Cholesterol is a silent killer. It creeps up on individuals, creating no symptoms and showing no signs. Inside the human body, however, the substance grows.
In the United States, about 38% of adults suffer from high cholesterol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cholesterol, in normal quantities, is needed to stay healthy. Problems arise when individuals consume too much dietary cholesterol from fatty foods, increasing their likelihood of developing heart disease and high blood pressure.
Blood cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like compound that lines arteries and helps the body make hormones and digest foods. In reality, your body makes all the blood cholesterol it needs!
Dietary cholesterol is the real problem, according to the CDC. This type of cholesterol is found in meat, seafood, eggs and dairy. When individuals consume too much dietary cholesterol, arteries can begin to narrow, blowing the flow of blood.
Below are a few tips on how to regulate your cholesterol to prevent developing cardiovascular diseases.
- Eat Less Saturated Fats
Because the human body produces all the cholesterol it needs, individuals should limit the amount of dietary cholesterol they consume.
To do so, the CDC recommends people eat foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, sodium and added sugar. This includes lean meats, fat-free dairy products, whole grains and vegetables.
Food with unsaturated fats, like avocados and nuts, help manage high levels of bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol levels, too. Overall, vary your diet and try to eat mindfully.
Don’t be ashamed to read the back of a box — it’ll help you in the long run.
2. Get Active
Taking time to workout lowers an individual’s cholesterol and blood pressure, according to the CDC. Not only does it feel good to workout, but it helps your cardiovascular system remain healthy.
Adults should bike or run for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week. Children and adolescents should exercise for at least one hour each day, the CDC recommends. If you can’t find time to incorporate a workout, try to use the stairs instead of the elevator.
Little decisions could mean more physical activity!
3. Drink Less Alcohol
Alcohol raises cholesterol levels and triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood, according to the CDC. As a result, drinking too much alcohol can negatively affect your heart’s health and increase your risk of heart disease.
The CDC recommends drinking no more than two drinks each day as a male and no more than one drink as a female.
4. See A Doctor
Individuals with high cholesterol don’t always experience symptoms. For that reason, it’s important to check in with a doctor to track your cholesterol levels.
Overall, it’s important to take the time to schedule an annual doctor’s appointment and to take care of yourself.
5. Take Your Medication
If you already have high cholesterol, your doctor might have prescribed you medication. If so, taking it as prescribed is an extremely important step to lowering your cholesterol.
According to the CDC, different high-cholesterol medications improve levels through removing cholesterol from the blood or lowering triglycerides.