Neal Shanblatt, MD

Cholesterol Treatment Plan

Dr. Shanblatt
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Improve your heart health with diet and exercise

High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease.  However, cholesterol levels are only part of the "heart risk" picture.   Therefore, the best way to address high cholesterol is to focus on a heart healthy lifestyle.  The traditional advice to eat a low-fat diet or to avoid eggs and dairy is too simplistic.   Eggs and dairy foods (at least in moderation) do not seem to raise the risk of heart disease, and while some fats are bad for the heart (like trans fat and saturated fat), other types of fats are good for the heart (like olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados). 

There are many things you can do to lower your heart risk.  

Exercise regularly: start slowly, but the goal is at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week, of moderate intensity exercise.  A combination of aerobic and strength training is best.  Schedule your exercise like you would schedule a meeting or appointment, so you can stay consistent. 

Maintain a healthy body weight.   You can do this with proper eating and regular exercise.

Quit smoking.

Improve your diet:  Here are some specific suggestions that improve health and lower your heart risk:

Eat more of these foods:


High fiber foods like whole grains, beans, barley, oatmeal; apples; psyllium husk


Nuts, seeds

use olive oil or canola oil for cooking

Eat less of these foods:


Refined carbohydrates (white bread, rice, pasta potatoes); substitute with whole grains

Red meat and processed meats

Fried foods, "fast foods", processed foods (usually high in sugar and unhealthy fats)

Baked goods: cookies, cakes, muffins, etc.