Lowering cholesterol is one of the most imperative things to do to promote overall heart health. And now Metamucil and Dr. Michael Roizen, Chairman of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic and host of the upcoming PBS series, "Younger You," have suggested five things you need to do to lower your cholesterol.
The first, and one of the simplest tips, is to get more fiber in your diet - but not just any kind, because not all fibers work the same way. Viscous soluble fiber like psyllium fiber, the natural dietary fiber found in Metamucil, is proven to help lower total and "lousy" LDL cholesterol because it forms a thick gel that traps and helps remove some cholesterol, bile acids and waste in the gut. This is why I recommend my patients supplement low fat, low cholesterol diets with 7 grams of soluble fiber from psyllium daily, as in Metamucil.
Wear a Pedometer and Increase Daily Activity
You'd be amazed to see how many extra steps you can take in one day -- grab a pedometer and watch the numbers roll as you make simple changes for your health and take the stairs, walk to work, or stroll around the neighborhood to increase your physical activity for better heart health. Tracking your progress throughout the day can be great inspiration to keep going, and walking is a simple and easy type of exercise to help lower cholesterol!
Get an Exercise Buddy
A healthy lifestyle requires motivation, encouragement and a friend to lean on. Grab an exercise buddy and support each other in the challenge to lower your cholesterol. Take long walks together and encourage each other to try new types of physical activity to get the heart pumping and to keep cholesterol levels down! Enjoy each other's company and laugh - reduced levels of stress will help your heart too!
Beware of Hidden Fats and Sugars
Be an informed eater; get to know your ingredients and read the nutrition labels thoroughly. Hidden sugars and unhealthy ingredients can increase your weight, which can lead to high cholesterol. Stay away from foods that contain high levels of saturated fat, cholesterol and hidden sources of sugar such as high fructose corn syrup, some dextrins, or evaporated cane juice.
DHA is short for docosahexaenoic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid. Regular intake of DHA can aid in proper heart function and help lower levels of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), or the "lousy" cholesterol3, and raise levels of High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), or the "healthy" cholesterol. Popular sources of DHA are salmon, sardines, tuna - but if you aren't a seafood fan, try fish oil supplements, or if you don't like fishy taste, et them from vegetarian supplements made from algal DHA.