Heart Attacks in Women

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Quick GuideHeart Health Pictures Slideshow: 12 Possible Heart Symptoms Never to Ignore

Heart Health Pictures Slideshow: 12 Possible Heart Symptoms Never to Ignore

How can I lower my cholesterol?

You can lower your cholesterol by taking these steps:

Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, losing weight can help lower your total cholesterol and LDL ("bad cholesterol") levels. Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) to see if you are at a healthy weight. If not, try making small changes like eating an apple instead of potato chips, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking farther away from the entrance to your office, the grocery store, or the mall. (But be sure to park in a safe, well-lit spot.)

Eat better. Eat foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol.

Eat more:

  • Fish, poultry (chicken, turkey--breast meat or drumstick is best), and lean meats (round, sirloin, tenderloin). Broil, bake, roast, or poach foods. Remove the fat and skin before eating.
  • Skim (fat-free) or low-fat (1%) milk and cheeses, and low-fat or nonfat yogurt
  • Fruits and vegetables (try for 5 a day)
  • Cereals, breads, rice, and pasta made from whole grains (such as "whole-wheat" or "whole-grain" bread and pasta, rye bread, brown rice, and oatmeal)

Eat less:

  • Organ meats (liver, kidney, brains)
  • Egg yolks
  • Fats (butter, lard) and oils
  • Packaged and processed foods

There are two diets that may help lower your cholesterol:

  • Heart Healthy Diet
  • Therapeutic Lifestyles Changes (TLC) Diet

Get moving. Exercise can help lower LDL ("bad cholesterol") and raise HDL ("good cholesterol"). Exercise at a moderate intensity for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week, or get 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity each week.

  • Take your medicine. If your doctor has prescribed medicine to lower your cholesterol, take it exactly as you have been told to.
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