People with high cholesterol are at risk for heart disease. As we age, changes in our bodies occur that we can’t necessarily control. The good news is, however, that there are things that are well within our power to not only control, but possibly reverse. If you are dealing with high cholesterol, there are steps you can take to manage and even lower it.
1. Lose Weight
You don’t have to drop dozens of pounds to have an effect on your cholesterol. Even losing 10 pounds will cut your LDL (“bad cholesterol”) as much as 8 percent. Medical professionals say that if you want the most bang for your buck, you should aim to lose no more than two pounds per week. Dramatic weight loss can make you feel and look better, but it frequently doesn’t last. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, do it slowly.
As we age, exercise can become more difficult. We may find it hard to move like we used to. Exercising is simply a must, provided it is safe for you to do so. The more you move, the less it will hurt. Slowly build up your tolerance to exercise in order to stick with your new plan. Experts say that even 10 minutes of movement a day is beneficial. As you are building yourself up to longer stretches of exercise, make it a goal to be able to move for 20 to 30 minutes at a time without stopping. Consider exercises like swimming, which work out the whole body without much impact on the joints.
3. Eat Your Fiber
Soluble fiber doesn’t only lower your cholesterol, it stops your body from absorbing it. Foods like oatmeal and apples contain a fair amount of fiber. Eating a daily dose of fiber not only helps you lower your LDL but fills you up, making dieting just a bit easier. Try to eat 5 to 10 grams of fiber each day.
4. Fish Is Your Friend
If you love your red meat, replace two to three meals per week with fish. Fish is heart-healthy and by replacing red meat in your diet, you are automatically lowering your intake of saturated fats. Looking for the right fish to add to your diet? Wild caught salmon, bluefin tuna and sardines are your best options.
5. Olive Oil
If you love to cook, try replacing your butter with olive oil. You can reduce your LDL by as much as 15 percent. The fats in olive oil are considered “good,” meaning they benefit your heart’s health. Look for extra-virgin olive oil, which contains more antioxidants.
6. Eat Nuts
If you’re looking for a healthy snack, nuts are the best choice. They are high in calories, so limit yourself to no more than a handful (if that). Nuts contain sterols, which help your body not absorb cholesterol.
7. Calm Down
Don’t you hate it when people tell you to calm down? If you are a type A or just naturally stressed out, you might want to take that advice. Cholesterol climbs higher when we are under stress. That means that one of the easiest things you can do for yourself is to relax.
8. Add a Dash of Spice
There are a variety of spices you can add to everyday foods that will help lower your cholesterol. Black pepper, garlic, cinnamon and ginger are just some of the spices you can start adding to your daily diet. People don’t always know this, but here is an added bonus: Adding spice to your food can help reduce your appetite, helping you eat less.
9. Laugh, Laugh, Laugh
It’s a true story, even if it’s an old one: Laughter is the best medicine. Laughing naturally increases HDL (“good cholesterol”). If you aren’t giggling enough, it’s time to start. Rent a funny movie, watch goofy videos online or sign up for a joke-a-day emails. No matter what you need to do to make it happen, bring more laughter into your life.
Again, there are things that happen to us as we age that we have very little control over. It only makes sense, then, to work on the things we do have control over, like our cholesterol. Use the tips above to lower your “bad” cholesterol naturally.
For more information about active adult living in Decatur, reach out to our friendly team. We are happy to provide you with the information you are looking for. If you want to enjoy your life on your own terms and by your own definition, we can help. Call us today and learn how to be who you are and do what your love in the new Holbrook communities.