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Lifestyle Changes

Adopting a heart-healthy diet and getting regular physical activity are the most important steps you can take to prevent or control cholesterol problems and heart disease. It’s also important to maintain a healthy weight, avoid tobacco and manage stress.

Here are some tips about being active and eating better: 

  • Get physical. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of (moderate-intensity) activity five times a week. Activities might include a brisk walk, jogging, riding a bike, swimming – even gardening or heavy housework. A 10-minute burst of activity three times during the day is helpful. Consider wearing a device that tracks the number of steps you take so that you know your starting point.
  • Take time to read and understand food labels, and look for the amount of saturated fats, trans fats (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils) and sugar content.
  • Try to stay away from full-fat dairy products, processed foods, and foods high in salt (sodium) and preservatives.
  • Eat healthier fats. Instead of butter or margarine, use olive oil or avocados. But try to stay away from fat that becomes solid when left on the counter. Nuts, fish, certain oils (olive, canola and peanut oils) and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are also good choices.
  • Try to include up to 30 grams of fiber in your diet each day. Eat a variety of foods, including berries, legumes, whole grains, green leafy vegetables and many others.
  • Consider keeping a food diary so you can see what you are eating and what food habits you might need to change.
  • Ask about seeing a dietitian or nutritionist who can help you plan meals and suggest ways to lower LDL or triglycerides, improve your sugar levels and boost your energy.
  • As with any goal, start small. Make sure you are setting yourself up for success.
  • Limit alcohol. Too much alcohol can also raise triglyceride levels and blood pressure.
  • Last Edited 08/25/2023