Get Smart About Improving Your Cholesterol

High cholesterol can increase your risk of developing heart disease and heart attacks later in life. It’s important to monitor your cholesterol levels and follow your doctor’s guidance to make sure you keep yourself healthy. There are many lifestyle changes you can make to help improve your cholesterol in addition to taking medications. Here are some recommendations Test Smartly Labs has for improving your cholesterol:

Key Steps to Improving Your Cholesterol

Heart-Healthy Diet

Dietary changes can have an enormous effect on cholesterol levels. We recommend trying to cut back on saturated and trans fats because fats will raise cholesterol levels. Less than 7% of your daily calories should come from saturated fats, which you will find primarily in meat and dairy products. Many commercial processed foods contain trans fats, so it’s best to avoid these completely by staying away from products that list partially hydrogenated oils in their ingredients. Try opting for healthier fat options like olive oil or canola oil.

Fatty Omega-3 acids found in foods like salmon, mackerel, walnuts, and almonds will help increase high-density lipoprotein, also known as “good” cholesterol. Lipoprotein reduces blood pressure by lowering the number of triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood. Soluble fiber is another great addition to a heart-healthy diet, as it helps to reduce LDL cholesterol levels. You’ll find this type of fiber in oats, beans, lentils, fruits, and veggies. Finally, whey protein has been found to reduce LDL and overall cholesterol levels. Most people choose to pick up whey protein powder at many grocery stores. It’s a healthy, easy bonus for any diet.

Exercise and Weight Loss

Moderate physical activity every day can help your cholesterol by raising high-density lipoprotein. Try to work out about 30 minutes a day with a doctor’s approval. Even moderate exercise in 10-minute intervals can be good for you. You may want to take several brisk walks a day, either during your lunch hour or when you get off work. You can try riding your bike to work or nearby places. Participate in any sport you find enjoyable. Try to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or do squats while watching the evening news. The smallest changes can make the biggest differences. By losing just 5 or 10% of your weight, you can help to lower your cholesterol.

No Smoking

Smoking can do major damage to your cholesterol levels. If you smoke, we strongly recommend quitting. After one year of quitting, the risk for heart disease will decrease by 50% from when you were smoking.

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