If you have high cholesterol, you can certainly get on some medication to help keep your cholesterol in the normal range. However, being on medication long term can have negative effects on your body. By making simple changes in your lifestyle, you can sometimes lower your cholesterol without the use of a pill. See below for lifestyle changes you should make now.
Eat A Healthier Diet
Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, nuts and whole grains will help with your over-all heart health according to the American Heart Association. It is also recommended that you reduce the amount of excess sugar and sodium in your diet, as well as reducing the amount of saturated and trans fats from your diet. Additionally, you should reduce the amount of red meat and high fat dairy products. Make healthier choices such as:
- Increase the amount of green vegetables you consume, including leafy greens such as spinach and kale.
- Skip out on sugary drinks like sodas or coffee drinks loaded with sugar and cream. Replace one of these drinks with a glass of water instead.
- Change to skim milk, rather than whole or 2%. It's the same amount of vitamins and minerals, but with less fat.
- Increase your amount of dietary fiber. You can do this by eating more whole grain foods (such as breads and pastas), or by eating flax seeds.
Begin An Exercise Regimen
Before beginning any exercise regimen you should always consult your physician. You don't need a gym membership or fancy machines in your home to begin exercising. By simply walking each day and increasing your amount of daily physical activity, you are making your heart and body stronger and healthier. Begin taking small walks at first and increase the intensity and distance of your walks from there.
Change Bad Habits
Bad habits such as smoking and drinking can decrease your levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) "good" cholesterol. Smoking in general can have quite a few negative effects on your body such as it can cause cancer and reduces blood flow. Talk to your heart doctor about the best way to quit smoking. Excessive drinking can also have negative effects on your body such as increased calorie intake, which can cause weight gain, and excess drinking can also be damaging to your liver.
Making these lifestyle changes can not only help to lower your cholesterol, it can help give you better overall health.