10 Simple steps to control your cholesterol
Remember, it’s the simple lifestyle changes you make and repeat on a daily basis that offer the best results. If you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol, don’t accept it, do something about it! Here are 10 high-impact ideas to get you on the road to lower cholesterol and a healthier heart. Pick one, get started and repeat!
- Read food labels for trans fats! Stay away from foods with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. (Warning: Trans fats raise your LDL cholesterol (that’s the “bad” one) and lower your HDL (the “good”) cholesterol.
- Choose heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats. For a snack, grab a small handful of peanuts instead of potato chips or snack mix.
- Eat omega-3 fatty acids! Include fatty fish like salmon or tuna two times per week. If you’re not a fan, include walnuts or ground flaxseeds as part of your meals and snacks. Mix walnuts in your oatmeal, sprinkle flaxseeds on your salad or mix in your yogurt.
- Watch high fat dairy products. To save on saturated fat, go for skim or 1% milk instead of 2% or whole. If you eat cheese, keep the portions small (1 ounce of hard cheese = 4 stacked dice).
- Forget fried! Replace fried chicken and other breaded and fried foods with grilled or baked ones. Don’t forget to remove the skins on meats!
- Eat an apple a day. Soluble fiber, found in oats, apples and beans, decreases cholesterol absorption.
- Go whole grain. Order your sandwich or wrap on whole grain bread or in a whole grain tortilla.
- Trade in your butter or margarine. Spreads like Benecol or Smart Balance contain phytosterols, groups of naturally occurring compounds found in plant cell membranes. They are similar in structure to your body’s cholesterol, so when eaten they compete with cholesterol for absorption in the digestive system. As you might have guessed, this action blocks cholesterol’s absorption and in return lowers your blood cholesterol levels!
- Eat breakfast every day…and make it oatmeal (for more soluble fiber!)
- Move your body! Start with just 15 minutes, three days each week and build from there.
You heard me! Pick one, get started and repeat!