High cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Medications can help improve your cholesterol. But if you would like to make a lifestyle change to improve your cholesterol, try these five healthy changes, and for 30 days just try it.
If you are already on medication, these changes can improve their cholesterol-lowering effect.
Eat a healthy diet
A few changes in your diet can lower cholesterol and improve your heart health:
Reduce saturated fat
Satisfying fats, found mainly in red meat and dairy products, increase your total cholesterol. Reducing the use of saturated fats can lower your low cholesterol (LDL) – “bad” cholesterol.
Remove trans fats
Trans fats, sometimes labeled on food labels as “hydrogenated vegetable oils,” are commonly used in margarine and store-bought cookies, crackers, and cakes. Trans fats increase overall cholesterol levels.
Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids do not affect LDL cholesterol. But they do have other health benefits, including lowering blood pressure. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
Increase soluble fiber
Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol in your blood. Soluble fiber is found in foods such as oatmeal, kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples, and pears.
Add whey protein
Whey protein, found in dairy products, may address many of the health benefits of milk. Studies have shown that whey protein supplied as a supplement lowers LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol and blood pressure.
Exercise several days a week and increase your physical activity
Exercise can improve cholesterol. Moderate exercise can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, good “cholesterol”. According to your doctor, do at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week or aerobic exercise 20 minutes three times a week.
Adding exercise, or shorter intervals several times a day, can help you to start losing weight. Consider the following:
- Walking vigorously every day during your daytime
- Riding your bike to work
- Playing your favorite game
To stay motivated, consider finding an exercise partner or joining an exercise group.
Quitting smoking improves your HDL cholesterol level. Benefits immediately:
- Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate can be restored from the effects of smoking
- Within three months of quitting, your blood pressure and lung function begin to improve
- Within a year of quitting, the risk of heart disease became part of the smoker
Carrying even a few pounds is freezing at high cholesterol. Minor changes add up. If you drink sugary drinks, switch to tap water. Sprinkle with air-dried popcorn or pretzels – but follow the calories. If you crave something delicious, try sherbet or candies with a little oil or not, like jelly beans.
Look for ways to put more work into your daily routine, such as using stairs instead of taking the elevator or parking lot away from your office. Take a walk during a break at work. Try expanding your activities, such as cooking or doing yard work.
Drink only moderate amounts of alcohol
Moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to high levels of HDL cholesterol – but the benefits are not strong enough to recommend alcohol to anyone who has stopped drinking.
If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means you drink one drink a day for women of all ages and men over the age of 65, and up to two drinks a day for men aged 65 and under.
Excessive drinking can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure, and strokes.
Does drinking more water reduce cholesterol?
Moreover, plenty of water can improve your metabolic rate, which may help you lose weight. Cholesterol is not water-soluble. But, the more hydrated you are, the better your body functions to bring HDL, the “good” cholesterol, to clear from blood vessels.
Can you lower your cholesterol in 3 weeks?
The right healthy lifestyle, in and of itself, can produce dramatic reductions in cholesterol, and in just two to three weeks. One such lifestyle is the Pritikin Program of diet and exercise.