Cholesterol is as mysterious as the weather. As soon as the medical world thinks that they have a handle on it, something unpredictable happens.
What many professionals have consensus on is that cholesterol is hereditary and genetics play a major role in whether you are in danger of high cholesterol or not. However, debating who is more likely to get high cholesterol is irrelevant. What matters is that when you know it is there, that you do something to lower it.
Adjust your diet
Before running to your doctor for a prescription that you will probably drink for the rest of your life, you should start by adjusting your diet. Although diets alone are not responsible for high cholesterol, following a healthy one can help lower it considerably.
Saturated fats and trans fats should be kept at an absolute minimum, while getting enough omega-3 fatty acids is advisable. Soluble fiber and whey protein are both great for lowering cholesterol because they reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Start getting more active
Exercise has a higher purpose than keeping you fit. Regular moderate exercise has been known to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol. That being said, for someone who is not a regular in the gym, this is a tall order.
The key is to realize that you need not train like an athlete. All you want to do is to maintain a decent level of fitness by going for a brisk walk for around 30 minutes, five times a week. If that is pushing it, then 20 minutes of hard cardio, three times a week, will also do.
Give up the smokes
There are a couple of logical lifestyle choices that you could make to lower your cholesterol. Quitting smoking is a no-brainer and deep down, every smoker knows that it is something that they should give up.
Upon quitting, your HDL levels already start to improve. Twenty minutes into quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure return to normal after the nicotine spike. Three months after quitting, your lungs and blood circulation improve dramatically and a year after quitting, your risk of heart disease is cut in half.
Focus on your weight
Cholesterol and being overweight goes hand in hand. The great news is that you do not need to go on strict diets and eating plans to lose those extra pounds.
Small changes to your diet that you can sustain like reducing and eventually replacing sodas for water, portion control and healthy alternatives, all add up. Before long, you will be able to notice the difference without noticing how you have altered your diet.
Be wise with your alcohol
When your cholesterol is high, it does not mean that you have to forego all the guilty pleasures in life.
A bit of wine or alcohol now and then is perfectly fine. Moderate alcohol use is linked to higher levels of HDL. All that you have to do is to keep your consumption to a minimum or use alcohol in moderation.