According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six Americans suffer from high cholesterol. This disease can affect any age group or gender and can dramatically increase the risk of heart problems. But don't worry, it's not all bad news; there are several efficient ways to be smart about your cholesterol levels. The following are a few simple strategies from our experts at EIRMC that can help reduce your cholesterol right away.
Fiber and Fish
Soluble fiber (found in oats, rye, beans, peas and apples) is not only low in saturated fat and calories, but also works like a sponge in your digestive tract to absorb cholesterol. This healthy fiber is easy to incorporate into your diet. Have a cup of oatmeal for breakfast, grab some carrot sticks for a snack and have fresh fruit for a dessert.
And while you should avoid foods like egg yolks, fatty meats and full-fat dairy products, you should incorporate fish into your diet. Fish that are high in omega 3's, such as Salmon, Sardines, Albacore tuna and Halibut, are especially good for you. Instead of pan-frying this healthy meat, try broiling, baking or grilling to avoid cooking in unhealthy fats.
We hear it a lot, but exercising can work wonders. Whether you're overweight or not, research shows exercise can reduce cholesterol. We don't mean high-intensity workouts either. Walking and other moderate physical activities are great for your heart. You can raise your heart rate for an extended period of time by doing simple activities, such as marching in place while watching TV, shoveling the snow, scrubbing the floors, dusting or vacuuming.
Lose the Extra Pounds
Carrying some extra pounds even just a few can contribute to having high cholesterol. In fact, shedding just 5 to 10 pounds may be enough to improve your cholesterol levels. A slow but steady loss of 1/2 to 1 pound a week is healthiest and easiest to maintain.
Try not to eat mindlessly. Go on a walk if you feel like munching, pack a healthy lunch instead of eating out, and take time to enjoy your food.
Getting your cholesterol levels checked on a regular basis is essential to your long-term good health. If you are in need of a cholesterol test please call (208) 227-2777 to find a physician.