2011-02-10 / Features

Five Ways To Lower Cholesterol

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An estimated 102 million Americans have cholesterol levels that are borderline high-risk, according to the American Heart Association. Keeping cholesterol levels balanced is an important step toward better heart health, but it can be hard if you don’t know where to start.

With this in mind, Dr. Michael Roizen, Chairman of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic, has teamed with Metamucil to present “Five Things Every American Needs to Do to Lower Their Cholesterol.”

The key is maintaining a proactive lifestyle with small modifications and dietary changes, like increasing activity and getting the right fiber daily.

“I often see that people aren’t getting enough fiber in their daily diets. Most Americans only get 10 to 15 grams of fiber per day, versus the recommended 20 to 35 grams,” says Dr. Roizen. “That’s why one of my five tips is to supplement your diet with psyllium fiber, which is proven to help lower cholesterol levels.”

Beware of Hidden Fats and Sugars: Get to know ingredients and read nutrition labels. Hidden sugars and unhealthy ingredients can increase your weight, leading to high cholesterol. Avoid foods containing high levels of saturated fat, cholesterol and hidden sources of sugar, such as high fructose corn syrup, some dextrins, or evaporated cane juice.

Wear a Pedometer and Increase Daily Activity: Grab a pedometer and watch the numbers roll as you make simple changes like taking the stairs, walking to work or strolling around the neighborhood. Tracking your progress can be great inspiration to keep going, and walking is an easy exercise for heart health and to help lower cholesterol.

Take Psyllium: One of the simplest tips is to get more fiber in your diet – but not just any kind, because not all fibers work the same way. Viscous soluble fiber like psyllium fiber, the natural dietary fiber found in Metamucil, is proven to help lower total and “lousy” LDL cholesterol because it forms a thick gel that traps and helps remove some cholesterol, bile acids and waste in the gut. However, most Americans don’t get the recommended amount of daily fiber. Roizen advises his patients to supplement low fat, low cholesterol diets with 7 grams of soluble fiber from psyllium daily, by taking a supplement like Metamucil.

Get an Exercise Buddy: Healthy lifestyles require motivation and encouragement. Grab an exercise buddy and support each other to lower cholesterol. Take long walks together and try new activities to get the heart pumping and keep cholesterol levels down!

Add DHA: DHA is short for docosahexaenoic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid. Regular intake of DHA can aid in proper heart function and help lower levels of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), or the “lousy” cholesterol, and raise levels of High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), or the “healthy” cholesterol. Popular sources of DHA are salmon, sardines and tuna. If you don’t like seafood, try fish oil supplements.

In February, The Dr. Oz Show revealed these “Five Things Every American Needs to Do to Lower Their Cholesterol” and announced an opportunity to win an intimate “Heart-to- Heart” lunch with Dr. Oz in New York City. The winner will also receive a trip for two to New York City, including airfare, hotel, meals, daily spending money and two tickets to The Dr. Oz Show.

To learn more about how to lower your cholesterol and to enter to win a Heart-to-Heart with Dr. Oz, visit www.WinAHeartTo- Heart.com. The deadline for entry is March 21, 2011.

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