One of the main health concerns that arise among people of all ages, ethnic groups, economic status and gender is the danger of high cholesterol. While many people turn to drugs and surgery to help keep their cholesterol in check there could be a better, healthier way. You may be able to effectively control your cholesterol naturally and bypass the typical prescription medications. Here are eight things you can start doing right now that can help you control your cholesterol.
Eat Less Meat. You do not have to give up meat entirely but you do need to minimize your serving sizes and learn to enjoy meatless meals a few times a week. Instead of having meat as an entree’ think of meat as merely a side dish. Avoid the more fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb. Trim off the fat and remove fatty skin when possible. Select lean choices of meats including chicken and fish. It also helps to bake or broil meat in light olive oil and stay away from fried meat.
Be Careful of Snacking. Choose low-fat snacks to avoid this common but often overlooked pitfall. Many people end up sabotaging their healthy diets at the office vending machine each day. Avoid the temptation of the vending machine by preparing healthy snacks at home to carry with you to work. Apples, bananas, almonds and walnuts make excellent snack choices to eat between meals and while on the job. Avoid picking up unhealthy supermarket snacks while shopping, especially baked desserts from the deli. Instead stick to fruits, nuts, whole grain crackers and granola. These are great snack choices to help control your cholesterol.
Increase Omega Intake. Certain fish contain high levels of the essential fatty acids that the body needs to function properly. These fatty acids are known as omega-3s and omega-6s. The human body cannot make these, so they have to come from the foods we eat or supplements. Fish is one of the best sources of omega fatty acids which are beneficial to control your cholesterol.
Have a Night Cap. While drinking alcohol heavily will negatively affect your health and waist line, research has indicated that small amounts of alcoholic beverages such as red wine can reduce the risk of heart disease. Thus, enjoying an occasional night cap could help lower your cholesterol and help you get a good night’s sleep.
Read Food Labels. You can help keep your cholesterol levels in line by always reading food labels while grocery shopping.Watch out for ingredients high in fat and sugars such as corn syrup, butter, milk, egg yolk, lard, oils, and creams. These products will negatively affect your health by increasing your cholesterol levels. Add healthy alternatives to your grocery list. Choose olive oil instead of butter. Replace cow’s milk with almond milk. Subsitute apple sauce for oil in baked dessert recipes. You really won’t taste a difference and the benefits to your health will be tremendous.
Stay Physically Active. Even moderate amounts of exercise can help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol levels within a few weeks. Many professionals recommend 30 minutes of mild to moderate exercise each day or at least 10,000 steps to remain fit and help control your cholesterol levels. If you are short of time for exercise or if you work a desk job find ways to exercise at work. Get up and walk around the office for a few minutes every hour. Instead of emailing the colleague down the hall get up and walk to her office. Use the last 15 minutes of your lunch break to go for a short walk. When you arrive at work each morning park farthest away from the building so you’ll have to take more steps to enter the building and to return to your car when your shift ends.
Drink Green Tea. Green tea is a great alternative to just about any beverage on the market. It is low in caffeine, low in calories, fat free and rich in antioxidants. It is one of the best drinks to help control your cholesterol. Green tea is thought to work as a natural flush to help cleanse the body and boost its ability to process the foods we eat. Countries where green tea is a common staple generally see less cholesterol issues and better overall health. Trading in your soda and coffee for green tea will definitely improve your heart health.
Get Soluble Fiber . Soluble fiber, like what is found in legumes, fruit and vegetables, can be very effective in lowering and keeping the cholesterol levels down. Most health professionals recommend that you include fiber rich foods in your daily diet to help control your cholesterol levels. Aim for 35 grams of fiber each day. Bran flakes, whole grains and fresh produce are the best sources.
Control Your Cholesterol Considerations. Have your cholesterol checked by a health professional a few times each year or more often if your last check was high. Talk to a licensed nutritionist to help you plan for a balanced, fiber-rich diet. Make exercise a normal part of your daily life. Do something physical everyday. Even something as simple as a 20-minute walk will make a difference.