Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Reduce Your Cholesterol
Has your doctor told you that you have high cholesterol? Then it’s important to get it under control and reduce your cholesterol level as soon as possible. That’s because high cholesterol can have a negative effect on everything from your cardiovascular system and endocrine system, to your digestive system and nervous system. In other words, various aspects of your health could be impacted when you have too much cholesterol.
Although one of the most common methods used for reducing cholesterol levels is prescription medications, there are often changes that can be made to a lifestyle that can help to prevent the need for these drugs altogether, or at least reduce the need for them by enhancing their effects.
Continue reading for a list of ways to reduce cholesterol that involve making changes to your lifestyle. These cholesterol managing techniques can make a considerable impact on your levels and reduce your risk of unwanted side effects, as well as the expense associated with taking these pills.
How to Reduce Cholesterol Without Medication
Even just a few extra pounds can cause your cholesterol levels to rise. Losing an amount as small as 5 to 10 percent of your overall body weight can considerably decrease your levels. Begin by looking carefully (and honestly) at your current eating and exercising habits. Consider the changes that will need to be made and the challenges that you might face, as well as how you may be able to overcome them. Simple changes to make include packing a healthy lunch at home instead of buying fast food, taking a walk to deal with frustrations and boredom instead of eating or drinking, and munching on raw veggies instead of chips in front of the TV.
Eat healthier foods
Regardless of whether you’ve been eating badly for weeks or decades, making a few simple changes to incorporate heart healthier foods into your daily diet can make a considerable improvement. You may find that these changes aren’t all that large, such as simply changing to healthier fats – such as olive oil – and cutting back your red meat by one day every week, while opting for lower fat dairy products. Try to make saturated fat less than 7 percent of your daily caloric intake. The impact may surprise you.
Pro Tip: The keto diet should be avoided, especially if you have already been diagnosed with high cholesterol. That’s because this diet, which is high in fat and low in carbs, can cause your cholesterol to skyrocket even if you start off with normal cholesterol levels, according to Insider. Instead, follow a diet that is high in fiber if you want to try to reduce cholesterol in a natural way.
Cut out trans fats to reduce cholesterol
Eliminate trans fats from your diet altogether. These can be found in many packaged products and commercial baked products such as crackers, cookies, and snack cakes. Read the ingredients list to make sure that there aren’t any trans fats (partially hydrogenated oil) because a product that is labeled trans fat free may still contain up to 0.5 grams of the stuff – a small number that adds up very quickly.
Eat more whole grains
Many of the nutrients that are found in whole grain foods are great for promoting good heart health. As mentioned above, a diet that is high in fiber can help you reduce cholesterol levels back to a healthy level.
Choose options such as:
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat flour
- Whole wheat pasta
- Whole grain bread
Get Plenty of Exercise
If you are already exercising, great! Keep it up! But, if you are not physically active and you need to reduce cholesterol, it’s time to start an exercise routine that you can maintain. The reason: exercise can help increase good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. Nice!
You don’t have to go to extremes with your exercise routine to get benefits. Consider working out three days per week for maybe 30 minutes. If you can’t do that just yet, start with 15 minutes. Over time, you might even work your way up to 60-minute workout sessions.
Also, you don’t have to do high-intensity routines either, as low-intensity workouts (think: going for a brisk walk) can be effective as well.
Finally, make sure you do a little bit of cardio to get your heart rate up, along with a little bit of resistance training to build your muscular strength.
It’s Wise to Take Steps to Reduce Cholesterol!
Because high cholesterol can have such a big impact on your overall health, it is wise to track your levels with the help of blood tests at your doctor’s office. If you start to notice that your cholesterol is going up, there are many easy steps that you can take in your daily life in order to reduce cholesterol. And, if you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol already, talk to your doctor about the specific ways that you can work on reducing it for optimal health. Don’t hesitate to work on bringing the level back down.