High cholesterol levels increase our risk of heart diseases.
Many recommended medications are available to help improve your cholesterol.
Before resorting to maintenance medication, one can try to incorporate first simple lifestyle changes in their daily lives. Little by little, these changes can help improve the cholesterol.
Eat heart-healthy foods
Sharing below three heart-healthy foods you want to try incorporating in your diet:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids don’t affect LDL cholesterol but help reduce blood pressure. Some food with omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, herring), walnuts, and flaxseeds.
- Soluble fiber
Soluble fiber can help reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. These can be found in foods like oatmeal, Brussels sprouts, apples, and pears.
- Whey protein
Whey protein, as popularized as a muscle-food for body builders, lowers both LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol as well as blood pressure according to a study.
Increase your physical activity
Moderate physical activity can help increase HDL cholesterol, which is what we refer to as the good cholesterol. It is recommended to workout at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week or vigorous aerobic activity for 20 minutes three times a week.
For starters, consider incorporating more activity into your daily routine, such as using the stairs instead of taking the elevator, parking farther from your office, taking walks during breaks.
Find the best activity you enjoy so this doesn’t feel too much!
Small changes in our lifestyle can definitely add up in terms of losing weight. For example, try eliminating sugary beverages to just water. Try air-popped popcorn instead of deep fried fries. Try drinking tea to suppress sweet cravings.
Find out what works best for you and listen to your body.
Smoking has been linked to the increase in LDL cholesterol, which Is what we refer to as the bad cholesterol. Increase in LDL increases deposits of plaque in the arteries, impeding the flow of blood, hence increasing risk to heart attack and stroke.
Drink alcohol only in moderation
Drinking of alcohol in moderation has been linked to higher levels of HDL cholesterol.
We want to emphasize the word “moderation” here. Moderate means “moderate drinking is up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men”, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Anything in excess is dangerous for the health and the same is the case for alcohol consumption. Notice the beer belly we get when we binge drink during the holidays? We do not want to get those. In addition, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure and heart complications.