When most people think about getting healthy, they dream about dropping a pant size or two or sculpting bodies that they wouldn’t be ashamed to strut across the beach in a bikini or skimpy set of trunks.
Not all regarding getting healthy is about looking good, however. Though your cholesterol level may not be something that directly impacts the way you look, keeping this component in balance is vital to your overall health. High cholesterol puts you at an increased risk of heart disease and heart attack, so failure to attend to this critical level can have serious consequences.
If you’ve been advised that your cholesterol has crept up, take some simple steps to drop this level. In doing so, you may even reap some of the visible benefits of good health as well as many of these steps may result in some pound shedding as well.
Step 1 – Exercise
Regardless of how physically fit you are or aren’t, exercising is important. Exercising daily – or as close to daily as you can manage – can help raise your good cholesterol. Any exercise will provide benefits, so don’t shy away from this step even if you aren’t a fan of strenuous and sweaty exertion. Remember, however, that a Netflix marathon does not count as cardio.
Step 2 – Eliminate Trans Fats
Just like that angry spirit in a spooky and worn down house that lurks the hallways and causes problems but isn’t visible to the naked eye, trans fats are not your friend. Trans fats are artificial and build up in your system, causing serious problems in the long run. Remove these problem causers from your diet all together and your cholesterol will drop.
Step 3 – Favor Plant-Based Edibles
It’s not really a surprise that fruits and vegetables are good for you. These plant-based foods provide lots of nutrients with very little fat and few calories, making them something you can fill up on without undoing your whole day. They are also rich in many antioxidants, providing bonus cancer-prevention benefits. While you don’t have to go vegetarian or vegan, eating as many fruits and veggies as you can stomach is an easy way to make those cholesterol levels dip.
Step 4 – Go For Whole Grains
Whole grains are rich in fiber, which is a natural anticoagulant and appetite suppressant. Eating whole grains instead of more processed grain options is good for you all around, and it can help you lower your cholesterol levels. While adding whole grains may feel like a big adjustment, just making minor changes can get the job done. Start opting for brown rice instead of white, for example. Or swap your sugary morning cereal for oatmeal. Your body will thank you for it.
Step 5 – Snack On Cheese
Wait, you’re saying that if I eat creamy and delicious cheese my cholesterol level will drop? Yes. That is exactly what I’m saying. Obviously you shouldn’t adopt a cheese only diet, but you shouldn’t eliminate this staple from your diet in favor of low-calorie diet maintenance either. A Danish research study found that men who eat cheese regularly had lower cholesterol levels than those who skipped the wedges, so don’t shy away from this food.
Step 6 – Sip Some Black Tea
For a seemingly simple beverage, black tea offers oodles of benefits a study published in the “Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics” found that consuming five cups of black tea daily resulted in a decline in bad cholesterol levels. While this may seem like an aggressive amount of tea, consider how much coffee you sip. If you replaced these cups with this alternate caffeinated beverage you could more easily reach this lofty consumption goal.
Step 7 – Add A Supplement
If you’ve been working your buns off trying to get your cholesterol to drop and it’s still not happening, you do have one more option before you explore more invasive and artificial medical interventions – supplements. Try Pycnogenol, recommends Fred Pescatore, MD who practices integrative medicine in New York City. Like fruits and veggies, this supplement also provides antioxidants, so it may provide more than just cholesterol lowering benefits.