If you’ve been told you have high cholesterol, then there are certain things you’ll need to do to get it down to a lower, healthier level.

One of the most common reasons why someone might develop high cholesterol is due to having a poor diet (i.e. foods that are high in saturated fat.) Other risk factors include obesity, lack of physical activity, smoking, and diabetes. The good news is that by making a few lifestyle changes, you can improve your cholesterol.

Because diet is generally the biggest culprit when it comes to high cholesterol, it’s important to know which foods to avoid. The foods that you should stay away from include:

  • Butter and hard margarine
  • Fatty meat or meat products (such as sausage)
  • Full-fat dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Coconut cream, coconut oil
  • Palm oil
  • Milk chocolate
  • Puddings
  • Biscuits
  • Pastries, pies, and cakes

Instead, you’ll want to opt for a diet of foods that naturally lower cholesterol, such as:

  • Beans (baked beans, black beans, kidney beans, edamame beans, lima beans, and more.)
  • Red and green lentils
  • Porridge
  • Oat Bran
  • Tofu
  • Turnip
  • Sweet potato
  • Mango
  • Other citrus fruits

Along with healthy eating, Dr. Ali Ghahary also recommends getting in some kind of physical activity every day to help keep your cholesterol at bay.

By engaging in as little as 30 minutes of moderate levels of physical activity each day, you’re not only improving your cholesterol but also improving your overall health and well-being in the process, such as improving the mood, as well as losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight.

If you’re a smoker, this could also be contributing to your high cholesterol.

Since smoking has a wide range of health problems associated with it (such as lung cancer and other respiratory-related illness), the best thing to do is to quit smoking altogether. Unfortunately, for some, smoking cessation isn’t an easy process. You may go through withdrawals and have cravings for cigarettes.

The good news is that with a lot of determination (and motivation from friends and family, as well as healthcare professionals), you’ll be able to quit.

You can find smoking cessation tips from Dr. Ali Ghahary on his Medium.com page.

For more information and other tips to help you get your cholesterol back to a healthy level, visit www.heartandstroke.ca.