Cholesterol may be lowered by losing weight, eating heart-healthy foods, exercising frequently, quitting smoking and only drinking alcohol in moderation. If lifestyle changes are not enough to lower cholesterol, medications may be prescribed that are effective in lowering cholesterol, reports Mayo Clinic.
Exercising frequently may reduce cholesterol, and losing just five to 10 percent of body weight may significantly reduce cholesterol levels. Eating heart-healthy foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids may expedite weight loss. Additionally, restricting foods that are high in saturated and trans fats may decrease cholesterol levels. Saturated fats are commonly found in red meat and dairy products and can be replaced by leaner cuts of meat or low-fat dairy. Trans fats can be found in many fried foods, commercially baked products or any food item that contains partially hydrogenated oil, states Mayo Clinic.
Other lifestyle changes that may reduce cholesterol are quitting smoking and drinking only moderate amounts of alcohol. For those who quit smoking for just one year, the risk of heart disease is cut in half. Restricting alcohol to one drink a day may prevent heart failure and stroke. Physicians might recommend prescription drugs to help lower cholesterol when lifestyle changes are not effective, states Mayo Clinic.