Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is vital for your wellbeing and for disease prevention. Having high cholesterol puts us at an increased risk of getting cardiovascular disease, strokes and many other health issues.
Keep reading for my top tips!
1. Find out what your cholesterol is
The first place to start is to chat with your doctor and ask for a cholesterol test. If you have diabetes, cholesterol should be checked at least twice a year alongside your HbA1c.
It really is important to keep track of your cholesterol results as well as your HbA1c as high cholesterol can have the same long-term consequences as high glucose.
When cholesterol is high, it can damage the lining of blood vessels leading plaque build up.
This also allows you to set goals with your doctor to better your health.
These are the following cholesterol blood test goals:
- Total cholesterol: Under 5mmol/L
- High-density lipids (HDL): below 4 mmol/L
- Low-density lipids (LDL): Below 3mmol/L
- Serum triglycerides: below 2.3 mmol/L
2. Limit processed foods
Firstly it is really important to understand that there are different types of fat, some of which are not great for your health, and others that are fundamental for your body and health.
Processed foods tend to be packed with what people call ‘bad fats’. This is known as saturated fat and trans fats. Essentially, you want to consuming as little of these fat types as possible.
This is because ‘bad fats’ cause the health problems associated with having high cholesterol.
The best way to avoid processed foods is to make your meals and snacks from scratch. Also think about limiting red meat sources as they are high in saturated fats.
I also want to make it clear that consuming what many call ‘bad fats’ occasionally is absolutely fine. Please remember that every food group has a place in the diet, it is just about making food that promotes health the bulk of your diet.
3. Increase ‘good fats’
‘Good fats’ are vital for health because they help to lower ‘bad fats’ in the blood. Good fats are known as HDL and bad as LDL.
Include some of the following in your daily diet:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Nuts and seeds (walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds etc)
- Oily fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna etc)
- Dark chocolate
Please do not be afraid to include the above foods in your diet! I have personally increased the amount of oily fish in my diet and I have seen many benefits. Food is your friend, never the enemy!
4. Support your liver
The liver is actually the main organ that controls the amount of cholesterol in the blood. HDL’s are released from the liver when LDL’s are too high in the blood. HDL’s then attach to LDL’s and move them back into storage in the liver.
This process is absolutely vital, but can become compromised when the liver is under pressure.
To support your liver try to do the following:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Eat the rainbow
- Eat sour foods (lemon juice, rocket, artichoke, watercress etc)
- Don’t smoke
5. Live an active life
Having an increased body weight and sedentary lifestyle puts us at a higher risk of having elevated cholesterol.
Therefore, it is vital to make movement and exercise a part of your daily routine.
Try to complete at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, but try to do more! If you only have time to do 20-30 minutes, opt for high intensity types to get more out of the time.
Most importantly, choose exercise you enjoy because this makes it easier to stick to a routine long-term!
Thank you so much for reading how to lower you cholesterol! I hope you found this post useful and you learnt something new today! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!