Lowering Cholesterol With Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes
High cholesterol is something that can affect anyone.Even those who appear physically to be healthy can have high cholesterol caused by a poor diet, genetics or poor lifestyle habits.Since cholesterol is affected by diet, exercise and genetics, it's important to address each of these factors when looking to lower cholesterol.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that the liver makes and it occurs naturally in the body and in the foods we eat.We need cholesterol.Too much cholesterol can build up in our systems and have adverse health effects like heart disease, clogged and brittle arteries, and stroke.In our bodies we have both good and bad cholesterol.
Good cholesterol, also called HDL which stands for high density lipoprotein, works to remove the bad cholesterol from your blood and prevents it from building up in the heart.Bad cholesterol is also called LDL for low density lipoprotein, and is what builds up in your body and causes heart disease.
What are Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes?
Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, or TLC, are recommended by the National Cholesterol Education Program of the U.S. National Institutes of Health and include diet, exercise and weight loss.Below each one will be addressed, along with some other changes you can make to improve cholesterol levels.
By simply adjusting the foods you eat you can work to effectively lower bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.Reduce the amount of saturated fat, usually from animal products like meat, cheese and milk, by eating lean means, and low fat dairy products.Even better, eat fish, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids and shown to reduce cholesterol levels, twice a week.Instead of cheese on a salad, try toasted nuts, which also have omega-3 fats.Eating more fruits and vegetables of course is always a good idea.
Exercise is good for so many reasons.Regular exercise will improve your energy levels, help you lose weight and maintain an active lifestyle.Diet alone may not be enough to reduce cholesterol, so exercise is recommended in addition.Active people are much, much less likely to have any sort of heart disease than sedentary people.
An excess of weight can increase your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.Even losing five to ten pounds can be very effective, especially when done in addition to a balanced diet and regular exercise.If you are of a healthy weight and have high cholesterol, tailor your exercise routine so that fitness is your goal, not weight loss.
Other Ways to Change your Lifestyle
- Stop Smoking.Not only is smoking terrible for your body, but it's been shown to decrease levels of good cholesterol and may help bad cholesterol coat your arteries.
- Reduce Stress.Short and long term stress causes reactions in the body like headache, back pain, tension and sleeping difficulties.Long term stress can weaken the immune system and cause you to get sick more often.
- Sleep.Sleeping is beneficial for so many reasons, but a good night of sleep will reduce tension and help you focus during the day.With more energy from rest, your diet and exercise routine will be easier.
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