Reducing Your Risk
There are several lifestyle modifications that can lower your risk of developing a lipid disorder. They are:
- Eat a diet low in saturated and transfat and cholesterol.
- Exercise regularly.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Drink alcohol only in moderation.
- Stop Smoking.
Eat a Diet Low in Saturated and TransFat and Cholesterol
A diet low in saturated and transfat and cholesterol and rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables will help lower cholesterol levels. Follow the meal plan recommended by your doctor, or ask for a referral to a registered dietitian who can design an eating plan for you.
General guidelines include:
- Limit calories from saturated fat to fewer than 7% of your total calorie intake and cholesterol to less than 200 mg per day.
- Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and six or more servings of whole grains.
- To decrease triglyceride levels, eat cold-water fish (or fish oil supplements) that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, and limit excess carbohydrates.
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; people with hyperlipidemia may already have hardening of the arteries or heart disease, which increase the risk of a heart attack or death while exercising.
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.
Smoking lowers HDL (good cholesterol) levels. If you are a smoking, participating in a smoking cessation program or using other aids to stop smoking can improve your overall cholesterol picture.
American Heart Association website. Available at:
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at:
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