As we each grow older, health related questions begin to creep into our minds – the likes of which may never have crossed our minds before.
For example, after climbing the stairs to bed one night after another Netflix binge that saw us staying up past bedtime for the fifth time this week, we may begin to think along the lines of how a lifetime of late nights might be beginning to affect us.
Next, we might begin to worry about any history of dementia in the family, and our thoughts could start to race in all directions, even in the direction of questions such as what actually is a stroke and, if we were to be affected, is Locked In Syndrome Common?
One thing we all eventually begin to wonder about is cholesterol. There are only so many TV ads and media articles about lowering our cholesterol that we can see before something clicks and we think, ‘hmm, maybe I should look into this before it’s too late’.
That’s why today, we’re going to look at how to reduce cholesterol through lifestyle changes.
Let’s begin with a brief roundup of what cholesterol is and why too much of it is a bad thing. In the simplest terms, cholesterol is a type of fat made in the liver and ‘stored’ in the blood. This is because your body needs cholesterol to make healthy cells.
However, cholesterol is also found in many foods, and too much of it can cause blockages in veins and arteries. You don’t need to be a leading heart surgeon to know that, if left unchecked, the future could be very bleak for anyone with blocked arteries.
How to Reduce Cholesterol
Let’s get straight into it:
Reduce saturated fats found in dairy products and red meat. Completely eliminate trans fats (sometimes known as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil) found in things like cookies and cakes. Increase your intake of soluble fiber, found in oatmeal, pears, sprouts, apples, and kidney beans.
30 minutes of exercise five times per week will help lower cholesterol. This may sound like a lot. But it’s only 2.5 hours out of a possible 168 hours per week. You can do this!
Smoking is known to lower the ‘good’ cholesterol in your blood (known as high-density lipoprotein – or HDL – cholesterol). Within a year of quitting, the risk of heart disease halves.
Shed Extra Pounds
Extra weight means extra cholesterol. Although technically diet and exercise should cover this topic, it’s worth mentioning on its own. Get help from your doctor on weight loss if you find you struggle to get in shape.
Cholesterol is a silent killer. Reducing cholesterol isn’t hard, but it will take commitment to lifestyle changes.