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Avoid High Cholesterol

More than 100 million Americans suffer from high cholesterol. Here's how you can avoid becoming one of them.

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You finally give in to your girlfriend's nagging—or your mother's—and get the physical you've been putting off for years. You pull on the gown, let the doc smack your knee with the hammer, take a few tests, and that's it. You're fine, nothing to worry about. A week later, Doc calls. "High cholesterol," he says. Don't fret. Keep your cholesterol under control now, through the natural methods that follow, and you may never have to deal with the condition or the problems it causes —things like heart disease, stroke, even some forms of erectile dysfunction.

EAT MORE UNSATURATED FATS:
Replace the calories you're getting from highly refined carbs with unsaturated fats. That lowers bad LDL cholesterols and boosts the good HDLs. Swapping snack chips for a couple of ounces of almonds every day will do the trick.

LOAD UP ON WHOLE GRAINS (AT LEAST 3 SERVINGS A DAY):
Whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta, and rice all decrease LDLs. And the antioxidants in whole grains protect against the damage those remaining bits of LDL might inflict. For the best possible results, make oatmeal or Cheerios a staple of your morning routine.

ORDER SEAFOOD:
The fruit of the sea harbors nearly zero saturated fat, the primary culprit responsible for elevated blood- cholesterol levels. Eating just six ounces of fattier fish, such as salmon, sardines, and canned light tuna, each week can reduce your risk of dying from heart disease by 36%.

STEER CLEAR OF TRANS FATS:
Avoiding commercially prepared french fries, onion rings, doughnuts, cookies, biscuits, and other baked goods is the best way to start.

GORGE ON PRODUCE:
Fruits, vegetables, and legumes such as lentils and chickpeas are naturally high in cholesterol-lowering fiber and disease-fighting antioxidants. Include at least six servings a day, combined, of fruit (1 cup cubed or 1 medium piece per serving) and vegetables (1 cup cooked or 2 cups raw leafy greens per serving) for max protection.

KEEP WORKING OUT:
Getting at least 30 minutes of strenuous aerobic activity on most days has been shown to significantly lower total cholesterol and elevate HDLs.

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