September 6, 2016

National Cholesterol Education Month

Summer is winding down and students are on their way back to school. What a perfect time to reevaluate our health and start educating ourselves about cholesterol. More than 102 million American Adults (20 years or older) have total cholesterol levels at or above 200 mg/dL, which is above healthy levels. More than 35 million of these people have levels of 240 mg/dL or higher, which puts them at high risk for heart disease. Too much cholesterol in our blood can lead to serious conditions including heart disease and stroke. Why? Cholesterol blocks the flow of blood to our heart. We encourage everyone to make an effort to protect your arteries and heart this month and every month.

Step one: To prevent/detect high cholesterol, one must be screened. Ask your doctor to do a blood test to find out your cholesterol levels.  Ideally, aim for total cholesterol less than 200mg/dl.

Step two: Next, educate yourself! There are two different kinds of cholesterol. Good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL).  To decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke, we want to decrease the bad cholesterol in our diet. Good cholesterol, helps protect against heart disease and we want this number to be higher than 40 mg/dl, but ideally above 60 mg/dl.

Prevent High Cholesterol with These Lifestyle Changes

  • Decrease saturated fats in your diet {butter, whole milk, red meat, solid fats}
  • Choose healthy fats {fish, nuts, olive oil}
  • Get some fiber {fruits, vegetables, beans & whole grains}
  • Exercise {aim to exercise for 30 minutes five times a week}
  • Reduce sodium intake {aim for less than 2300 mg sodium a day}
  • Avoid smoking
  • Get screened annually {aim to have your total cholesterol less the 200 mg/dl}
  • Eat whole, unprocessed foods whenever available



Easy & tasty swaps to help lower cholesterol

Low fat plain or Greek yogurt for sour cream

Avocados to replace mayo on sandwiches

Hummus instead of cheese/milk based dips

Lean ground turkey instead of ground beef

Herbs and spices instead of table salt

Olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice instead of store bought salad dressing

Plain (unsalted, unbuttered) popcorn vs potato chips


Interested in some great recipes that are low in cholesterol? Check them out here!




Blog by MANNA’s Nutrition Department and Julie Lichtman