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6 Cholesterol-Lowering Tricks Proven to Work

Cardiologist explains how to reduce high cholesterol. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

It's known as a 'silent killer,' because there's often no signs, but high cholesterol doesn't have to go undetected. A  simple blood test known as the lipid panel can be life-saving because it will indicate what your levels are and if they're too high, you can work on lowering your cholesterol immediately, rather than not knowing and risk serious health issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Nearly 94 million U.S. adults age 20 or older have total cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL. Twenty-eight million adults in the United States have total cholesterol levels higher than 240 mg/dL." If left untreated, "high cholesterol significantly increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease such as heart attack, coronary artery disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease," Eric Stahl, MD Non-Invasive Cardiologist at Staten Island University Hospital tells us. He adds, "Elevated cholesterol leads to atherosclerosis, which is the process by which plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. As atherosclerotic plaque builds, arteries become hard and narrow, preventing blood from being delivered to where it needs to go." While high cholesterol can be a worrisome diagnosis, there are many ways to help get your health back on track. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Get More Physical Activity

woman jogging on bridge

Dr. Stahl says, "Exercising is a good way to raise HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol). At least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise is recommended to reduce cholesterol."


Quit Smoking

stop smoking

Dr. Stahl explains, "Smoking increases your LDL and decreases your HDL. In addition to increasing cholesterol, smoking causes atherosclerosis through a number of different mechanisms. Quitting smoking is the most impactful intervention for reducing cardiovascular risk." 


Moderate Alcohol Consumption

refuse alcohol

"Too much or excessive alcohol consumption can increase triglycerides and cholesterol," Dr. Stahl states. "For healthy adults, it is recommended to limit it to one drink per day."


Losing Weight

weight loss

Dr. Stahl says, "Obesity increases your LDL, increases your triglycerides, and decreases your HDL. Even modest weight loss (5-10 pounds) has been shown to reduce cholesterol." 


Eating a Heart-Healthy Diet

eat fiber foods

Dr. Stahl reminds us, "Making dietary changes is an important aspect of reducing cholesterol. Limit your intake of saturated fats, particularly red meats, fried foods, and dairy products, while increasing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts. The Mediterranean diet is a good model to follow." 



Young Hispanic woman choosing between antibiotics or alternative medicine.

"If the above changes are insufficient, medications such as statins are very effective in reducing cholesterol, as well as your risk of heart attack, coronary artery disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease," Dr. Stahl shares. 

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather