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Five Easy Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol

Updated on April 23, 2007

Are you swimming in cholesterol?

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Resources for Lowering Cholesterol

Five Easy Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol: My Story

Being only 28 years old, it never crossed my mind that I would be at risk for heart disease. A week after a routine physical, I was startled by a message from my doctor's office.

"Donna, it's so-and-so from the doctor's office. Please give us a call back. It's about your cholesterol level."

When I called back, I had discovered that my HDL cholesterol-the bad cholesterol was double what it should be. They wanted to put me on Lipitor right away. She explained that this cholesterol was more based on my family history than diet and exercise, which would explain the need to go on medication. Although I was a little scared I was a bit relieved that it wasn't my fault. At any rate, she also informed me that eliminating certain foods would also help.

I did an American Heart Walk several years ago and along the walking path the organization had posted signs with startling facts about heart disease. Years later, I still remember the sign that said "Heart disease is the #1 killer of women..." I decided to take this phone call from my doctor as a serious warning and change some things in my life, and also be thankful that I go this warning so young. I still have time to change things!

Here are five things that I changed aside from taking the Lipitor:

1. Oatmeal Everyday- I cannot help but be tempted by the Quaker Oats commercials and their claim that eating a bowl of oatmeal every day can lower cholesterol. I never was a big breakfast person to begin with, so aside from this helping my health, I feel much better going into work each day. My old favorite was Maple Brown Sugar so I've been eating that. However, I recently bought a box of Quaker's Nutrition for Women line in Vanilla Cinnamon and let me tell you... it is fantastic! I love it. I can't believe that eating something so tasty will also help me out.

2. Buttery Spread, Not Butter- One thing I cannot cook without is butter. I love butter. Perhaps this is part of my problem! I'll throw a whole stick in a pot of veggies or mashed potatoes. I love grilled cheese. And our big weekend brunches I like to cook-I don't even want to go there. But I will-butter to cook the eggs, butter to cook the hash browns and butter on our toast. I am a big Land-O-Lakes fan. So, on a whim, I bought a tub of their buttery spread. And you know what? It really does taste the same. I can't really tell the difference. I think for baking or my mashed potatoes I will stick to butter, but for every day use I will use the margarine.

3. Black Coffee- This has been the absolute hardest thing for me to do. And, I am still working on weaning off the half and half. However, it dawned on me that cream has 10mg of cholesterol. And, I drink it all day and night. I thought that be trying my coffee black it would reduce my intake of cholesterol significantly. Drinking a better brew or a flavored coffee seems to help it go down better. But, my two bosses take it black and so does my grandmother. If they can handle it, so can I.

4. Whole Wheat and other grainy breads- I take sandwiches to work or make toast in the morning. I figured that the oatmeal does such a fine job, that whole grains must too. I do like the taste of wheat bread better, but I admit that I am a bargain shopper and white bread is always on sale. So, I have been spending a little more on my bread to reap the benefits of what they offer. Most brands have the "heart healthy" stamp right on them!

5. No fast food or fried bar munchies- in our fast-paced society, this is a hard one to do. But I know that a lot of my cholesterol comes from eating deep fried foods. I find it hard to deny myself these foods. I mean, the bar across the street from our home has a Friday fish fry. Totally greasy. I've not been getting that lately. If I do fast food, I skip the fries and try to get the grilled sandwiches or a salad. If I do Wendy's, I will just get the chili, which I know has cholesterol in the mean, but there is no value meal for it, so it's easy to not get the fries and then still feel full.

My doctor wants me to go for a six-month check up. But, I had to see him for an unrelated matter three weeks after the cholesterol phone call. If course they weighed me, and I lost six pounds. I will be honest. I haven't exercised. So, this strictly comes from the small changes to my diet. I wasn't trying to lose weight. I could lose some weight, but I am not obese or considered overweight I suppose-but this wasa great feeling.

If I keep up with these changes, do some more research about other things (these I thought of on my own) to help lower it, keep up with the medication and also exercise I think I can really erase my risk of heart disease and get my cholesterol where it should be!

Do you have any ideas or comments? Fire away!

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    • profile image

      nuppu 4 years ago

      To avoid all kind of these diseases one must purify his heart and spirits.

      All medicines will not work if you are cheating others.May god punish everyone for their sins and bless for good work.


    • profile image

      s k 5 years ago

      It will increase your Blood Pressure .

      s k

    • profile image

      Pop tart 5 years ago

      Thanks does soda higher cholestraw????????

    • profile image

      5 years ago

      good for u

    • profile image

      Sunny Bharel 6 years ago

      Thanks guys...The tips were wonderful and they worked wonders for me.

      Sunny Bharel


    • profile image

      simran 6 years ago

      Lemon plays very important role in cutting body fact . Citric acid in lemon removes the fat in body.Try to have mild lemon water after dinner and watch the difference .

      Try it.


    • profile image

      pradeep kumar 6 years ago


      is there any roll in a lemon to maintain body decease??

    • profile image

      s.k.bharel 6 years ago

      you are so careful about your health.i am happy to read

      and know

    • profile image

      laura diaz 7 years ago

      Thanks for the tips on cholesterol donna i didnt know that oatmeal helped your cholesterol im not a big fan but i like it im going to try that cause my doctor just told me i have high cholesterol and its pretty high so i have to watch myself thanks for the tips hope for the best for you

    • profile image

      8 years ago

      Just a correction HDL stands for High Density Lipids which is the good cholesterol not the bad one. You want to raise your HDL level to above 40. You can do this by consuming good fats such as adding olive oil and almonds to your diet.

    • profile image

      Josh Hassa 9 years ago

      i work at mcdonald and even if you think that getting the grilled chicken is better for you than the crispy chicken its not...... i know it sounds crazy but its true the stuff that goes on the chicken isnt good for you at all. you may not believe me but its true.

    • profile image

      Sunny Bharel 9 years ago

      High cholesterol runs in my family as well. From my grandfather to mom and now me.

      I'm 28 and a routine test brought out alarming levels of cholesterol (465) in me, as well as high triglycerides and really low levels of good cholesterol.

      The doc was astonished and said these had to be the highest numbers he'd seen in his career.

      I consulted head-of-departments from the cream of heart institutes and conclusions were varied. Almost all of them wanted me to go on the medication however, admitted that once on medication it would stay on for life.

      Some of them wanted further tests done which appeared plain stupid. One of them even performed an ECG However that was normal. And yet another said I should try controlling my cholesterol with diet alone for 6 months and come back for another test. If levels are still high, i'd be given medication.

      I gave up butter, margarine, fried stuff, non-veg, eggs, chips, chocolates, coke, fast food, any kind of food other than home cooked...and in a month and a half, my cholesterol was down by 115 points!

      However, this was a reduction of 24% over my original levels and some websites report that food only contributes towards 20% of our cholesterol in the body. The rest of the 80% is manufactured by the liver. So it could very well mean that for people with familial cholesterolemia, the diet control would seldom help unless they take medication as well.

      I'm now waiting another 2 months to see if my cholesterol levels dip any further. If they dont, the 20% 80% theory is correct and I should probably go on a statin. If I do manage to further lower my cholesterol, I guess I do not need the drugs.

      But I must say, most people get high cholesterol due to weight problems or just being obese or perhaps drinking and smoking too much. Me...i just got it in my genes, life is kinda unfair. Think about all the nice tasting stuff that I'd never have again in my life...including ice creams.

      As per me, this is definitely NOT a cure. It's a curbing measure towards preventing cholesterol. A real cure would be something like a pill or an injection that once administered, would lower your cholesterol to normal forever like most people's and you can have any food item that the rest of the people around you do.

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 10 years ago from Oakland, CA

      Good info! High cholesterol runs in my family, though we're not overweight. I've got a bunch of fat-free, low-fat, and high-fiber recipes that work wonders for cholesterol. Check them out.