Many factors can contribute to the development of heart disease including high cholesterol, and in the United States, 1 in 6 Americans have cholesterol levels that are borderline high. Though many people use medications to drive down their cholesterol levels, small changes to your diet and lifestyle can naturally lower your cholesterol which in turn will lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.

1. Add exercise to your daily routine. At least 30 minutes per day of any physical activity at moderate intensity has a cholesterol-lowering benefit. Exercising raises good cholesterol (HDL) while naturally decreasing your bad cholesterol (LDL) levels.

2. Choose heart-healthy snacks like dried or fresh fruits and nuts. Eliminate sugary snacks and potato chips from your diet.

3. Cut back saturated fats; those found in meat, full-fat dairy products and some oils, raise your total cholesterol. Trans-fats are also bad for your cholesterol levels, which can be found in margarine, store-bought cookies, crackers and cakes.

4. Eat more fish. Countries with high fish consumption tend to have a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Fish also contains omega-3s, and since our bodies can’t make these, we eat foods to gain the benefits, including lower cholesterol.

5. Only drink alcohol in moderation. Moderate drinking can actually reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease, but heavy drinking can eliminate the benefits. It is recommended that if you already drink, only have one drink a day for women, and two for men.

6. Quit smoking. Although it can be difficult, quitting smoking can increase your good cholesterol (HDL) by up to 10 percent.

Exercise and a better diet can generally reduce bad cholesterol by 20 to 40 percent. Taking steps to live a healthier life can greatly increase your heart health and reduce the risks, like high cholesterol, that may contribute to heart disease. Medicomp specializes in providing customers with arrhythmia monitoring systems that make heart monitoring as accurate as possible. Contact us today at 800-23-HEART to find out more about our arrhythmia monitoring solutions that will help you live a healthier life.