Maintaining a healthy cholesterol level is an important part of good health. While many Americans try to keep their cholesterol in check, some take medication to improve it. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly one in four American adults currently take statin medications to help reduce their cholesterol levels.
David Grotto, registered dietitian and best-selling author of “The Best Things You Can Eat,” has shared a few tips for those who need advice on how to support their overall health, including ways to help lower cholesterol naturally.
Eat a healthy diet
Many people may believe that once they are taking a statin medication, they can resume their regular eating habits. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. To achieve healthy cholesterol levels, it’s important to eat wholesome foods rich in essential nutrients that will help nourish your body, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
“Eliminate butter, trans fat and saturated fats from your kitchen,” said Grotto. “When cooking, opt for canola and olive oil instead. In general, add foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids to your diet, as this ‘good’ fat can help lower your ‘bad,’ or LDL cholesterol levels.”
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) also recommends 2,000 milligrams of plant sterols and stanols as part of a therapeutic diet to help lower cholesterol. Plant sterols and stanols are naturally present in small quantities of vegetable oils, nuts, legumes and whole grains; however, most people only consume about 200 milligrams through their regular diet.
Take quality supplements
There are dietary supplements that may help lower your cholesterol. Grotto recommends looking for quality supplements from trusted brands verified by a credible third-party organization, such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). He has partnered with Nature Made(r), the first national vitamin brand in the U.S. to earn United States Pharmacopeia (USP) verification on many of its products. “I always recommend Nature Made CholestOff(r) Plus* to my patients because CholestOff Plus is clinically proven to lower cholesterol in just six weeks and provides an additional 1,800 milligrams of plant sterols and stanols to help meet the NCEP recommendation for cholesterol reduction. Nature Made is also the number one recommended brand among pharmacists in eight key product categories including Cholesterol Management- Natural, said Grotto.
Stick to your prescription regimen and talk to your doctor
Statin medications work on an ongoing basis, so make sure you stick to the prescribed dosage. Speak with your health care provider or pharmacist to ensure your medications and supplements can be taken together. In addition, make sure to check in with your doctor as dosage adjustments may be required over time.