- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Tips To Improve Your Cholesterol And Improve Your Heart
Do you know what your cholesterol levels are? More that one-half of all Americans have blood cholesterol levels that are higher than they should be. You should have your cholesterol checked yearly after the age of 30, especially if you have a family history of high cholesterol or heart problems.
High cholesterol can double your risk for heart disease and stroke. It can be possible for your body to produce too much cholesterol, even if you are taking steps to lower your cholesterol.
However, many people do successfully lower their cholesterol levels with some simple lifestyle changes. Below are 4 ways to improve your cholesterol levels.
Steps To Better Cholesterol
1. Diet- Begin by eating more fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds. These don't contain cholesterol. Cholesterol is is in all food from animal sources, so eating smaller amounts of lean meat, fish and poultry and dairy products is highly recommended.
Using canola, olive or safflower oil instead of butter, or margarine is a good choice.
Avoid foods that contain saturated, hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated fats or trans fats. Examples would be whole milk, ice cream, egg yolks, organ meats, hot dogs, fried foods and some cheeses.
The average American takes in about 337 milligrams of cholesterol a day. The American Heart Association recommends we limit our average intake to less 300, 200 if you have heart disease.
2. Exercise- Experts now recommend that adults get 30 minutes of exercise 4-5 days of the week. Regular physical activity can help control weight, cholesterol levels, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Popular cardio exercises include walking, bicycling, and jogging. Swimming is another ideal choice if you want a low impact workout.
Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Even moderate/low-intensity activities, if done daily, can help reduce your risk factors.
Examples of moderate activity are- are light walking for pleasure, gardening, yard work, housework, dancing or exercises recommended by your physician.
3. Weight Control- Maintain a healthy weight if possible. Being overweight raises total blood cholesterol levels. Extra weight can increase blood pressure, bad cholesterol and risk of developing diabetes. Aim to reduce abdominal fat because fat in this area increases the risk of heart disease.
Losing weight is hard, but keeping it off is even harder. Changing the way you eat and maintaining a regular exercise program are the two key ways to any weight control program.
4. Stop Smoking- Smoking is one of the six major risk factors of heart disease. Smoking increases the tendency for blood to clot. You can quit smoking to change your cholesterol levels for the better.
Don’t forget to have your cholesterol numbers checked regularly. Making gradual and permanent changes in diet and lifestyle is the best way to lower cholesterol levels that reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke.
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