How to Lower Your Genetically High Cholesterol – Step 4

In honor of Cholesterol Awareness Month, I am updating our popular cholesterol-lowering series from a few years ago.

Following a Mediterranean style diet, increasing plant sterols, increasing Omega-3s and eliminating hydrogenated fats. For me those were the easy steps to reducing my cholesterol level. The hardest part – the dreaded exercise.

It’s not that I am a sloth, but I just don’t like exercise. Sports have never appealed to me, jogging just seems like self-abuse (have you ever seen a jogger who looked like they were enjoying it?), and walking just for the sake of walking seems like such a waste of time. I do love to swim, but I won’t be joining a gym anytime soon and I am not into cold water. So I choose to be “active” instead of exercise. It’s a different mind-set, but one that lets me get moving – which does help decrease LDL levels. So I walk to the store to run errands. Or I park at the end of the parking lot. Being over 50 and a bit more forgetful means that I run up and down stairs a million times a day, because I forget why I went downstairs in the first place! The first signs of spring coax me outside to work in the garden.

The final step in my self-designed plan to lower my cholesterol without statins is to eat less. Although I am not overweight according to charts, BMI, etc., like most people I have added some “softness” over the years. But we are not all alike. My body wants to weigh less. So I try to eat more mindfully and reduce the amount of food I ingest.

I wish I could say that following these steps lowered my cholesterol and now I don’t have to worry, but that isn’t true. Since these posts were originally written four years ago, my cholesterol level has gone up and down. I have tried a variety of new medications, most of which didn’t work. And I do have to re-commit to this plan every now and then. It’s easier to increase plant sterols in the summer when vegetables are growing in the garden. Winter is a tough time because I hate the cold and have a tendency to hibernate. Lowering cholesterol and being heart healthy is a journey, one that won’t end until I do. Those of us with genetically high cholesterol levels need to use all of the tools in the toolbox; weight loss or moderation, exercise or activity, smart eating, and maybe medication.

If you, like me, have a genetically high cholesterol level you may want to follow my plan and see if it works for you. I would never advise anyone to stop taking their medication unless approved by the doctor. But once you follow these steps you and your doctor may find that you need less medication, and that is always good. The steps again are:

  • Eat the Mediterranean Way
  • Increase Plant Sterols
  • Increase Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Eliminate all Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Fats
  • Move Your Body
  • Eat Less

Good luck! Let me know what you think of this plan, and how well it works for you.

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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at and

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