What to Do About High Cholesterol 

Cholesterol has been vilified to no end, but what exactly is it? Cholesterol is a sterol found in the fats contained in your blood. Contrary to popular belief, cholesterol is actually needed in your body. It is used in building healthy cells. But trouble begins when you have too much cholesterol as it increases the risk of heart disease. This is because cholesterol causes buildup of fatty deposits in the blood vessels. This blocks the flow of oxygen rich blood into the heart thus increasing the chances of getting a heart attack. Too much cholesterol can also block blood flow to the brain which can lead to a stroke. High cholesterol is so bad to us, so what to do about high cholesterol.

What to Do About High Cholesterol

If you have high cholesterol levels in your body, you can use some home remedies to resolve the problem. Here are some of them:

1. Set a Goal

Realizing that you need to cut down on your cholesterol levels is a good start. However, you also need to figure out exactly how much cholesterol you need to lose, which is affected by cases of heart disease in your family, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and the like.

If you’re a high risk candidate, your goal should be lower than 70 LDL. If your risk is moderate, then your target should be around 130 LDL. If your risk is low, 160 is LDL reasonable.

2. Maintain Proper Weight

Being overweight contributes a great deal to high cholesterol levels. Even losing about 5% to 10% of your body weight helps a lot. You should monitor your eating habits and exercise more to maintain proper weight.

3. Exercise Regularly

What to do about high cholesterol? Just get moving. Exercising can greatly reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and boost good cholesterol (HDL). You should make a habit of working out for at least 30 minutes every day. To make it easier, you can spread out your exercise with 10 minute intervals. Any physical activity is good for you, be it walking, cycling, swimming or playing a sport. Pick what works best for you and stay motivated.

4. Stop Smoking

Smoking is one of the most dangerous habits you can acquire. It contributes a lot to the accumulation of bad cholesterol in the body. Quitting the habit lowers your chances of getting high blood pressure and heart-related diseases.

5. Cut Down on Alcohol

While drinking alcohol moderately does help boost good cholesterol, the downsides of drinking outweigh any benefits. If you cannot do without alcohol, it is best to drink in moderation. It is recommended that women and older men should take only one drink a day while men under the age of 65 should take two. Too much alcohol causes damage in your body and increases the chances of high blood pressure, stroke and heart failure.

6. Get a Balanced Diet

If you still need more tips on what to do about high cholesterol, look into your daily diet. A healthy diet is the most effective way to deal with cholesterol. Making the right changes to your diet will also improve your general health.

  • Choose right fat

You should make a conscious effort to eliminate trans-fats and saturated fats from your diet. As a rule of thumb, only about 7% of your calorie intake should come from saturated fats. This means that you should go for lean meat, monounsaturated fats and low-fat dairy. Fried foods, food containing hydrogenated oil and most baked products contain trans-fats.

  • Avoid food rich in cholesterol

You should only consume about 300mg of cholesterol in a day. If you have diabetes or heart disease, you should only take 200mg. Some of the foods that are cholesterol rich include egg yolk, organ and red meats and any products of whole milk.

  • Select food rich in fiber

Whole grain and fruits are some of the foods that are rich in fiber. Whole grain in particular promotes heart health. You should include whole wheat flour, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta in your diet. Fruits help lower cholesterol so make sure to eat some fruit every day. Note that dried foods have more calories than their fresh counterparts. You should, therefore, eat dried fruits in moderation.

  • Eat food rich in omega-3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids are a great addition to your diet as they help lower the levels of bad cholesterol in your body. Some types of fish are particularly rich in omega-3. These include mackerel, salmon and herring. Other sources include walnuts, ground flaxseeds and almonds.

Watch a video to know more home remedies for high cholesterol:

Medications for High Cholesterol

While home remedies are known to work, there are times when they might not adequately address the problem. If you do not see any improvement after using home remedies, then it is time to pay your doctor a visit.




Statins block a substance that your liver needs to produce cholesterol. Consequently, the liver removes cholesterol from the body. They also enable your body to reabsorb any cholesterol build up in your arteries. They include fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Altoprev, Mevacor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), simvastatin (Zocor), pravastatin (Pravachol) and atorvastatin (Lipitor).

Bile-acid-binding resins

Cholesterol is used in the body to make bile acids. This medication binds to existing bile acid prompting the body to make more, hence using up more cholesterol. They include cholestyramine (Prevalite), colestipol (Colestid) and colesevelam (Welchol).

Cholesterol absorption inhibitors

As the name suggests, they limit the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream by the small intestine. The drug is called Zetia (ezetimibe).


This is a combination of an absorption inhibitor and statin. It helps limit the production of cholesterol in the liver and also reduce absorption in the small intestine.


Fibrates work by limiting the production of bad cholesterol and speeding up the removal of triglycerides from the blood. Very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) is largely made up of triglycerides. Fibrates include gemfibrozil (Lopid) and fenofibrate (TriCor).


Niacin limits the production of LDL and VLDL in the liver. You can opt for prescription or over the counter Niacin. Prescription niacin is preferred as it has fewer side effects. Taking Niacin dietary supplements is not recommended as they may damage your liver.

Note: Side effects of taking these medications may vary from person to person. However, the following are common: nausea, stomach pain, muscle pain, constipation, and diarrhea. You might also want to have a doctor monitor the medications' impact on your liver when taking the medication.