Organic Breakfast Quinoa With NutsYou should have blood tests done on a regular basis to keep a watch on your cholesterol readings. You especially want to know what your LDL cholesterol is, since it’s considered the bad cholesterol – the one that can gang up on your heart and lead you to have a heart attack.

But you don’t automatically have to reach for a pill to get your levels down to an optimal reading. Your doctor should always suggest both diet and exercise as the first line of defense in fighting back against numbers that are too high. The first step to follow is always to change your diet.

You might be surprised at some of the foods you need to add to your diet that can naturally help bring your cholesterol under control. Eating nuts (especially almonds or peanuts) can lower your cholesterol. But be careful that you don’t overdo it. Consuming too many nuts will pack on the pounds and end up being counter productive. You can put nuts in yogurts, salads, cold pasta dishes and more to get these cholesterol fighting foods into your food plan.

You can lower LDL cholesterol naturally by adding foods rich in sterols and stanols to your diet. These are contained in foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts and certain types of cereal.

The next time you go grocery shopping, check the labels to see if the food says that it lowers cholesterol. If it does, then it probably contains sterols and/or stanols. This additive is a natural part of some plants that’s removed by food companies and then put in foods sold to consumers.

Just like a sponge drinks in water or other liquid, these plant ingredients stop cholesterol from being taken into the bloodstream. Depending on how much of it you eat, you can get your cholesterol numbers to drop by ten percent or greater.

Not only do you want to add more of certain foods to your diet, you want to limit or avoid some foods altogether if you’ve been told you’re at risk. Foods that are high in saturated fats are needed to help keep a good HDL level, but too much foods rich in this type of fat raises your LDL.

Red meat is high in saturated fat – and even lean cuts still contain a lot of saturated fats. You’ll want to make sure that you eat a diet rich in soluble fiber. If you find it difficult to get enough fiber in your diet, consider getting a natural supplement from the health food store.

Maintaining a healthy diet and getting regular exercise serves a two fold purpose. It lowers your LDL cholesterol while raising your HDL cholesterol. But there are other things you can do that will naturally lower your level of bad cholesterol.

If you’re a smoker, you may want to think of giving it up because it can interfere with your body’s ability to lower LDL levels. You want to maintain a healthy blood pressure reading, and if you carry a lot of weight around the midsection, become aggressive about trimming it down because fat around the midsection is linked to higher levels of cholesterol as well as heart attacks.