The idea of cholesterol automatically conjures up thoughts of heart disease and strokes. Although cholesterol is made naturally in the body and is important for the production of Vitamin D, hormones and certain digestive substances, it occurs in two forms and too much of the wrong kind can be detrimental to your health. A high level of LDL (low-density lipoproteins), also know as the “bad” cholesterol, can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in the arteries and raises the risk of developing heart disease. A high level of HDL (high-density lipoproteins), also known as the “good” cholesterol, reduces your risk of developing heart disease.
Cholesterol travels through your blood stream in packages called lipoproteins (HDL, LDL and triglycerides), which is made up of fat on the inside and proteins on the outside. A healthy balance of the HDL and LDL types is vital in maintaining a robust physique. When there is too much LDL, the cholesterol, fatty substances, cellular waste products and calcium form plaque build-up in the coronary arteries which is a condition known as atherosclerosis. If the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart is restricted due to excess plaque build-up, this can lead to angina or a heart attack.
The western diet and sedentary lifestyle that we lead, has a major impact on our health and is a contributory factor in the large number of people suffering from high cholesterol problems today. The good news is that with a number of lifestyle and dietary adjustments, your cholesterol levels can be improved and your risk of developing heart disease reduced.
- Eat Heart-healthy Foods – Saturated fats, such as those found in red meat and dairy products, trans-fats found in cookies and processed foods and unhealthy monosaturated oils should be reduced or eliminated from your diet and replaced with healthy fats such as olive and coconut oils and omega 3 fatty acids which is found in fish such as mackerel and salmon. Increase your heart-healthy fiber which can be found in oat bran, legumes, fruits, beans, lentils and vegetables.
- Start an Exercise Routine – 30 Minutes of exercise per day is recommended not only to help reduce your cholesterol, but to help you lose weight. Keep active – take the stairs instead of the elevator; go on a brisk walk during your lunchtime or do sit-ups when you have a few minutes to spare. The extra energy you get from exercising will have a positive impact on your overall wellbeing.
- Quit Smoking – Smoking affects your long-term health. When you stop smoking, your blood pressure goes down and your risk of developing heart disease diminishes.
- Lose Weight – Carrying extra weight has a negative impact on your cholesterol levels. Aim to lose weight and get into shape. If you eat out of boredom, find an activity to distract you from snacking all day and when you do need a snack, reach for a healthy alternative such as celery or carrot sticks.
- Drink in Moderation – It has been suggested that a moderate amount of alcohol daily can improve HDL levels; ie. one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men under age 65. More than the recommended amount can lead to additional health issues.
- Take Supplements – LipoCare™ has been uniquely formulated to help lower and sustain healthy levels of cholesterol. Maintaining lower levels of cholesterol helps reduce, slow-down or even stop the buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can increase the risk of heart disease especially as we age.
Taking these lifestyle changes into account can help lower your cholesterol levels. Know your HDL and LDL cholesterol levels. Make an appointment to be tested – prevention is better than a cure!