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Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol

We always hear about high cholesterol, but how do we know what to do about it? When do we even know we need to do something about it, and why should we want lower cholesterol in the first place?

High cholesterol puts you at higher risk for strokes and heart attacks, because cholesterol can build up in the arteries and clog them. If your cholesterol is above 240, it's considered high enough to be a risk. Anything below 200 is probably fairly safe. You should also be aware that high-lipid cholesterol is actually good for you, because it helps to remove low-lipid cholesterols (which are mostly fatty and increase your risk of heart disease significantly) out of your system.

That said, there are four big things that help to lower cholesterol. You can choose to work on any or all of these things, but if you are at risk, don't get overwhelmed and do nothing. It's a process, but it's one that will be helpful.

1. Exercise Exercise is important because it helps the body to produce good cholesterol and get rid of bad cholesterol. Healthy diet alone lowers your cholesterol, but limiting fats significantly will also lower the good cholesterol in your body. By lowering your fat intake and exercising, you can remain at an optimal level of cholesterol for both kinds.

2. Diet To keep your cholesterol low, you should limit your fat intake so that it isn't more than 25-35% of your total diet. That may sound like a lot, but the other caveat is that it should mostly be good fats — mono- and polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. These are the kinds of fats found in vegetables and fish rather than the fats found in eggs, meats and dairy. By limiting your intake of fats in general and focusing on good fats rather than saturated and trans fats, you can lower your cholesterol significantly.

3.Weight Loss Being overweight tends to give you a higher level of bad cholesterol, so losing weight will help you to lower your high cholesterol (especially if you lose the weight by exercising and eating healthy foods).

4.Medications Though cholesterol-lowering medications aren't necessary for everyone, for people who are unable to lower their cholesterol through healthy living, they can be a big help. It should not be used as a substitute for healthy living, however, and it may not be as effective if you aren't also limiting your intake of unsaturated fats and exercising.

Keeping your cholesterol low decreases your risk for stroke and heart disease, and keeping it low will help you to create healthy habits that will improve your quality of life. Perhaps we should all pretend we have high cholesterol even when we don't so that we'll eat and exercise ourselves to a healthy lifestyle.

Megan is the Web editor for Overstock Drugstore, an online pharmacy that offers great deals and great service on health and beauty products you use every day, including the Accu-Chek cholesterol monitor. Overstock Drugstore believes in offering the best products and the best service, including a help line that goes to a person every time. To learn more, visit http://www.overstockdrugstore.com.

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