High cholesterol is no joking matter, but it can be frustrating and challenging to determine the best way to achieve a healthier cholesterol level. Considering that more than 100 million Americans suffer from high cholesterol, understanding and pursuing an effective plan of action is critical. We recommend speaking with your local Bradenton cardiologist to explain your options and path forward.
A Brief Introduction to Cholesterol
We have all heard of cholesterol, but few people can actually explain exactly what it is and how it functions. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your liver produces and circulates through the blood. However, cholesterol can also be found in many foods like animal meat and dairy, and these dietary cholesterol sources cause the liver to produce even more cholesterol.
This is a bad combination, because too much cholesterol starts forming plaque—just like the type your dentist scrapes off of your teeth—in the artery wall. The more cholesterol sitting in your arteries, the harder it is for blood to pass through. When blood flow becomes severely restricted or blocked, strokes, heart attacks, and other tragic conditions occur.
The Best Ways to Control Cholesterol
Contrary to popular opinion, maintaining a healthy cholesterol level isn’t too difficult once you commit to smarter eating and exercising habits. There are many strategies to keep cholesterol down without relying upon medication with dangerous side effects.
First, stop eating trans fat. All other types of fat have their benefits, especially mono- and polyunsaturated, but trans fat should be avoided at all costs since it has been found to significantly raise cholesterol levels. Try eating less cholesterol overall by cutting out milk, cheese, and high-cholesterol meats, then replace those with foods known to battle unwanted cholesterol like oatmeal, apples, beans, salmon, nuts, olive oil. For many people, simply removing high-cholesterol foods doesn’t do enough; you need to feed your body cholesterol-fighting nutrients as well.
Next, try to add more movement into your daily routine. That doesn’t mean you need to hit the treadmill, but aim for 20 or 30 minutes of movement every day, whether it is walking around the block, browsing shoes at the mall, gardening, or using a stationary bike.
Lastly, stock up on omega-3 supplements. If the concept of a “fish oil” makes you wrinkle your nose, don’t worry; you can actually buy fish oil supplements in smoothie consistency that legitimately taste like dessert. Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acid is an excellent final way to push your body to beat high cholesterol.
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