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How do you reduce cholesterol levels?

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Quick Answer

Lifestyle changes including quitting smoking, moderating alcohol consumption, initiating an exercise regimen, dropping weight and choosing foods with healthier fats help to lower cholesterol. High cholesterol elevates a person's risk of heart attacks and heart disease; these lifestyle changes reduce that risk, notes Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Even dropping 5 to 10 percent of body weight leads to a significant reduction of cholesterol levels. Changing behaviors such as taking a walk instead of eating to ease frustration or cure boredom or taking healthy lunches to work instead of driving through fast food restaurants are all easy ways to start dropping weight, states Mayo Clinic.

Saturated fats such as those in dairy products and red meat elevate LDL and total cholesterol levels. No more than 7 percent of each day's calories should come from saturated fats. Choosing low-fat dairy, leaner meat and the monounsaturated fats in canola, peanut and olive oils instead of saturated fats makes a significant difference in cholesterol. Adding soluble fiber to the diet, such as oatmeal and a number of different vegetables, soaks up cholesterol before it can enter the bloodstream, explains Mayo Clinic.

Exercise cuts cholesterol regardless of whether a person is overweight. Moderate activity levels boost HDL levels, so a goal of 30 minutes of exercise on a daily basis makes a big difference in terms of cholesterol, according to Mayo Clinic.

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