The Six Best Ways to Prevent High Cholesterol
Prevent High Cholesterol You've heard that good cholesterol management can lead to a longer life. But did you know that low cholesterol can increase your bone strength? Or that it can improve your sexual performance? Take action now: Prevention is within your control!
Know Your Numbers Beginning at age 40, get your cholesterol levels checked every year. A simple blood test is all that is required, and results are generally available within a week.
What Not to Eat The No. 1 foods to avoid? "Anything that is deep-fried," says nutrition director Marlene Lesson, M.S., R.D. "Also, foods containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils are the enemy. These include margarine, pastries, packaged cookies, crackers, potato chips and other snack foods." Other foods to give up include cheese and other dairy products, poultry skin (remove it before eating the meat), and red meat other than top round and edge of round.
Dig In! Certain foods can help with cholesterol management. Increase your intake of soy products such as tofu, soy milk, soy protein powder and soy/veggie burgers. Other items for your shopping list:
Lentils and dried beans
Fish with omega-3 oils such as salmon, sardines or mackerel
Get Moving Physical activity can greatly affect your cholesterol levels. By exercising, you raise your metabolism and burn calories, losing fat weight. Exercise, while lowering total cholesterol, also increases the good HDL cholesterol, which helps prevent plaque from forming on the walls of the arteries.
Chill Out Fatigue, anger and distress can raise your body's adrenaline levels, causing cholesterol to rise. Practice relaxation and stress-reduction techniques such as meditation or breathing exercises. Guided imagery -- visualizing positive situations and beautiful scenes (try focusing on a loved one or even a favorite pet) -- has also been found to control stress.
Consider Medication Sometimes diet, exercise and stress reduction just aren't enough to get cholesterol into the safe zone. In terms of medication, physicians prescribe statins, which are able to control an enzyme in the body that is responsible for the manufacture of lipids, also known as fats. This control process reduces the body's production of cholesterol. Know that possible side effects of statins include muscle pains and elevation of liver function. Consult your physician to see if medication is right for you.