3 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Cholesterol
You’ve just gotten blood work results back and—to your surprise—your cholesterol level is abnormally high. How could this be? You’re relatively active and eat somewhat healthy, so what gives? Cholesterol is a naturally occurring waxy substance that the body uses to build cells and make vitamins and substances that help you digest food. Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with cholesterol. However, when your cholesterol gets too high it puts you in danger of a heart attack, heart disease or stroke. If you have recently discovered your cholesterol level is high, consider natural alternatives and lifestyle changes before you begin medication. Oftentimes your cholesterol level can be dramatically lowered by making a few tweaks to your daily routine.
Reach for Heart-Healthy Food
Even those of us with relatively healthy diets can still benefit from bulking up on heart-healthy foods like leafy greens (kale, spinach, collards), bright red berries rich in antioxidants, avocado, nuts, beans and fatty fish. Make sure you steer clear of crackers, cakes, cookies, trans fats, processed meat and dairy. Increasing your fiber intake will help reduce cholesterol from getting into the bloodstream. Oatmeal, Brussels and apples are all great sources of soluble fiber.
We all know the importance of getting at least somesort of daily exercise, but you may not realize that exercise actually stimulates enzymes that move LDL (bad cholesterol) from the blood to the liver, where the body filters it out. Simply put, the more you exercise, the more “bad” cholesterol is removed from your body.
Shed those Pounds
Studies show that even losing as little as 5% of your body weight can help improve cholesterol levels by also lowering LDL. Keep a check on your portion sizes, snacking between meals and unhealthy carbs. Eating lean chicken, fish, turkey and eggs (all good sources of protein) will help you build lean muscle. Lean muscle is what helps you burn more calories throughout the day, which can also help you shed unwanted weight.