Whilst I‘m not about to turn this into a health and fitness blog, and I’m certainly no health and fitness fanatic myself, there are some medical issues that affect all of us of a certain age, and one of those is high cholesterol. If you have spent a lifetime eating greasy breakfast’s, and fried food, then you could well be one of the millions that have high cholesterol, so here’s some information on cholesterol and what you can do to reduce it naturally and without drugs.
1. We need some cholesterol
We do actually need some cholesterol; it’s used by the body to form Vitamin D, cell membranes and hormones. The body makes its own cholesterol and we ingest it with our food. It’s when we get too much cholesterol that we get a problem, because it clogs up the arteries and it can cause high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
2. There are two main types of cholesterol
There are two main types of cholesterol. There is low density cholesterol (LDL), which is often referred to as the bad cholesterol, and then there is high density cholesterol, which is referred to as the good cholesterol. The bad stuff, LDL, creates more fat in the bloodstream, while the good stuff, HDL, helps to rid the body of the bad LDL cholesterol.
3. Lose some weight!
If you are carrying around a little middle aged spread, or you have a belly on you, then the chances are that you also have levels of the bad LDL cholesterol. Quite simply, people who are overweight, usually also have high levels of cholesterol in their blood, so lose a few pounds and you will lose some of that LDL.
4. Eat more fibre
Increasing the amount of fibre in your diet will help to reduce the cholesterol in your body and it will also help you to lose weight. Eat more vegetables, fruit and wholegrain foods and it will fill you up for less calories and it will help flush cholesterol out of your system.
5. Eat more fatty fish
Fatty fish, like salmon, pilchards and mackerel, contain plenty if the good cholesterol that help to reduce the bad cholesterol in your blood. Try to eat at least one meal a week that includes a portion of fatty fish, but not fish and chips from the chip shop, and the omega-3 fatty acids contained in the fish will help to clear out some of the bad cholesterol in your blood.
6. Replace the unhealthy fats with healthy ones
The unhealthy fats come from things like dairy products, fatty red meat, and fried food. Eat leaner cuts of meat, replace butter with soft margarine and use olive to cook with. It’s better too, not to eat pre-packed meals every day, because they are often loaded with bad fats to give them more flavour.
7. Eat more foods that contain Phytosterols
If you are wondering what the hell is a phytosterol is, it’s a compound that is found in some foods that binds to the bad cholesterol in your body and helps you get it rid of it. They are found in nuts, seeds and cold-pressed oils such as olive oil.
8. Avoid eating trans-fats
Trans-fats are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to increasing cholesterol levels. Trans-fats are an artificially hardened fat that is added to processed foods and takeaways in particular. Avoid greasy food when you eat out and look out for foods that contain hydrogenated vegetable oil, because that really means trans-fats. You will often find hydrogenated vegetable oil in things like cakes and biscuits.
9. Add more colour to your diet
The more colourful the fruit or vegetable, is the better for your health it will be. Colourful veggies and fruit, like berries and dark leafy vegetables, contain anti-oxidants that will help to stop the cholesterol in your body form oxidising, which is when it becomes more harmful. The more multi-coloured your plate of vegetables looks; the better it will be for your health.
10. Get more exercise
For most of us, a little bit more exercise wouldn’t go amiss either. Just thirty minutes a day of moderate exercise will reduce the bad cholesterol in your body. That only means a brisk walk around the block and you will be doing your heart and your cardiovascular system a hell of a lot of good.
High cholesterol is a serious issue in the UK and something like six out of ten people have elevated levels of cholesterol in their body. You can quite easily reduce your cholesterol levels, without having to take any medication. Leave the car at home more often and eat more fresh food. You don’t have to give up your Sunday morning fry-up altogether, though, just make sure you only eat it only on a Sunday.
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