Lifestyle Habits & High Cholesterol: Top Tips To Change For The Better
Over 30 million Americans have dangerously high cholesterol . So why is this number so large when proper diet and exercise are often all that is needed to lower cholesterol? Well that answer is simple enough: Because eating junk food and being inactive and sedentary is so much easier than eating salads and exercising every day.The truth is, however, that most of us badly need to be eating better and exercising more. The dangers of high cholesterol are undeniable: the number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease, which is often caused by high cholesterol. So how do you make putting down the potato chips and picking up the jump rope a bit easier? By taking the advice of the following tips outlined in this article.
Around the Kitchen
- Limit Red Meat: Sometimes a steak just hits the spot, there's no doubt. But red meats tend to be higher in cholesterol and saturated fat. To get the protein of meat but avoid the excess fat, substitute white meats like skinless chicken and fish for beef.
- Watch the Milk and Cheese: Any animal product is sure to contain some fat, including milk and cheese. The saturated fat content of these foods can be detrimental to high cholesterol. Skim milk, and the cheeses made from it, is the best way to keep dairy in and saturated fat out.
This is usually the biggest source of trouble for those trying to watch their diet (for any reason, not just lowering cholesterol). Portion sizes are huge, the gravies and dressings taste so good (because they're full of sugar and fat), and the desserts are nearly impossible to decline. While you shouldn't completely deny yourself the treat of going eating out every once in a while, there are things you can do to stay on track for lowering your cholesterol:
- Plan Ahead: We tend to make bad dieting decisions when forced to make them quickly. If you can get a menu ahead of time (many restaurants list them online or can fax them at request), do it. This way you can survey your options and focus in on those that are less likely to sabotage your diet.
- Have It Your Way: Ask for the low-fat dressings, croutons on the side, or less salt. Most places are happy to accommodate personalized orders.
- Skip Dessert: Unless the restaurant you're visiting has a low-fat, low-carb alternative (like a bowl of fruit), don't bet on finding a cholesterol-friendly dessert. Most places go all-out on this part of the meal with the fattiest creams and most sugary sauces. You'd do better to save that sweet spot for a healthier dessert at home.
Sweat it Off
Getting that heart rate up at least 30 minutes every day is essential to keeping cholesterol low. If you're just getting started on an exercise routine, here are a few things you should consider:
- Start Small: If you're not used to exercising on a regular basis, going to gym every day can be hard routine to stick with. Try something simple at first, like going for a 30 minute walk 3 or 4 times a week.
- Do Something You Enjoy: Jogging can get pretty monotonous if you don't enjoy it. To prevent your work-out from seeming like torture, do activities you enjoy. You can swim, bike, or even play a sport. Anything to get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes each day will do the trick.