Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. With high cholesterol, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels.
If you have been diagnosed with high or borderline-high cholesterol you’re probably wondering whether you should worry and I there’s anything you can do about it.
YES YOU CAN!!!
Even moderately elevated LDL levels are associated with a risk of premature death from heart disease compared to those whose numbers were considered healthy. The GOOD NEWS is your cholesterol, especially your LDL (bad cholesterol) is incredibly responsive to lifestyle. So, after six weeks of healthy changes such as eating right and exercising, you should start seeing changes.
Here are 7 ways to lower cholesterol
1. Eat Less Meat
Animal protein contains a lot of saturated fat. Even sources lower in saturated fat like pork and chicken aren’t good for your cholesterol.
Plant-based proteins aren’t just low in saturated fat, they’re also rich in other nutrients that help promote healthy cholesterol, such as fibre and antioxidants.
A Mediterranean-style diet that’s rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy and healthy fats (such as those found in fatty fish (like salmon), avocados, nuts and olive oil is best for your overall heart health and cholesterol levels.
2. Cook With Seed Oils
Olive oil is considered the heart-healthy standard, but it isn’t the only goodie for your heart. Seed oils such as sunflower, canola and flaxseed oil might actually be more effective at lowering LDL cholesterol.
Mixing it up with plant oils can reap even more benefits. Coconut oil is very effective at boosting HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
3. Replace Saturated Fats With Unsaturated Fats
Saturated fats are found in animal products such as meat and dairy as well as in tropical oils.
Including more unsaturated fats such as avocados and almonds in your diet is linked to lowering cholesterol. Try eating a handful of almonds daily for six weeks and you will most likely have higher HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Almonds is said to not only raise HDL levels but also improve it’s functioning (scooping cup cholesterol from our arteries and help transport it out of your body).
4. Eat More Fiber
There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber (or “roughage”) is the tough matter found in whole grains, nuts, fruits and veggies that doesn’t dissolve in water. Insoluble fiber isn’t broken down by the gut and absorbed in the bloodstream.
Soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol. It dissolves in water and forms a gel-like material. It binds with cholesterol in the intestine and shuttles it out of the body. Both oats and barley are rich in beta-glucen (a type of soluble fiber) that have cholesterol-lowering qualities.
5. Exercise As Much As You Can, Whenever You Can
Exercise has the benefit of increasing your HDL.
A good and balanced combination of exercise would be – to do at least 2 weight training sessions and at least three to four 20 minute cardio vascular sessions per week for at least 12 weeks.
Try to add some yoga or meditation into the mix. Not only will you increase your “good” cholesterol but you will also lower stress and anxiety levels which has also shown to have an affect on cholesterol.
6. Quit Smoking And Limit Alcohol
Lighting up a cigarette raises your LDL and lowers your HDL levels. The good news is once you quit, you’ll see results fairly rapidly. According to the World Health Organisation, your risk of developing heart disease will have dropped to about half that of smokers.
Limit your alcohol intake to no more than 2 – 3 glasses a week.
7. Lose Just A Little
Extra padding – especially fat around the belly – can increase bad cholesterol (LDL). Losing 5 – 10% of body weight leads to a significant reduction in both LDL levels and triglycerides.
By making some small changes in your way of life and adapting a new lifestyle and creating new habits, you could save your life!
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