High cholesterol is one of the major culprits of many health problems that face a large percentage of the adult population. High cholesterol could lead to clogged arteries, which in turn could lead to heart attack, stroke and other heart diseases. Once you’re in your 20’s, you should always be conscious about getting a cholesterol check: total cholesterol levels should be at 200 or below, while low-density lipoprotein (or bad cholesterol) levels should be at 100 or below.
If you’ve recently had a cholesterol check, and you realized that you’d need to start lowering your blood cholesterol levels, you may be wondering about what steps you should undertake towards this goal. Read on to find out some of the steps to lower your cholesterol starting today:
- Find out which food are good for you. Though there are many types of food that you’d have to strike out of your menu plan, know that there are still so many options that are available for you. Some of these include oatmeal, walnuts, almonds, omega-3 rich fish (such as sardines, tuna, salmon and mackerel), fruits and vegetables. Just remember, the key nutrients that you’d need are fiber, which flush out cholesterol from your digestive tract; omega-3 fatty acids, which provides benefits to your heart; and antioxidants.
- Get moving! Human beings are designed for work and physical activity, and a sedentary lifestyle just goes against the normal workings of the different human systems. Moderate exercise, even one as simple as a brisk walk after dinner, can lower your bad cholesterol and raise your good cholesterol levels by 10%.
- Understand good cholesterol versus bad cholesterol. Recent studies show that there are two kinds of cholesterol: high density lipoproteins, also known as good cholesterol, and low density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol. Good cholesterol contains fats that slow down arterial plaque buildup, while bad cholesterol not only hastens the formation of arterial plaque, they also actually flush out good cholesterol as well. Avocados, eggs, olive oil, and dark green leafy vegetables are rich in good cholesterol; while food with transfats, hydrogenated fats, and saturated fats are sources of bad cholesterol.
- Drink up. Studies show that moderate intake of red wine or green tea can significantly lower your cholesterol and raise your good cholesterol by about 10%. The operational word here, however, is moderate, which means about one to two drinks a day.
- Know what activities to avoid. Studies show that the single best thing you could do to start lowering your bad cholesterol levels is by quitting smoking. This action in itself reaps numerous health benefits that are beneficial to virtually every organ you have in your body. Apart from quitting smoking, you should also stop drinking too much soda, eating too much processed food and exposing yourself to too many stressful situations.
A word about stress. Enroll in programs or courses that will help you learn how to deal with stress more effectively. Too much stress exposes you to many health problems. Increased risk of heart attack and cancer are just some of them. Nothing – not your work deadlines or your missed payments – is ever worth risking your health over.
These are just some of the handy tips you could follow to start lowering your cholesterol today. The important word there is today, as there is never a time better than now when you’re talking about improving your health and your state of being. Good luck!