Cholesterol plays an important role in maintaining good health. Produced in your liver, cholesterol is responsible for assisting in the production of hormones, and it also helps to keep the walls of your cells healthy and flexible.
In addition to your body’s production of cholesterol, you get cholesterol from the foods you eat. If you consume large quantities of it, the levels in your bloodstream will rise too high, which can be bad for your overall health.
Learn more about what you can do to protect yourself from the consequences of chronically high cholesterol with recommendations from the team at Qvita Health & Wellness.
What it means to have high cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol, a waxy substance that travels throughout your body on molecules known as lipoproteins.
High-density lipoproteins (HDL) is the “good” cholesterol, responsible for carrying excess cholesterol away from your blood vessels.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) is the “bad” cholesterol, which can build up in your blood vessels, eventually causing blockages that prevent normal blood flow. Long-term build-up of cholesterol can lead to serious health complications, including heart attacks, stroke, and even premature death.
Cholesterol levels are easily measured through blood work. While medications are available to disrupt your body’s own production of cholesterol, you can also successfully reduce your levels by making important lifestyle changes and focusing on adopting healthier eating habits.
Tips for combating high cholesterol
1.Include more fiber
Soluble fiber has an impact on the probiotic bacteria in your gut, the bacteria that help remove cholesterol from your body.
By including more lentils, whole grains, and beans into your daily diet, you can keep cholesterol levels under better control.
2. Stay away from trans fat
Start reading food labels and know what to avoid. Trans fats are a good example of what shouldn’t be a part of your diet. These are unsaturated fats that have been processed to stabilize ingredients in vegetable oils, margarines, and other processed foods.
Trans fats can increase bad cholesterol levels and your risk for chronic health issues, like heart disease. Focus on incorporating more fresh foods and less processed foods in your diet to avoid trans fats.
3. Get up and move
Regular exercises not only controls cholesterol levels, it can boost your overall health and make it easier to maintain an ideal weight.
Even low-impact activities like walking can naturally reduce bad cholesterol levels and improve the overall health of your heart. You should aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day to achieve maximum health benefits.
4. Focus on weight loss
If you’re carrying extra pounds due to a lack of exercise or poor eating habits, now is a good time to get focused on losing weight.
In addition to eating fresh, heart-healthy foods and getting more exercise, you should also work to cut out bad habits, like snacking between meals or dining out too frequently. Learning to cook healthy meals at home ensures you know exactly what you’re putting into your body and keeps you on track for losing weight.
5. Finally quit smoking
Smoking tobacco products has been shown to increase bad cholesterol while decreasing good cholesterol. Tobacco use actually interferes with the transport of excess cholesterol back to the liver for removal.
If you’ve tried to quit smoking without success, the Qvita Health & Wellness team can provide you with smoking cessation resources to help you stop for good.
6. Watch your alcohol intake
It’s important that you always use alcohol in moderation. Consuming 1-2 drinks of alcohol may improve good cholesterol levels, but more than that has the opposite effect.
Ethanol, an ingredient in alcoholic drinks, can actually increase levels of bad cholesterol, increasing your risk for heart disease. Excessive use of alcohol can also have a significant impact on your overall health and the function of your liver.
7. Schedule routine cholesterol screenings
Without cholesterol testing, there’s no way to know where your cholesterol levels stand. If you’ve struggled with high cholesterol in the past or have a family history of the condition, it’s important that you schedule routine blood work at Qvita Health & Wellness.
Cholesterol screenings ensure that early signs of high cholesterol can be addressed as quickly as possible, through lifestyle changes or necessary medications.
If you haven’t had your cholesterol checked recently, now’s the time to schedule an appointment. Book online or call Qvita Health & Wellness at 813-501-4130 today.