It’s also important to recognize that not all cholesterol is bad. There are good types of cholesterol and bad types of cholesterol. Looks take a look at both types of cholesterol and how you can keep both under control for a healthier lifestyle.
Good Cholesterol is HDL (high-density lipoprotein.) HDL actually removes any unneeded cholesterol in your body. When you look at your overall cholesterol levels, HDL will be one of the numbers measured. For women a healthy HDL level is 40-60 mg.
When you hear someone refer to bad cholesterol they are talking about LDL (low-density lipoprotein.) LDL is made up of fat and can leave fatty deposits in your arteries causing forms of heart disease.
Luckily LDL can be controlled by diet, exercise, and if needed, medication.
Now that we have your good and bad cholesterol level explained let’s look at the three most common ways you can maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
The number one culprit for unhealthy cholesterol levels is your diet.
Bad cholesterol is found in foods that are rich with saturated and trans fat. By limiting the intake of these foods you’ll limit your intake of bad cholesterol.
LDL is found foods like these:
- Fatty Meats
- Dairy Products
- Fast Food
- Egg Yolks
Look at the saturated and trans fat content of the foods you’re eating and slowly decrease the amount you consume. Cutting the bad fats from your diet will decrease your bad cholesterol levels.
Some heart healthy foods you can incorporate into your diet are oatmeal, salmon, avocado, nuts, nut butters, and olive oil.
Incorporate an Exercise Plan Into Your Routine
Exercising can help lower your cholesterol in two ways: first losing weight (if needed) will help lower LDL cholesterol levels. Secondly the enzymes you produce by practicing moderately intense exercise will increase your good cholesterol levels.
Experts recommend that you find a moderately intense exercise like walking, jogging, swimming, or riding a bike that you can partake in for 10-20 minute bursts. It’s recommended to get a total of 30 minutes of this exercise per day or 60 minutes of moderately intense exercise if you’re trying to lose weight.
If you don’t currently have an exercise routine, start small. Try to incorporate 30 minutes of exercise into your day three times per week. Remember, it’s okay to exercise in small ten minute bursts. Gradually try to increase the number of time you exercise per week. You’ll be more likely to stick to a new exercise routine by going slow and steady.
Use Medication if Needed
If you are unable to naturally lower your cholesterol levels then medication may be needed.
If you think your cholesterol levels are at unhealthy levels you should consult with a doctor before changing your diet or exercise plan. A doctor will help you come up with a plan to get your cholesterol levels under control and will be able to prescribe medication if needed.