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There are several lifestyle modifications that can lower your risk of developing a lipid disorder. They are:

Eat a Diet Low in Saturated and Trans Fat and Cholesterol

Keep your diet low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. Look for foods rich in whole grains. Make fruits and vegetables a major part of your diet. Your doctor may recommend a meal plan or refer you to a registered dietitian. A dietitian can design an eating plan for you.

General guidelines include:

  • Limit calories from saturated fat. They should be less than 7% of your total calorie intake. Limit cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg per day.
  • Have fruits and/or vegetables with every meal.
  • Eat oily fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids twice a week, and limit excess carbohydrates.
Exercise Regularly

Exercise can help decrease LDL and increase HDL cholesterol levels. Choose exercises you enjoy and will make a regular part of your day. Strive to maintain an exercise program that keeps you fit and at a healthful weight. For most people, this could include walking or participating in another aerobic activity for 30 minutes every day. But check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Lose Weight if You Are Overweight

Follow the dietary and exercise plan recommended by your doctor. To lose weight, consume fewer calories than you expend. To maintain a healthful weight, eat an equal number of calories to those you use.

Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation

Alcohol can raise triglyceride levels. Moderation means one or fewer alcoholic beverages per day for women and two or fewer for men. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer or four ounces of wine or one ounce of 100-proof spirits.

Stop Smoking

Smoking lowers HDL (good cholesterol) levels. If you are a smoker, consider a smoking cessation program or cessation aids to help you stop. Quitting smoking can improve your overall cholesterol picture and your overall health.

References:

Hypercholesterolemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated September 9, 2012. Accessed September 12, 2012.

Prevention and treatment of high cholesterol. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/PreventionTreatmentofHighCholesterol/Prevention-and-Treatment-of-High-Cholesterol_UCM_001215_Article.jsp. Published August 2012. Accessed September 12, 2012.

What is cholesterol? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbc/. Accessed September 12, 2012.

Last reviewed October 2012 by Brian Randall, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.