BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Nearly 94 million U.S. adults age 20 or older have high cholesterol, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Mayo Clinic adds that one of the leading causes of high cholesterol is poor diet, which means the consumption of too many foods with saturated fat or trans fats.
For most adults, total cholesterol levels under 200 mg/dl are considered healthy for adults. Doctors typically treat readings of 200–239 mg/dl as borderline high, and readings of at least 240 mg/dl as high.
Healthcare experts say the following six habits can contribute to the lowering of high cholesterol and the maintenance of healthy levels:
#1 Take a daily walk
Adding a brisk 15-30 minute walk to your day can help you to get moving just enough to contribute to your health and wellness. According to a WebMD article on the subject, Dr. Sarah Samaan, a Texas cardiologist says, “Exercising at least 2 1/2 hours a week is enough to raise HDL and improve LDL and triglycerides.”
#2 Replace margarine & shortening with olive oil or avocado oil
Margarine and shortening contain trans fats, which contribute to high cholesterol. On the other hand, olive oil and avocado oil, contain monounsaturated fats, which are healthy because they decrease harmful LDL cholesterol, increase good HDL cholesterol and reduce harmful oxidation.
A Healthline article states that, “Monounsaturated fats like those in olive oil, canola oil, tree nuts, and avocados reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, and reduce the oxidation that contributes to clogged arteries.”
#3 Snack on a little bit of fruit or oat cereal every day
Experts recommend consuming a balanced amount of fiber every day. According to WebMD, “Foods like oatmeal, apples, prunes, and beans are high in soluble fiber, which keeps your body from absorbing cholesterol. Research shows that people who ate 5 to 10 more grams of it each day saw a drop in their LDL.”
#4 Put down the cigarettes
Smoking poses a danger to the heart. The CDC says, “Smoking damages your blood vessels, speeds up the hardening of the arteries, and greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease.”
#5 Consume alcohol in moderation
At this time, the subject of whether alcohol has a direct impact on cholesterol remains up for debate among experts.
That said, Healthline states that the American Heart Association (AHA) is in favor of moderate consumption, stating, “The AHA points out that triglycerides and total cholesterol levels increase with heavy alcohol intake. A recent study shows that heart damage may be occurring with heavy alcohol use even before symptoms appear.”
It adds, “Although the question remains about whether or not alcohol can reduce heart disease risk, everyone agrees that too much alcohol harms the liver and increases the risk of dependence. It is important to consume alcohol only in moderation to achieve any potential cardiovascular benefit.”
#6 Take time to truly relax
Though it can be tough and may require some advanced planning, carving out a daily pocket of time to destress can be beneficial to heart health and cholesterol numbers.
According to WebMD, stress can cause cholesterol to go through the roof. This doesn’t mean you shell out money for weekly spa sessions or daily massages.
The referenced article suggests simple solutions, stating, “Relax. Get lost in a good book, meet a friend for coffee, or take to your yoga mat. It’ll help keep your cholesterol in check.”
Hopefully, by implementing a few, or even all, of the suggestions above into your daily routine, you’ll be able to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.