|Dietary factors that influence lipid levels include modification of nutritional components, consumption of specific foods, use of food additives and supplements, and major dietary approaches.
The most beneficial changes result from reducing intake of saturated and trans fats; increasing intake of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats; fortifying foods with plant stanols or sterols; isocalorically adding tree nuts to the diet; consuming one or two alcoholic drinks per day; and adopting a Portfolio, Mediterranean, low-carbohydrate, or low-fat diet.
Smaller but still beneficial effects result from reducing intake of dietary cholesterol, increasing intake of soluble fiber and soy protein, and eating fatty marine fish or taking marine-derived omega-3 fatty acid supplements. Red yeast rice supplements have effects similar to those of statin medications and are better tolerated in some patients.
Regular aerobic exercise has beneficial effects on lipid levels, particularly if performed for at least 120 minutes per week. Brief physician counseling will have relatively small effects on unselected patients, so efforts should be concentrated on patients who are motivated and ready to make lifestyle changes.