High cholesterol. It seems this is today’s latest catch-phrase. Doctors talk about it. Media reports on it. Even advertising executives are getting a piece of the action with products such as Oats, both promoting the ability to lower your cholesterol. But how much do we really know about high cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a direct contributor to cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S., UK, Australia, Canada and many other countries. But how many of us know the symptoms of high cholesterol? Can you think of any? Did you know that there usually are no symptoms of high cholesterol? That’s right. A direct contributor to cardiovascular disease has no symptoms.
But don’t fret. There is good news. In most cases, lifestyle changes can often reduce cholesterol levels and minimize the effects of cardiovascular disease. One of the best ways to increase your HDL, or good cholesterol, is to exercise on a regular basis. It’s recommended that you get 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 days a week - one more benefit to your Curves workout routine. You can achieve this by working out at Curves 4 days and being active the rest of the week - running, cycling, swimming, tennis, walking briskly.
You should also look at dietary lifestyle changes. The number one thing we can do to reduce our cholesterol is to decrease the amount of saturated fat we eat. Our diets should be no more than 7-10% saturated fat, which is about 15-20 grams for the average person on a healthy diet. Here are some quick tips to cut saturated fat:
- Choose lean protein
- Trim visible fat from meat
- Choose low fat dairy products
- Trade butter for olive oil or margarine without partially hydrogenated oils
- Limit fried foods
Another great thing we can do to lower our cholesterol is to eat more foods that are naturally high in fibre. We should be aiming for 25-35 grams of fibre a day, but the average adult only gets about 15 grams. Here are some really easy ways to add fibre to your diet:
- Add beans to your salads or sandwiches
- Add fruit to your oats, smoothie or yogurt
- Choose whole grains
- Snack on nuts, veggies and fruit
Lastly, losing weight can lower your cholesterol and reduce your overall risk for cardiovascular disease. Even moderate weight loss, about 5%, can lower your LDL, or bad cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and raise your HDL. You can get to and maintain a healthy weight by following the Curves Complete plan which incorporates a heart healthy diet, exercise and behaviour modification.
Do you know your cholesterol numbers? If not, get those checked right away. It’s recommended that adults have their cholesterol checked at least every five years. You won’t know if you aren’t tested. The choices that you make today can help lower your cholesterol and prevent heart disease tomorrow.