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5 Tips To Cut Your Cholesterol

Easy steps you can take to lower your cholesterol.
Are you paying enough attention to your cholesterol health? High cholesterol is a big risk factor for developing coronary heart disease, says Linda Main, a registered dietitian and nutritionist working for Heart UK. High cholesterol can lead to narrowed arteries and increase the chances of developing angina or having a heart attack.

Fortunately, managing your cholesterol health could be easier than you think -- simple lifestyle modifications including "adopting a heart healthy diet can help to lower cholesterol levels by 10-20%," adds Main. Here are some tips for reducing your cholesterol levels.

1. Get moving

Regular exercise is so important because it can help lower LDL "bad" cholesterol while increasing your HDL "good" cholesterol, explains Dr. Sarah Schenker, an independent dietitian. And you can reap the benefits even with moderate exercises such as brisk walking. The key is to make sure that you're exercising enough to make a difference -- it's recommended that you do at least half an hour of physical activity (vigorous enough to leave you feeling slightly breathless) five times per week. To make exercise more fun rather than a chore, try working out with a friend or taking fitness classes.

2. Cut down on saturated fats

Saturated fat is bad for cholesterol and should be cut back on, says Dr. Schenker. Swap butter, lard and vegetable oil for an unsaturated counterpart like olive oil or canola oil. Also, look to reduce your consumption of animal fats and meat while upping your intake of fruits and vegetables, beans, peas/lentils and wholegrain cereals.

3. Eat lots of oily fish

Oily fish is packed full of omega-3, a polyunsatured fat which helps to regulate heart rhythm. "Include at least two portions of fish per week -- one of which is oily," suggests Main.

4. Eat more fiber

Stocking up on foods that contain soluble fiber can help to lower cholesterol, says Dr. Schenker. This includes things like oat bran, rice bran, soy protein, beans, pulses, lentils, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

5. Choose healthy snacks

Go for fruit, almonds or half an avocado, adds Dr. Schenker. These are good sources of unsaturated fat.

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