturated fats, such as those found in olive, canola and peanut oils, are healthier options. Increasing fiber by eating more whole grains, beans, oats, fruits and vegetables can lower cholesterol by absorbing it from the digestive system, according to WebMD.
Moderate exercise not only controls weight but also increases the good cholesterol called high-density lipoprotein. Just 30 minutes of exercise per day can help with cholesterol levels, notes WebMD. Kicking a smoking habit can also help raise the good HDL cholesterol levels. Quitting cigarettes also reduces blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attacks, making it an important heart-healthy change.