Ways to Improve Your Cholesterol Levels

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Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance in your blood. It increases your chance of heart disease, stroke, and other problems. Many things may put you at risk for high cholesterol. You can’t control some of these risks such as your age, gender, or family history. Fortunately, the list of things you can control is longer: It includes your weight, diet, exercise, blood sugar, and smoking.  Let’s take a look at what this might mean for you.   Maybe you’ve put on a few (or more than a few) pounds in the last couple of years. Or your recent New Year’s resolution was short-lived, making that gym membership a bit of a waste! Don’t scold yourself. Just start over.  The good news is some changes may give you a “twofer.” For example, eating healthy foods can reduce the amount of cholesterol you are taking into your body. It can also help you lose weight, which lowers LDL (bad cholesterol).

Try eating:

  • More fresh fruits, vegetables, and other foods high in fiber such as whole grains and beans
  • Fewer foods that contain cholesterol, trans fats, or saturated fats such as fatty meats and whole milk, cream, butter, cheese, and ice cream

 

 

Increasing your exercise not only lowers your LDL. It also raises levels of HDL (good cholesterol), which carries bad cholesterol away.   Take steps to enhance your chance of success, especially if exercise is a bit foreign to you. Gradually increase the intensity and length of your exercise routines. Or find an exercise partner to help you stay motivated.  Sometimes lifestyle changes are simply not enough to get your cholesterol into a safe range. In these cases, your doctor may prescribe a special medicine to lower your cholesterol. Of course taking medicine never gives you a free pass to smoke, overeat, and be a couch potato. Instead, lifestyle changes can work together with medicine to improve your cholesterol levels even more. And, as you already know, these changes can really improve your overall quality of life.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

Sources:

  1. Merckengage.com: “Risk Factors for High Cholesterol.” Available at: http://www.merckengage.com/common/article.aspx?ID=524 Accessed October 22, 2014.
  2. Merckengage.com: “Make a Plan to Manage Your High Cholesterol.” Available at: http://www.merckengage.com/common/article.aspx?ID=517