High cholesterol can wreak havoc on a woman’s heart. In fact, it’s a major risk factor for heart disease — the number one killer of women. What else ups women’s risk? Frankly, there are many culprits. Anxiety and depression are two.

But here’s something uplifting: You may be able to attack all these heart risks by focusing on one — your cholesterol levels.

Women perk up more than menPhoto of woman eating fruit
A recent study looked at how lowering cholesterol affected the moods of a group of women and men. For one year, the group ate a low-fat diet — a proven way to cut cholesterol.

Participants who reduced their total and LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol levels also reported feeling less anxious — with women showing the biggest improvement. At the end of the study, those who reduced their cholesterol also said they felt less depressed and hostile.

Researchers aren’t exactly sure why lowering cholesterol improved the participants’ moods. One theory is that people tend to feel better about themselves after they successfully achieve a goal.

Follow this cholesterol-healthy diet
Do you want to try and improve your cholesterol — and your mood — at the same time? Try out the diet tactics used by the participants. They adhered to the following recommendations by the American Heart Association:

  • Total fat intake: 30 percent or less of all calories
  • Saturated fat intake: less than 10 percent of all calories
  • Polyunsaturated fat intake: no more than 10 percent of all calories
  • Monounsaturated fat intake: no more than 15 percent of all calories
  • Total cholesterol intake: less than 300 milligrams


Last reviewed: June 2010

 from BCBS LIving Health-e

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