High cholesterol, also known as dyslipidemia, might seem frightening because of its serious complications. The good news is that it can be managed easily if you focus on some key lifestyle changes. Let’s break down a few to get you started:
Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
Since diet plays a major part in your cholesterol level, one of the best ways to lower your overall cholesterol is to decrease the amount of saturated and trans fat you eat. It’s recommended that you limit the amount of saturated fat you eat to about 5-6 percent of your daily calorie intake. That includes limiting fried foods, red meat, and dairy products made with whole milk. Meanwhile, increasing the amount of fiber in your diet can also be beneficial. A high-fiber diet can help lower cholesterol by as much as 10 percent. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Get More Physically Active
People with a sedentary lifestyle and limited physical activity have a lower amount of the good HDL cholesterol. Lower levels of good cholesterol circulating in your blood means that not as much of the bad LDL cholesterol will be removed from your arteries. You should aim to get 30 minutes of physical activity, such as walking, at least five days a week in order to lower your cholesterol. Physical activity also naturally lowers blood pressure levels. Remember, if you’re not there yet, start small and work your way toward that goal.
Smoking lowers the amount of the good HDL cholesterol in your body. When you smoke with unhealthy cholesterol levels, it increases your risk of coronary heart disease. Quitting smoking can lower cholesterol levels and help keep your cardiovascular system healthy. Talk to your Health Advisor about ways to start reducing your smoking habit today.
Being overweight can raise bad LDL and lower good HDL cholesterol. So losing weight by eating healthy and changing your lifestyle can improve your cholesterol levels. Just losing 10 percent of your body weight can significantly improve your cholesterol numbers. Talk to your care team about what a healthy weight loss goal is best for you.
Living with dyslipidemia can be tough, but it is important to remember that there are many things that are within your control. It is also important to remember that you’re not alone. Reach out to your Health Advisor if you have any questions! We’re here to help!