Healthy Eating
Preventive Care

Reducing Cholesterol for A Healthier Life

We’ve been hearing about cholesterol for years. It’s important for our health, sure, but what exactly is it? And why do our levels matter so much?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in blood. Our bodies need SOME cholesterol to function properly. However, elevated levels can lead to plaque buildup in our arteries and increase the risk of heart problems. Thankfully, staying safe is easy, so long as we know what to do. Let’s learn the right steps for keeping our levels low and our hearts healthy.

Watch It Closely

High cholesterol levels, especially low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, can lead to a buildup of fatty deposits in our arteries – a condition called atherosclerosis. Over time, these deposits can narrow the arteries, restricting blood flow and potentially leading to heart attacks, strokes, or other cardiovascular problems. By reducing cholesterol levels, we can significantly reduce these risks.

Tips for Reducing LDL


  • Start by adopting a heart-healthy diet.
    • Increase fiber intake Consume foods rich in soluble fiber, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and oats.
    • Choose healthy fats — Replace saturated and trans fats with healthier fats like those in olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Limit intake of high-fat dairy products and fatty meats.
    • Pick lean proteins Select lean sources of protein like skinless poultry, fish, legumes, and tofu, while limiting red meat consumption.
    • Include omega-3 fatty acids — Incorporate fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, or sardines into your diet. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower cholesterol levels.
  • Engage in regular physical activity.
    • Move — Try for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week. That’s 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Engage in activities like brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or dancing.
    • Lift — Include strength training exercises to build muscle and support overall cardiovascular health. You don’t need weights. You can do resistance exercises like pushups, pullups, or sit-ups.
    • Consult — Talk to a health care professional before starting any exercise program, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Doing all the above will help you get to a healthy body weight, and then maintain it. You can achieve better cholesterol levels and better heart health.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. Drink only in moderation. Just one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking damages blood vessels, lowers high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and raises LDL cholesterol. Seek professional help to quit smoking and promote heart health.

Know Your Numbers

We encourage you to work with your doctor to get your cholesterol level down. Join the AltaMed Dietician Consultations program to receive a tailored nutrition plan that will help you feel good and grow healthy. Call (323) 558-7606 to enroll.

Get started with AltaMed

See how AltaMed Health Services can help your family grow healthy.

Learn More

Reducing Cholesterol for A Healthier Life