Keeping Your Heart Healthy: 10 Ways to Lower Cholesterol
High cholesterol is one of those things millions of people face each and every day. It is partly due to genetics, partly due to a bad diet and partly due to lifestyle choices. While everyone and their cholesterol problems may not be the same, there is one thing that is universal: it can be helped. You can take steps to improve your cholesterol and ensure a long healthy life with a healthy heart. However, the key is to start today and not to stop. Once you jump on the healthy heart bandwagon, you need to commit yourself to it or else it will never work for you.
But enough with the warnings. Here are 10 great ways to lower your cholesterol and ensure a healthier heart:
Cut Out Vices
Coffee, smoking, caffeine. Yes, these can all be considered “vices” and really need to be eliminated from your diet or at least reduced considerably. Why is this? Quite honestly, they are just plain bad for you andyour heart. Smoking constricts blood vessels, which is dangerous if you are already having a problem with cholesterol. Caffeine does the same. You want the blood to flow easily and freely. Do not obstruct the blood from doing its job!
Cut Out The Fat
Yes, unfortunately this means cutting out a lot of good tasting foods. I am not going to lie. But there are so many options out there now that you can easily replace some of the particularly cholesterol-saturated foodswith those that are healthier. So what should you be on the look out for to cutout? Hydrogenated fats including foods like margarine and shortening, saturated fats like cheese and butter and fried foods.
Stock Up On The Fiber
A high fiber diet is good for your heart, digestive systemand overall well being. But most importantly, the combination of a low-fat and high-fiber diet is the perfect ticket to a low-cholesterol lifestyle. A good place to start would be to add fruits, vegetables and monounsaturated fats into your diet. Regular cholesterol testing may help you determine if you do have high bad cholesterol level
Green Leafy Veggies Are Your Friend
I know I just mentioned vegetables above, but they are really so important they are worth mentioning twice. Not just any vegetableswill do. In fact, it is the green leafy kind that is particularly high in fiberand just great at lowering cholesterol.
Whole Grains Do a Whole Lot of Good
While we are on a fiber kick here, it is also important to mention the importance of eating plenty of whole grains. In fact, the wholefood pyramid was just inverted because of the need for more, more, more wholegrains in your diet! Try eating things like whole wheat bread, brown rice orbran to get started.
Exercise is one of those things you cannot cheat on. Sure,you can find foods that taste like your favorites without the high cholesterol content, but you cannot fake or simulate exercise. Whether you get a gym membership, use exercise videos or go for a morning jog, it is important that you exercise regularly and consistently. Be careful to not do too much toosoon, however. Start off slowly and then increase your workout length and intensity over time. Make a schedule to your personal physician to do a cholesterol test to know how effective you do with exercise.
There are many medications out there these days meant tohelp those with high cholesterol keep it at a more tolerable level. However, itis important to note that you cannot solve your cholesterol problems with pills.You still need to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen. The pills arefor those people that, despite their best efforts, still have high cholesterol.It is meant as a supplement to a healthy lifestyle not as an alternative.
Animal Products Can Go
Cholesterol comes from meat and animal products. That is it.There is no other source. Unfortunately for your taste buds, that means cuttingout as much animal products as you can. Yes, that means dairy, eggs, and meat.But not to worry. Anything in moderation is acceptable.
Omega-3 Is the Way To Be
Omega-3 fatty acids are the kinds of fats you want in your body. I know what you are thinking. “I want fat?” But quite honestly, youreally do what this fat. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish products. Sowhether you eat fish a few times a week or take a fish oil supplement, get thatfat into your system and lower cholesterol should be on the horizon.
While most nuts are high in fat and cholesterol, there aresome that are actually good for you and work to reverse the effects of high cholesterol. Walnuts and almonds, in particular, are rich in poly unsaturated fatty acids, which help to reduce the bad cholesterol in your body. However, ifyou are trying to lose weight and lower your cholesterol simultaneously, youmay want to only eat a few as they are high in caloric count.