Improving Your Cholesterol Levels

Having high cholesterol can increase your risk for developing heart disease and having heart attacks, which is why it is so important to monitor your cholesterol levels and follow your doctor’s guidance. In addition to taking cholesterol medications, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to help improve your cholesterol.

Here are the steps we recommend to keeping your cholesterol in check!

Key Steps to Lowering Your Cholesterol

Heart-Healthy Diet

A few simple and conscious changes in your diet can have a huge effect on cholesterol levels. One of the most important factors in your diet is your intake of fat. Reduce saturated fats, and eliminate trans fats. As fats will raise cholesterol levels, it’s essential to reduce your intake. For example, less than 7% of your daily calories should come from saturated fats, which are found primarily in meat and dairy products. Trans fats are found in many commercial processed foods. Do your best to avoid these completely by staying away from products that list partially hydrogenated oils on their ingredient lists. Instead, go for healthier fat options like olive oil and canola oil.

Omega-3 fatty acids are great for heart health. The fatty acids found in foods like salmon, mackerel, walnuts, and almonds, can help to increase high-density lipoprotein, or “good” cholesterol. This reduces triglycerides, which are a type of fat in the blood, and they can reduce blood pressure. Soluble fiber is another great addition to a heart-healthy diet, as it helps to reduce LDL levels. Soluble fiber is found in food like oats, beans, lentils, and fruits and veggies. Finally, whey protein has been found to reduce LDL and overall cholesterol levels. Whey protein is found in dairy, but you can also pick up whey protein powder at many grocery stores. It’s an easy addition to any diet.

Exercise and Weight LossLower Cholesterol

Moderate physical activity can help improve cholesterol by raising high-density lipoprotein, or “good” cholesterol. After okaying it with your doctor, try to work out about 30 minutes a day. Even moderate exercise in 10-minute intervals can be helpful. Consider taking several brisk walks a day, such as during your lunch hour or when you get home from work. If possible, ride your bike to work or other places. Join a city league for kickball, softball, or any other sport you find enjoyable. Making small changes, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or doing squats while watching the evening news, can make a difference to your health. By losing just 5 or 10% of your weight, you can help to improve your cholesterol levels.

Don’t Smoke

Smoking causes a huge number of health problems, including harming your cholesterol levels. If you do smoke, find a way to quit that works for you. After one year of quitting smoking, your risk for heart disease will be half of what it was when you were a smoker.

Inform Yourself About Your Health

It’s always important to see a doctor regularly and be informed about your health and ways that you could improve. The first step to improving your cholesterol is finding out your current levels. Test Smartly Labs of Overland Park offers efficient and accurate cholesterol testing, as well as other wellness testing services.

To get started, stop in Test Smartly Labs of Overland Park today or call (913) 815-0988!


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