High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) is a medical problem that leads to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Usually it’s caused by lifestyle and diet, but in some cases it can be an inherited disorder. This is called familial hypercholesterolemia. While there’s nothing you can do about your genes, lifestyle adjustments and an appropriate treatment regimen can help manage your cholesterol levels.
Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly can significantly reduce blood cholesterol levels. It’s also important to limit other risk factors, such as smoking and high blood pressure. A healthy lifestyle not only reduces the risks associated with plaque buildup from cholesterol, but also provides numerous other benefits, such as reducing the risk of diabetes and obesity, and increasing longevity.
How do I decrease my cholesterol levels?
High cholesterol levels can be a medical problem, so if you are concerned about your cholesterol, you should consult with your physician. In the case of Familial Hypercholesterolemia, medication is required to treat high LDL-cholesterol. Your doctor will be able to evaluate your condition and give you suggestions suited to your individual organism.
However, there are ways to tweak your lifestyle to lower cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of cardiovascular (heart) disease. People with familial hypercholesterolemia should consider adapting to a healthy lifestyle early on, to prevent possible future complications.
Simple steps to decrease my cholesterol levels
The Mayo Clinic lists four lifestyle conditions that can put you at a higher risk of high cholesterol: smoking, obesity, poor diet and lack of exercise. Additionally having diabetes or high blood pressure can put you at an increased risk of hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol). If you have familial hypercholesterolemia (inherited high cholesterol), you are at an increased risk since birth. This means it is crucial that you limit these risk factors and do everything you can to lower your cholesterol.
Getting a little exercise can go a long way to improving your overall health. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal found that getting just ten minutes of moderate exercise each day could contribute significantly to reducing obesity and high blood pressure. There is no reason that your exercise need be boring; take a brisk walk while listening to your favorite music, take the stairs instead of the elevator, get involved in a sport you love or simply do a few sit-ups while watching TV.
How do I decrease my cholesterol levels without sacrificing taste?
Another important factor is reducing the amount of cholesterol that gets into your body in the first place. Nutritionists at the USDA recommend eliminating, if possible, all trans fats from your diet.This doesn’t mean you need to give up on good tasting food. Simply check the ingredients when you buy commercial baked products, such as cookies, cakes or other snacks. Choose options that are trans fat free.
Saturated and trans fats increase the level of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol. Substitute them with healthier fats found in lean meats, and vegetable oils such as olive, canola and sunflower. A point to take note of is margarine: some margarines can contain high levels of trans fats, which are actually worse for you than the saturated fat found in butter. Be sure to check the label on the margarine to ensure it’s made from healthy vegetable oils and doesn’t contain trans fats.