High Blood Cholesterol

Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes

There are two main ways to lower your cholesterol -- through Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) and with medicines. This section discusses TLC.

Lifestyle Changes to Lower LDL

Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, or TLC, is a set of lifestyle changes that can help you lower your LDL cholesterol. TLC is the foundation of LDL-lowering treatment for everyone whose LDL is higher than their goal LDL. TLC includes

  • a cholesterol-lowering diet (the TLC diet)
  • weight management
  • physical activity

The TLC Diet

The TLC diet recommends

  • limiting the amount of saturated fat, trans-fat, and cholesterol you eat
  • eating only enough calories to achieve or maintain a healthy weight
  • increasing the soluble fiber in your diet by eating foods such as oatmeal, kidney beans, and apples
  • adding cholesterol-lowering foods, such as juices or margarines that contain plant sterols or stanols.

Weight Management

Weight management is an important part of TLC. If you are overweight, losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol. Weight management is especially important for people who have a group of risk factors that include high triglyceride and/or low HDL levels and being overweight with a large waist measurement. Too large a waist is defined as a waist measurement of 40 or more inches for men and 35 or more inches for women.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is another important part of TLC. Regular physical activity is recommended for everyone. It can help raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels, and it can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

Physical activity is especially important for people who have high triglyceride and/or low HDL levels, and people who are overweight with a large waist measurement.