Cholesterol and you
Important information on cholesterol and how to keep your levels in check
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in our bodies. It is produced by the liver and is also present in the food that we eat. Cholesterol is very important and is necessary for our bodies to function properly. However, if our bodies have too much cholesterol it can start to build up in our veins and arteries, causing plaque and damaging the artery walls. When this happens, blood cannot flow throughout our bodies as easily, leading to an increased risk for stroke or heart attack.
5 Steps to Lower your Cholesterol
Step 1 – Limit the amount of fat in your diet
Saturated fats that are found in meat and dairy products are one of the main sources of cholesterol producing fats in our diet. These fats are solid at room temperature and should be eaten in moderation. Stick to healthier fats like those found in olive oil, sunflower seed oil, avocados or fish. Fats should make up no more than 30% of your daily calories and making an effort to reduce your intake will go a long way in keeping your cholesterol levels in check.
Step 2 – Increase your fiber intake
Fiber is nature’s broom. It helps to clean out your body and eliminates excess cholesterol from the blood. Fruits, vegetables, oat bran and whole grains are an excellent source of fibre and should be included in every meal of the day.
Step 3 – Read product labels
Reading the labels on all of the foods that you purchase is an excellent way to know exactly what you are putting in your body. Choose foods that are low in saturated fats and high in fibre. By being aware of what is in the foods you eat you will be better able to make the best choices for your health.
Step 4 – Prepare meals the healthy way at home
Eating out, especially at fast food restaurants, often means that you are eating foods that have been deep fried in oil or contain fatty sauces and spreads. By eating at home more often you are the one in control of how your food is prepared. Baking food is the best option for good health or stir frying in a very small amount of oil (about a tablespoonful). Use spices and herbs to flavour your food and stay away from dressings and sauces which can be high in fats and also sodium and carbohydrates.
Step 5 – Make healthy lifestyle choices
Making healthy choices throughout your day will have a positive impact on your cholesterol levels and on your overall wellbeing. Keeping active will help you maintain a healthy body weight and will give you lots of energy and quitting smoking will assist in reducing your bad cholesterol levels and will improve the health of your blood vessels. By making small changes and healthier choices every day, you will improve your health and increase your longevity.
Visit www.mylivemd.com for more information about cholesterol and how to keep your levels in check. Our trained healthcare professionals are there to answer your questions and give you advice on how to lead a longer, happier, healthier life.
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