High cholesterol levels can be combated in a number of ways, without having to go on medication. Always consult with your doctor before making these changes and they’ll guide you in the right direction. Let’s look at how to lower cholesterol by changing your lifestyle with these top five tips.
1 – Healthy diet
The number one way to lower cholesterol levels is by altering your diet, especially if you eat foods high in saturated fat and sugar. Go for healthier and lower fat options, rather than the saturated type you find in fatty foods like sausages, bacon and the like. Choose leaner cuts of meat and that’ll knock down the fat content drastically. Start to increase the amount of Omega 3 in your diet for improved heart health and that will also help lower your bad cholesterol levels. Fresh oily fish like mackerel, seeds and nuts are great sources and should be on your shopping list. Increasing the amount of fibre can really help too, so up the amount of fresh fruit and veg you eat – all different types and colours.
2 – Become more active
A sedentary lifestyle combined with a poor diet can be a ticket to high cholesterol levels. You can combat this by making sure you up your physical activity levels and try to do something every day. That doesn’t mean going from doing nothing to running marathons straight away; just start by walking and then build up. Ideally you’ll do 30 minutes a day to begin with and that could be going for a walk, riding your bike to work or taking part in sport. It’s all about taking those first steps, and once you get going you’ll be able to do more and more. Very quickly you’ll feel a whole lot better, it’ll become part of your routine and your cholesterol levels should come down as long as you’ve tweaked your diet as well.
3 – Lose weight
Losing between five and ten per cent of your body weight can really help lower cholesterol levels, so if you’ve got pounds that need shifting this is a great motivation. We’ve talked about changing your diet and upping your exercise, both of which will definitely help you lose weight, and it’s all about setting goals that you can stick to. Plan to make small tweaks at first and gradually build up. It could be swapping that bacon sandwich for a high fibre cereal, or walking to the shop rather than driving. Small steps soon become big steps and if you make constant strides you’ll quickly overhaul an unhealthy lifestyle.
4 – Drink alcohol in moderation
A glass of red wine a day is not going to do much harm to the average person, but heavy drinking brings with it a raft of health problems. These include an increased risk of stroke, heart disease and high blood pressure, so as part of a lower cholesterol lifestyle it’s imperative to drink in moderation.
5 – Stop smoking
This obviously may not affect everyone, but if are a smoker, ditching the cigarettes is one of the smartest things you can do. Lower risk of heart disease, lower heart rate and decreased blood pressure should all follow, along with a lower cholesterol level.
Now you know how to lower cholesterol, follow these tips and you’ll soon be on the right path.