Adopting a heart-healthy diet and getting regular exercise are the most important steps you can take to prevent or control cholesterol problems and heart disease. Here are some general tips:
Get physical. Aim to get a minimum of 30 minutes of (moderate-intensity) activity at least five times a week. Activities might include a brisk walk, jogging, riding a bike, swimming—even gardening or heavy housework.If you don’t have a 30-minute block of time free, even 10-minute bursts of activity three times throughout the day is helpful. Consider wearing a device that keeps track of the number of steps you take each day so that you know your starting point.
Take time to read and understand food labels, and pay special attention to the amount of saturated fats, trans fats (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils) and sugar content.
Try to avoid full-fat dairy products, processed foods, and foods high in salt (sodium) and preservatives.
Swap out butter or margarine for healthier fats such as olive oil, avocados and a handful of almonds (remember, fat that becomes solid on the counter should probably be avoided). Nuts, fish, certain oils (olive, canola and peanut oils) and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are good choices.
Consider keeping a food diary so you can see what you are eating and what dietary habits you might need to change.
Ask about seeing a dietitian or nutritionist who can help you meal plan and provide dietary strategies for lowering LDL or triglycerides, and improving your sugar levels and boosting your energy.
As with any goal, start small. Make sure you are setting yourself up for success.
Limit alcohol. Too much alcohol can raise triglyceride levels and blood pressure.