We are all well aware of the connection between cholesterol “ a sticky plaque that builds up in blood cells “ and heart disease.
Fill up on fibre
Fibre counteracts the effects of bad (LDL) cholesterol by clearing the plaque from your arteries.
Find it in whole grains such as oatmeal, rice, and quinoa. Or you might want to try flaxseed “ you can sprinkle it on your cereal, add some to your fruit shake and use it in baking for a fibre boost.
To make sure to use ground flaxseed, as your body can’t absorb the whole seeds (you may notice evidence of this on your next trip to the loo).
Get your heart pumping and work up a sweat to keep your cholesterol levels in check “ especially if you are overweight.
Carrying extra weight and living a sedentary lifestyle can drive up your LDL cholesterol and contribute to heart disease.
Try getting at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, whether it’s a light run, a yoga class or weight session at the gym. If you’re inactive, start small by taking a daily walk with a friend or your dog.
Take it easy
Get that monthly massage and don’t look back. Constant stress can place you in one of the riskiest categories for heart attacks.
Figure out where your stress is coming from and try to deal with it in constructive ways. Talk to close friends or family about it, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and try writing in a journal.
These are all healthy ways to deal with stress “ as opposed to resorting to junk food, smoking or alcohol.
Find the right fats
To actively decrease LDL cholesterol, you’ll want to cut your fat intake to about 20 to 30 percent of your daily calories.
Second, make sure those fats are the good kind, like fatty fish, avocado, nuts and vegetable oils. These good fats increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood, which help to keep bad cholesterol in check.
Eat saturated fats, including red meat and full-fat dairy products like butter and ice cream, in moderation.
Eat the right treats
Maybe it’s the high dose of antioxidants, or it could be the relaxing factor, but studies have shown that one glass of red wine a day can boost levels of good cholesterol in the blood. But don’t assume that if you’re good with one, you’re golden with many “ more than one drink a day is actually detrimental to your health.
A perfect accompaniment to a full-bodied pinot noir, dark chocolate has also been shown to increase good cholesterol, so enjoy a square or two “ just be sure that it’s 70 percent or higher.
The bonus: looking forward to treats like these will also decrease stress levels, lowering your cholesterol even further.