Lowering your Cholesterol
Almost anyone can lower their cholesterol through lifestyle changes, even if you struggle because of genetic factors and require medication. You should have your cholesterol checked regularly. There are two kinds of cholesterol. LDL and HDL.
LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein)
Your physician will watch this “bad” cholesterol because it can build up in your arteries and block the flow of blood to the rest of your body. A healthy LDL level is below 130.*
HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein)
This “good” cholesterol helps to remove the bad cholesterol. A healthy HDL level is above 50.*
*Your physician may recommend other numbers based on your health history.
Out with the bad, in with the good.
Here are three simple steps that can help to lower the “bad” and increase the “good”.
Step One - Stop Smoking
A lingering smoking habit could be lowering your good cholesterol level—not to mention increasing your risk for heart disease and several types of cancer. Your physician has likely encouraged you to quit - so if you haven’t heeded this advice, now is the time.
Step Two – Proper Nutrition
To lower LDL cholesterol, cut out unhealthy foods. Animal fat is the biggest no-no, according to the National Fiber Council. Be careful with dairy products and don't eat trans fats. Trans fats are often found in fried foods and commercial baked goods, such as doughnuts and cookies.
After eliminating some of the fats, it’s time to add foods high in nutritional value. Start with oatmeal for breakfast, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and try to incorporate more beans, soy protein, and whole grains. It may also be beneficial to increase the amount of fish and nuts that you eat.
Step Three – Start Moving
Now that your diet is healthier, it’s time to add exercise. The AHA recommends moderate to vigorous daily aerobic exercise such as dancing, running or cycling for at least 30 minutes per day.
As you incorporate these simple steps into your life, cholesterol may decrease, and you also reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and heart attack.