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HEALTH                  FITNESS                BEAUTY
                                                 Lowering your cholesterol

Keeping an eye on your cholesterol level and maintaining it within recommended guidelines is essential if you want to remain healthy. There are a number of ways by which we can reduce cholesterol to avoid illnesses such as heart disease. Here are some ways you can successfully lower your cholesterol level.

Changing your diet and eating your way to a lower cholesterol level is the easiest way, tips for doing this include:

Most important is to cut back on the cholesterol and total fat - especially saturated and trans fats - that you eat. Saturated fats, like those in meat, full-fat dairy products cakes and some oils, raise your total cholesterol. Remove the skin from chicken and eat only lean meat. Only include fat free and low fat dairy products in your diet and cut out foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Include high-fiber, wholegrain foods in your diet, such as oatmeal, oat bran, kidney beans, apples, pears, bananas and barley. Soluble fibre reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad," cholesterol.

Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Eat a handful of unsalted nuts a day.

Foods with added plant sterols.  Margarines and yogurt drinks with added plant sterols can help reduce LDL cholesterol by more than 10 percent.

Olive oil contains a potent mix of antioxidants that can lower your LDL cholesterol.

Include fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet at least twice a week. These include Mackerel, Herring, Sardines, Salmon and Halibut.

Take some exercise - burn off at least as many calories as you eat during the course of a day.

Quit smoking.

Include very little or no salt in your diet.

Only drink alcohol in moderation.

Cholesterol and the Heart