How Changes in Your Lifestyle can Affect Cholesterol
Eating differently and getting doctor-supervised cholesterol treatment will help lower your cholesterol. However, to stay heart healthy and or lower your cholesterol in the next thirty days, you will need to make some changes to your way of life in order to reap the maximum benefits. Luckily, a few easy-to-make changes are all that is needed to start reaping big cholesterol-lowering benefits:
1. Exercise. Your heart is a muscle, and like any muscle, it gets stronger with exercise. You can protect your heart - even if you have high cholesterol - by exercising a little each day or every few days. A simple twenty minute walk can do wonders. You may also want to indulge and join a gym to make exercise more automatic. Try to find exercise that gets your heart working but which is not too strenuous.
Always make sure that you speak with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen (you may need to ease into a regimen if you are out of shape) and always choose an exercise that you will enjoy so that you stick with it. Some people find that varying their exercise routine and trying new forms of exercise make it easier to stay motivated. Consider trying walking, hiking, swimming, exercising with a video tape, yoga, horseback riding, bicycling, jogging, rollerblading, ice skating, skiing, rowing, or other activities that are low-impact and heart-healthy.
2. Reduce salt. Sodium products can cause hypertension and other conditions that are dangerous for those who already suffer from high cholesterol. Start paying attention to how much salt you add to foods and how much fat is contained in the foods you eat. You will be amazed at how much salt is added to your food. You likely don’t even notice the salt in your meals, since a taste for salt is cumulative - the more salt you eat, the more you crave and the more salt it takes for you to enjoy your food. In fact, once you have lowered your salt intake for a few months, you will likely notice that much of the food you used to like is far too salty!
Many food critics claim that the high sodium content in the North American diet comes from the fact that we eat so many foods that are not very high quality or very flavorful in themselves. You can cut out the salt in your diet by choosing foods that are naturally high in flavor. You can also add flavor by adding raspberry vinegar, fresh herbs, peppercorns, and vegetables broth (sodium-reduced or homemade with no salt) to food. These same flavoring can be used instead of fat for a healthier meal. You can also find salt-free and sodium-reduced products at your grocery store and local health store. These make a nice alternative to your usual high-salt products.
3. Maintain your proper body weight. Keeping your body at its ideal size will help control cholesterol.
4. Drink water. Doctors agree that keeping yourself healthy by drinking lots of water is an important part of keeping your body functioning well overall. Besides this, though, drinking water will make you feel full so that you don’t overeat and drinking water instead of high-salt and high-sugar drinks will keep you healthier.
5. Stop smoking. It slightly increases your cholesterol and puts a terrible strain on your heart and lungs. You simply cannot be heart-healthy if you smoke.
6. Don’t be afraid to add a glass of wine to your dinner once or twice a week. Research suggests that alcohol in moderate amounts can help to lower bad cholesterol levels and raise good cholesterol levels. Some research has also suggested that some forms of alcohol may reduce the risks of coronary disease and may even act as antioxidants.
This does not mean that you should take up drinking, however - other measures will have equally cholesterol-lowering qualities, without you having to consume alcohol. Just don’t assume that you must cut alcohol from your diet to lower cholesterol.
If you are taking cholesterol or other medications, though, make sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist whether the medication will react with alcohol. Also be aware that drinking more than one drink a day will not lower your cholesterol levels and may prove more harmful than beneficial.
7. Watch out for coffee. Some studies have suggested that coffee may contribute slightly to higher levels of bad cholesterol while having no effects on good cholesterol levels. If you can’t give up coffee, at least make sure that you drink filtered coffee, as many studies have suggested that it is the coffee oils in coffee that may lead to elevated cholesterol levels. Also, do your best to cut back on coffee and drink it with non-fat or low-fat milk products.
Coffee - whether filtered or not - has been shown to have detrimental effects on overall health and the fats in coffee cream will certainly not help you with your goal of lowering bad cholesterol levels.
8. Start an herb garden. Whether you grow a small herb garden in your yard or in a window box, having fresh herbs on hand can help you reduce the amount of animal fats and slat you add to your foods. Fresh herbs can add plenty of flavor to your low-fat cooking and most contain a number of nutrients that are good for your overall health. Plus, studies have shown that living in an apartment or home with live plants is good for your general health.
9. It sounds trite, but staying positive and happy with your life can reduce stress levels (which are detrimental to your heart) and can encourage you to take the steps you need to lead a full and active life. Plus, changing your lifestyle and eating habits in response to high cholesterol can be emotionally draining.
Making an effort to look after your emotional health can make this process less daunting. If your emotions and moods swing wildly as you adjust to a cholesterol-lowering lifestyle and diet, seek out a therapist or speak with your doctor to find help.
Click the following link to learn how you can lower cholesterol naturally.