High cholesterol is associated with elevated risk of cardiovascular diseases. The higher your cholesterol is, the more likely you might suffer from chest pain, heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problems in the future. There are some ways to help lower your cholesterol level without worrying about the side effects of medications.
Lose weight. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight will significantly reduce your cholesterol level. Studies have shown thatn losing 7 to 10 percent of excess weight can result in a 15 to 30 percent reduction of your total cholesterol. Weight reduction in overweight and obese populations also lowers the risks of cancer and diabetes.
Follow a low-fat diet. Ideally, your total fat intake should not exceed one-third of your diet. Ideally, the fat from your diet should only come from vegetables or fish. Avoid foods that contain a lot of saturated fats (meat, dairy or egg) or trans fats (potato chips). Eat a lot of vegetables and fruits. Vegetables and fruits contain a lot of fiber. Studies show that a daily diet containing 15 g of soluble fiber or more can bring down the level of LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by 10 percent.
Exercise regularly. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends moderate physical activity for 30 minutes every day, 5 days a week. You can either walk, run, bike or swim. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce a person's cholesterol level by 6 to 8 percent in 4 months.
Take multivitamins to supplement your diet. Regular consumption of multivitamins has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Set realistic goals by knowing your cholesterol levels. Ideally, your total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL, with LDL less than 130 mg/dL and HDL higher than 40 mg/dL. You are at high risk for cardiovascular diseases if your total cholesterol is higher than 240 mg/dL, LDL higher than 160 mg/dL and HDL below 40 mg/dL.
Consult with your doctor about medications if your cholesterol level is still high. Many medications have been shown to reduce both cholesterol level and risks of cardiovascular diseases.