How to lower high cholesterol

By February 24, 2016Blog

Dangerously high cholesterolHow often do you see commercials for cholesterol medication? Probably quite often, if you watch any television at all. There’s a reason! Heart disease causes more deaths each year than all forms of cancer combined. Cholesterol is a major contributing factor because it clogs your arteries. Ever been drinking a smoothie or milkshake, things are chugging along fine. Then you hit a glob of fruit or ice cream and suction is reduced to nothing. That is basically what can happen to your arteries. If enough cholesterol builds up, it will severely limit blood flow, leading to heart attacks or strokes.

So how do you reduce your levels of cholesterol?

Lifestyle changes, including:

    • Eating heart-healthy foods
    • Getting more exercise and increasing physical activity
    • Quitting smoking
    • Losing weight
  • Lowering your alcohol consumption

Heart-healthy foods are a one, two punch. They’re better for you, and they contribute to your overall health in a positive manner. When shopping, look for healthier fats, such as leaner cuts of meat, dairy products that are low-fat, and monounsaturated fats (like olive oil). You can also eliminate trans fats. These are bad fats that are found in things like fried food, cookies, and many other pre-packaged snacks. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like certain fish and nuts, are very good for you as well. Try to add more fiber to your diet, as well as whey protein.

Exercising can lower cholesterol levels as well. And it helps you lose weight. It doesn’t have to be running ten miles in the midday sun either. Take a brisk walk on your lunch break. Go swimming, or play a sport! A ten-minute chunk of exercise, a few times a day, can do wonders for your heart health.

If you can kick the habit, quitting smoking will do wonders for you. Just 20 minutes after you stop smoking, your blood pressure and heart rate go down. After a year, your risk for heart disease is cut in half. After 15 years, it’ll be almost like you never smoked.

You can also lose weight. Not with a fad diet, or pills, but with gradual changes. Start by having some celery instead of a candy bar. If you find yourself reaching for a soda, get a glass of water instead. As you gradually implement these changes, you’ll find you crave the bad stuff less and less. You can also do things like take the stairs at work, or park farther away to force yourself to walk more. The more activity you do, and the better you eat, you’ll be inspired to do more of it. It’s very important to note, diet soda does NOT qualify as a healthy replacement.

Alcohol is another big one. If you drink too much, you can have high blood pressure, heart failure, or a stroke. So make sure, if you must have a drink, only have one or two at the most. Binge-drinking (consuming 4 or more drinks within two hours) is very bad for you.

These changes are not miracles that will fix everything overnight. If you continually maintain those habits, you’ll start to see positive changes in your overall health. And you’ll have lower cholesterol. Not sure if you have high cholesterol? Come to the urgent care for some blood work and we will be able to tell you!