Having high cholesterol has become an epidemic among Americans. High cholesterol is pretty hard to avoid considering most of our food choices. Choosing to eat the right foods is the most important element in lowering your cholesterol. In order to know what foods you should be eating, you must first understand the difference between good and bad cholesterol. There are many other lifestyle changes that can also help to lower one’s cholesterol. In this article I will highlight some of the best things you can do to lower your cholesterol.
Eat the Right Foods: A lot of people don’t realize that cholesterol is produced by animals. Since humans are animals, even if we don’t consume any cholesterol, our bodies will still produce it. Eating a diet similar to a vegan diet will greatly lower your cholesterol. The less animal products you eat, the lower your cholesterol will be. You should also understand the difference between good and bad cholesterol. HDL (high density) cholesterol is good cholesterol, while LDL (low density) is bad cholesterol. Foods, like whole milk, red meat, and butter (which contain cholesterol) are considered bad because they will raise your LDL levels. Foods, like peanut butter, olive oil, and avocado (which are high in fat but contain no cholesterol) are considered good because they will raise your HDL levels, and lower you LDL levels.
Quit Smoking Cigarettes: Smoking cigarettes has been discovered to lower HDL levels (good cholesterol). Not to mention, it also increases your risk for heart disease, a side effect from having high cholesterol. It only takes a few weeks after you’ve quit smoking for you HDL levels to rise to a healthy amount. If you’re a smoker with high cholesterol, you should definitely consider quitting.
Exercise: Research suggests that regular exercise for both men and women increases HDL levels. Aside from that, exercise will improve the health of your heat and lungs, and lower your body fat percentage; thus, counteracting many of the negative side effects associated with having high cholesterol.
Odds are, if you have high cholesterol, you’re guilty of doing, or not doing (exercise), one of the three things listed above, if not all of the above. High cholesterol is a very serious risk to your health and should not be taken lightly. I would strongly suggest making one of the aforementioned lifestyle changes if you know or suspect that you have high cholesterol. You may also want to consider consulting a physician about taking prescription cholesterol medication.