Thumbnail image of: Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Content of Selected Foods: Illustration

Taking Care of Your Cholesterol: Brief Version

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat. It has both good and bad effects on the body. On the good side, it helps build the hormones and cells your body needs. But when you have too much cholesterol, it sticks to the inside of the blood vessel walls. This can cause heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

What should I do if my cholesterol is too high?

Here are some things you can do to lower your cholesterol:

  • Eat healthy.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Exercise.
  • Don’t smoke.

It’s important to eat healthy foods.

  • Use healthy oils like olive oil and canola oil. Stay away from unhealthy oils like palm kernel oil and coconut oil and solid shortening.
  • Eat less saturated fat, like the fat in butter and red meat. Eat fish and chicken and turkey without the skin instead of a lot of red or processed meat.
  • Drink nonfat or 1% milk instead of whole milk. And eat yogurt, cottage cheese, or sour cream that is low-fat or nonfat instead of regular sour cream.
  • Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, beans, and oats and other whole grains.
  • Eat 4 to 5 small servings of nuts a week (almonds, walnuts, low-salt peanuts).
  • Eat less fried food and junk food, like French fries, chips, cookies, crackers, and doughnuts.
  • Eat less sugar and sugary drinks, like soda.

If you are overweight, you can lose weight by eating fewer calories and getting more exercise. Follow your healthcare provider’s advice about exercise.

  • You may want to swim, jog, walk, or bicycle.
  • You should exercise at least 30 minutes most days of the week.

Sometimes your healthcare provider may prescribe medicine as well as changes in what you eat and do to help you lower your cholesterol.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-09-04
Last reviewed: 2014-09-04
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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