I just got my blood checked and my doctor says that my total cholesterol is high and my bad cholesterol is elevated as well. How can I eat to lower these?

I would start out my limiting your intake of saturated fats and of trans fatty acids. Saturated fats include butter, high fat dairy products, red meat and other animal products. If you enjoy full fat dairy products, challenge yourself to begin to reduce the fat content. Start by moving from whole milk to 2%, then drop down to 1% and possibly to skim if the taste is acceptable. Trans fats are formed during the process of hydrogenation, where hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it a solid at room temperature. Examples include: hard stick margarine, processed foods like crackers, cakes, potato chips etc. Try substituting lean protein like boneless/skinless chicken breasts or fish for red meat entrees. Also, serve vegetarian entrees a few times a week like bean burritos and veggie burgers.

Increase your fiber intake. It is suggested that you aim for 25-30 grams of dietary fiber a day. Soluble fiber plays a major role in lowering cholesterol levels. Foods high in soluble fiber include: oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries and apple pulp. I would start your day with a bowl of oatmeal or high fiber cereal. Substitute whole-wheat pasta for regular refined pasta and choose brown rice instead of white rice.

Exercising at least 5 days a week (30 minutes a day) can really make an impact and help raise your good cholesterol levels (check with your doctor before engaging in an exercise program). Weight loss is another important factor in lowering cholesterol. Dietary changes and exercise can help those that are overweight achieve a healthy weight status.

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