High cholesterol is one of the most common diseases of the XXI century. Due to our sedentary lifestyle and processed food, we are more likely to suffer from it. Low levels of cholesterol are healthy, as it protects nerves, makes cell tissues, or produces certain hormones. However, if your cholesterol is too high, it increases your risk of heart diseases and attacks.
That’s why, below, you can read about 8 lifestyle changes you can implement to improve your cholesterol levels. You can get information on eliminating trans fats, staying active, eating well, and many more. Read on and make sure you live a healthy life.
1. Avoid Trans Fat
Trans fats are fats that are created through the process of hydrogenation of vegetable oils. Food manufacturers use them to increase the shelf-life of their products. However, trans fats are very unhealthy for your body. They increase your bad cholesterol levels and decrease the levels of the good one.
Moreover, they can impact your cognitive abilities, making you lazier and more passive. Do you have a problem with focus? Read here about it and learn why it’s important to eliminate trans fats from your diet and improve your cholesterol levels.
To improve your health, it’s essential to aim at staying physically active. The best exercises you should include in your program are aerobics and walking. When you exercise regularly, you burn fat and lower your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Moreover, you lose weight and become fitter and stronger.
3. Eat Healthy Foods
Eating healthy foods is the key to lowering your cholesterol levels. It’s essential to have a balanced diet, which includes enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Apart from this, you should also reduce your intake of fatty foods, sweets, and junk food. In addition, make sure you drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
4. Eat Oatmeal
Oatmeal is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It is rich in fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates. It also reduces your cholesterol levels and prevents constipation. Eating oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to start your day with a high level of energy. That is excellent for both men and women; however, women should be cautious not to eat too much of it, as it contains a lot of magnesium which may lead to menstrual problems.
5. Reduce Your Red Meat Intake
Red meat is responsible for a high level of saturated fat in your body. This fat increases your level of bad cholesterol and decreases your good cholesterol. That’s why it’s essential to have less red meat in your diet. Don’t worthy, though – we are not going to tell you to go green. If you are a carnivore, you can replace red meat with chicken or fish.
In addition, you should also focus on cooking your meat in a healthy way, such as grilling or broiling it without using oil or butter. It’s also essential to limit your intake of processed meat products. For instance, sausages, hot dogs, and cold cuts are known for containing lots of sodium nitrites that increase the risk of heart diseases.
6. Eat More Fiber-Rich Foods
Foods rich in fiber are highly recommended when you want to lower your cholesterol levels. You can get fiber from many sources, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Some vegetables that are rich in fiber are spinach and broccoli. They also contain folate that helps to prevent birth defects and cancer.
Beans are also great for lowering cholesterol levels, as they contain soluble fiber that binds bile acids in the small intestine and decreases the absorption of cholesterol from the gut into the bloodstream. Try to include beans in your diet at least twice a week.
7. Use Olive Oil Instead Of Butter
Butter contains lots of saturated fat that increases your cholesterol levels and leads to cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis and strokes. Replace it with olive oil, which contains no trans fats or cholesterol. However, remember that this oil is a calorie-rich product – consume it in moderation. You can use it as a dressing on salads or vegetable dishes or while cooking chicken or fish on the grill.
8. Don’t Drink Soda Or Sweetened Drinks
Soda and sweetened drinks contain lots of sugar that increases your cholesterol levels and leads to obesity and diabetes. Instead of them, try drinking water or unsweetened tea. The best drinks for lowering cholesterol are green tea, oolong tea, black tea, or Pu-erh tea. All these suppress the amount of bad cholesterol in your body while improving the level of the good one. Just don’t add sugar to them to get the best results.
In order to lower cholesterol levels and improve your health, you must change your lifestyle. The best things you can do to stay healthier are eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, using olive oil instead of butter, eating fiber-rich foods, and drinking lots of water. However, sometimes, a doctor’s advice may be necessary, so don’t hesitate to consult a professional.
We hope that this article has given you some insight into improving your cholesterol levels. Remember that leading a healthy lifestyle is a key to staying well and happy – and we wish you just that.