Reducing our cholesterol is something that is part of good heart health as we age. However, aside from taking medication prescribed by our physicians, many of us don’t know how to lower our bad cholesterol. We compiled a list of a few easy things that anyone can do to get their cholesterol numbers more in line with what our doctors prefer to see.
Increase Your Physical Activity to Lower Your Cholesterol
Exercising most days of the week and increasing your physical activity is a great and often underrated way to lower cholesterol.
When we exercise, it can help raise our high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, cholesterol. This is the “good” form of cholesterol that is often talked about.
Ideally, you will want to exercise for 30 minutes, five times a week, or perform vigorous exercise for 20 minutes, at least three times a week.
The reason that exercise helps our cholesterol is that when we increase our level of activity, our body can lose weight. When we lose weight, our cholesterol often changes. Even performing short intervals of exercise several times a day can help you to become more active and drop excess pounds.
Physical activity that can be done throughout the day includes:
Some find it helpful to join an exercise group or have an exercise buddy to help maintain consistency and keep you motivated.
Change Your Diet
This seems to be a no brainer, however, just telling someone to eat better doesn’t always translate to good advice. There are some foods that are better to eat than others when it comes to our cholesterol and others that should definitely be avoided.
Ideally, you will want to:
Don’t Binge Drink Alcohol
Alcoholic beverages are always best in moderation. Aside from the damage alcohol can do to our liver, it can affect our heart and cholesterol.
For healthy adults, moderate alcohol consumption means having one to two drinks a day for both men and women.
By now, everyone knows that smoking is just not good for us. However, if we are overweight and have high cholesterol, smoking can be even more dangerous for us.
Statistics show that within 20 minutes of quitting smoking, our blood pressure and heart rate recover to a normal, healthy range.
Within a year of quitting smoking, our risk of heart disease is cut in half of what it was previously. That is a big statement with substantial health benefits.
If you have tried each of these tips and still can’t get your bad cholesterol lower, you should talk to your doctor and see if a low dose medication would be beneficial. While the use of statins has come under criticism, not using a cholesterol-lowering medicine may have detrimental implications that far outweigh the risk.