A sedentary lifestyle, binge eating, that tall glass of wine, too many outings to the fast food chains with the kids and long working hours are often the risk factors doctors talk about with regard to high cholesterol. Such risk factors make some people susceptible to high cholesterol that can eventually lead to a heart attack or other complications.
However, with a few simple lifestyle changes, you can lower your cholesterol and lead a healthier life. These tips are easy to follow and make a big difference; read on to know more:
Add a little exercise to your daily routine
Exercise is very important as it cuts your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol level and raises your “good” (HDL) cholesterol levels. It’s proven to help reduce blood pressure and strengthen your heart. Start incorporating at least one hour’s worth of exercise into your daily routine. This could be walking while on your commute, after meals at home or in your office space or even trying a few exercises at home or at your desk at work. You could opt to join a gym as well, although, it’s not absolutely necessary. Just ensure that you spend at least an hour a day doing something active. Let’s not forget, exercise is also a great stress buster and can also be a great time to spend with the family in some activity.
Alter your eating habits
Everything you eat affects your health. It’s common knowledge that most of us don’t quite know what goes into our food unless we prepare it ourselves. Still, with additives and preservatives included in most store-bought food items and pesticides etc. found on food in the markets, we’re still somewhat in the dark. Our diets are nonetheless in our control. So, to reduce cholesterol levels, for starters, foods full of saturated and trans fats should be off the menu. Also, avoid red meat and instead, opt for Omega-3-rich fish, such as salmon. Add more fibre-rich foods (especially soluble fibre) like fruits and vegetables to your daily diet. Cut out those fried, oily and overly salted items as well. A dash of olive oil for cooking can also be a great benefit for your heart. These alterations will even make a big difference when it comes to your kids’ eating habits and overall health.
Today’s fast-paced life generates quite a bit of stress; it’s not just detrimental to your mental health, but your physical health as well. It’s time to take some time out to relax. Aside from spending time with family, make some time for yourself; start meditating, it can do wonders. All it requires is some quiet time, in a quiet place to just do nothing. Meditation can help generate a sense of well-being which reduces the release of stress hormones like cortisol that damage cells. Incorporating this earlier in their lives will also help children (not the younger ones, of course) get more focused.
Quit smoking and caffeine
Smoking and a high caffeine intake are major contributors to your cholesterol levels going up. Smoking lowers HDL cholesterol and also injures the lining of the blood vessels which increases the risk of developing blood clots. These reduce or block blood flow to the heart and can cause a heart attack. It could be a little difficult for some to do outright, so start gradually and work your way to a complete stop. You’ll start seeing results quite soon. Let’s not forget how detrimental smoking can be to your children who could emulate you or other family members who have to deal with secondhand smoke in various forms.
Start getting tests regularly
It’s vital that you get checked regularly, more so if your family has a history of heart disease or high cholesterol. Get your lipid profile test done every six months so that you know the condition of your heart. Encourage your family members to do the same, especially your parents and any elders at home.
These simple but effective tips can help reduce your cholesterol levels in a period of a few weeks, so don’t waste time, start now!