Five tips to lower cholesterol

An estimated 102 million Americans have cholesterol levels that are considered borderline high-risk. This staggering fact makes lowering cholesterol one of the most imperative things to do to promote overall heart health. Unfortunately, too few people understand the essential steps in reaching this goal. Metamucil and Dr. Michael Roizen, Chairman of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic and host of the upcoming PBS series, "Younger You," have joined to present the "Five Things Every American Needs to Do to Lower Their Cholesterol" to encourage Americans to lead a proactive lifestyle with small modifications and dietary changes.

"I often see that people are not 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," said 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."

Five Things Every American Needs to Do to Lower Their Cholesterol:
•Take Psyllium

The first, and 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. Most Americans only get 10 to 15 grams of fiber per day through their normal diet, versus the recommended 20 to 35 grams. This is why I recommend my patients supplement low fat, low cholesterol diets with 7 grams of soluble fiber from psyllium daily, as in Metamucil.

•Wear a Pedometer and Increase Daily Activity
You'd be amazed to see how many extra steps you can take in one day -- grab a pedometer and watch the numbers roll as you make simple changes for your health and take the stairs, walk to work, or stroll around the neighborhood to increase your physical activity for better heart health. Tracking your progress throughout the day can be great inspiration to keep going, and walking is a simple and easy type of exercise to help lower cholesterol!

•Get an Exercise Buddy
A healthy lifestyle requires motivation, encouragement and a friend to lean on. Grab an exercise buddy and support each other in the challenge to lower your cholesterol. Take long walks together and encourage each other to try new types of physical activity to get the heart pumping and to keep cholesterol levels down! Enjoy each other's company and laugh - reduced levels of stress will help your heart too!

•Beware of Hidden Fats and Sugars
Be an informed eater; get to know your ingredients and read the nutrition labels thoroughly. Hidden sugars and unhealthy ingredients can increase your weight, which can lead to high cholesterol. Stay away from foods that contain high levels of saturated fat, cholesterol and hidden sources of sugar such as high fructose corn syrup, some dextrins, or evaporated cane juice.

•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, tuna - but if you aren't a seafood fan, try fish oil supplements, or if you don't like fishy taste, get them from vegetarian supplements made from algal DHA.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in many parts of the body. Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), or the "bad" cholesterol, builds up in the arteries and results in heart disease. High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), or the "good" cholesterol, protects against heart attack by carrying cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver where it's passed from the body. Healthy levels of cholesterol can be maintained with simple steps and lifestyle modifications.

Heart-to-Heart with Dr. Oz Courtesy of Metamucil
On February 7, 2011, The Dr. Oz Show revealed the Five Things Every American Needs to Do to Lower Their Cholesterol and announced an opportunity for a consumer to win a Heart-to-Heart with Dr. Oz courtesy of Metamucil, which will be an intimate lunch in New York City with Dr. Oz. In addition, the winner will receive a 3 day/2 night trip for two to New York City, including roundtrip airfare, hotel, airport transfers, meals, daily spending money and two tickets to The Dr. Oz Show.

SOURCE Metamucil

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