A few simple lifestyle changes can help lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk for heart disease. Here’s a few quick tips you can easily integrate:
1. Don’t Smoke/Quit smoking. Smoking injures blood vessels and speeds up the hardening of the arteries. Smoking greatly increases a person’s risk for heart disease and stroke. If you do smoke, quitting can help raise your HDL ‘good’ cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
2. Exercise. Regular physical activity raises ’good’ HDL cholesterol and lowers ’bad’ LDL cholesterol. Even moderate-intensity activities, if done daily, can help control weight, diabetes, and high blood pressure – all risk factors for heart disease.
3. Maintain a healthy weight. Losing those extra 2.5 to 5kgs can lower your LDL and total cholesterol levels, as well as increase your HDL cholesterol.
4. Eat healthy foods. A healthy diet can help keep blood cholesterol levels down. Avoid saturated fat, trans fats, and foods high cholesterol content. Other types of fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, can actually lower blood cholesterol levels. Eating fibre can also help lower cholesterol.
5. Choose low-cholesterol foods. TheAustralian Heart Association recommends that you limit your average daily cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams. You can significantly lower your dietary cholesterol intake by keeping your daily intake of saturated fats low, and avoiding foods that are high in saturated fats and that contain substantial amounts of dietary cholesterol.
6. Get a blood test. High cholesterol usually has no signs or symptoms, only a doctor’s check will reveal it.