Given the food choices available in today’s fast-track world, it’s not difficult to see why a lot of people are having problems with their blood cholesterol levels. Fast food, processed food, instant noodles and dishes that can be cooked quickly are all delicious and filling, but they are also not the healthiest food choices around. They either contain preservatives or are wicked sources of saturated fat.
The first thing you need to do if you want to bring your cholesterol level down, is to analyze your current diet and lifestyle. Ask yourself if you frequently eat and do the following:
- Order lots of fast food
- Have meat every day, every meal
- Eat chicken skin
- Eat Oily pastries and baked goods
- Grill pre-packed burger patties
- Lather a thick layer of butter on your morning toast
- Drink beer
- Drink milkshakes and soda
- Taking the cab instead of taking long walks
- Haven’t visited the gym ever
- Don’t do simple exercises at home
- Don’t like to sweat
- Sit on the couch and watch TV
Basically, having lots of fatty, unhealthy food in your diet and living a sedentary lifestyle is the cause of high cholesterol. If you’re guilty of doing several of the examples above, then you must know already that taking a 180o turn is the answer to your problem.
Less Fat, More Fruits and Greens
Reduce your daily intake of fatty food. Not all kinds of are detrimental to your health though so you need to know the different types and where you can get them from. Avoid meats, pastries, fast food, bone marrow soups and other dishes that have high saturated fat content. You’ll recognize saturated fat because it solidifies at room temperature or lower. Choose instead lean meats, low-cholesterol poultry products, salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Flaxseed, sesame seeds, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, olive oil and other plant oils are also good sources of unsaturated or “good” fat.
These fat sources should be taken in moderation. Since you’re aiming to lower your cholesterol levels, you need to replace your fatty food intake with more fruits and vegetables. Instead of eating steaks in the evenings, get your palate acquainted to salads. Snack on apples, peaches, avocado, and other fruits instead of French fries and junk food.
You must also eat food that will actively lower your blood cholesterol level. Oats, barley and whole grains reduce Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDLs, which are considered “bad” cholesterol) and are high in soluble fiber. Nuts, especially walnuts and almonds, are the same.
The choices of fish mentioned above are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can bring down high blood pressure. Red wine is also proven to be great at reducing cholesterol. Be sure to include olive oil in your salads too, since it doesn’t just reduce LDLs, but also keeps High-Density Lipoproteins (HDLs, which are “good” cholesterol) untouched.
Exercise and Sweat More
Your improved diet should be coupled with exercise to hasten your cholesterol reduction. Fat and cholesterol are closely connected (although it is also possible for someone who’s not obese to have high cholesterol levels as well) so it only makes sense to get rid of excess body fat. The quickest way to do that is through regulated diet and exercise.
Exercising doesn’t only burn fat. It also stimulates enzymes that can remove excess LDLs from the bloodstream and the liver. Doctors also say that exercising enlarges protein particles responsible for carrying LDLs and HDLs. The advantage here is they will be able to carry all cholesterol particles, including the small, dense ones that block blood vessel linings, causing heart complications.
Hit the gym and let your trainer know about your goal to get your cholesterol down. Seasoned trainers usually know what types of exercises will be good for people with this problem, especially for obese clients who cannot immediately keep up with rigorous physical activities. Plus, they can also give diet tips.
Instead of watching TV by the hour, get outside and do something fun, like playing tennis or basketball with your friends. If getting a trainer intimidates you, you can start with simple cardio exercise, like jogging early in the morning or using the treadmill after work. Start with moderate exercise that you can do for 10-20 minutes. Slowly increase the intensity and duration of your exercises as your body adapts.
If you put your mind to it, you can reduce your blood cholesterol and avoid all sorts of complications that typically come with it. It will be difficult at the beginning, especially if eating yummy but cholesterol-rich food and sitting around has been your habit for years. Just think about the end result and know that your efforts will pay off in the long run.