High cholesterol is a hidden disease that affects more than 73.5 million adults in the US alone. This condition can clog the arteries and cause strokes. But the good news is that there are a variety of ways to lower the LDL levels and decrease the risk of heart attacks. Here are some simple and effective ways to reduce your bad cholesterol levels.
Increase Your Physical Activity By Exercising 5 Times A Week
Physical workouts can improve cholesterol and raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels. Most doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day for up to 5 times a week. You can consider taking a brisk walk to the park or riding a bicycle to work. Swimming is another highly effective exercise for lowering cholesterol. To keep yourself motivated, join an exercise group or ask one of your friends to go jogging with you.
Lose The Excess Weight
Losing those extra pounds will not only improve your cholesterol levels, but it will also help prevent diabetes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, gout, and cancer. To do this successfully, you must limit your fat intake and consume healthy fats such as oily fish and olive oil. Although losing weight doesn't mean you have to deprive yourself of your favorite foods, it is still advisable to control your portions and enjoy those forbidden snacks only once in a while.
Eat Healthy Foods
Even if you’ve never had a healthy lifestyle, by making a few changes to your diet you can reduce your high cholesterol levels and improve your health. Dairy products and red meat are high in trans- fats so as a rule, you should only consume less than 7 percent of your daily calories from such foods. Opt for low-fat cheese and milk, leaner cuts of meat, and healthier oils such as avocado or canola oil.
Count Your Calories
Tracking your calories is much easier to do these days thanks to the various useful smartphone apps out there. If you're looking to drop some fat, eating below your daily energy requirements is the only way to achieve it. Once you have lost the excess pounds, you must then maintain your weight by counting the calories every day and keeping an eye on your food intake.
If your cholesterol levels still haven't improved even after a healthy diet and exercise regimen, your doctor may prescribe statins to help control your levels. This medication is known to lower bad cholesterol by up to 50 percent and, nowadays, most doctors call it a wonder drug because of the positive results it has shown. However, if you're afraid of the side-effects you may experience, you can always opt for Niacin, which is a B vitamin that lowers both triglycerides and LDL levels. This alternative medication comes in the form of tablets and is to be taken 2 or 3 times a day.
If you suffer from high cholesterol, you should first talk to your doctor before deciding on a lifestyle change. Your GP will advise you on whether you will be required to take prescribed medication depending on your cholesterol test results. Some chemists sell low-dose cholesterol drugs that don't require a prescription. However, they are not a good substitute for being physically active and living a healthy lifestyle. To further improve your cholesterol levels, quit smoking immediately and only drink alcohol in moderation.