3 Ways To Lower Cholesterol When You’re Diabetic
In the annual physical, your doctor checks your cholesterol levels. But what is it? And what do the numbers say about your health?
Cholesterol is a type of lipid or fat. In our bodies, it travels through our blood stream in particles called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are bad because they can lead to a buildup of plaque in arteries. A mass of plaque can narrow your arteries and restrict blood flow – much like trying to sip juice through a clogged straw. Eventually, the plaque ruptures and a blood clot forms, cutting off the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Hello, heart attack and stroke!
High-density lipoproteins (HDL), on the other hand, are good because they pick up the LDL clogging your arteries and take it to the liver, where it’s processed and eventually excreted. A total blood cholesterol level of 200 and above is cause for concern, especially if you have type 2 diabetes, according to the American Heart Association.
1. Eat Up!
Lowering your cholesterol reduces your risk of contracting heart disease and dying from a heart attack. What you eat can affect the amounts of HDL and LDL flowing through your bloodstream.
Try these 7 super-foods to reduce diabetic hyperlipidemia—Aim to eat all seven daily.
- Soy Protein
2. Work Up a Sweat
Brisk exercise speeds blood flow in your arteries, reducing your chances of inflammation and clogging (two precursors to hardening of your arteries).
How to sneak it in: You don’t have to hit the gym to get some exercise. Clip on a pedometer while you run errands and aim for 10,000 steps a day.
3. Take Metamucil (Psyllium Husk)
Metamucil contains psyllium husk, a fiber that prevents cholesterol from entering intestinal cells. This fiber soaks up cholesterol so you excrete it rather than absorb it into your body.
How to sneak it in: Adults should consume 10-25 grams of soluble fiber a day, advises the National Cholesterol Education Program, but most get only 3-4 grams. You should get half your fiber from a supplement and the rest from food. Take half your daily dose of Metamucil before breakfast and half after dinner to avoid overloading your body on fiber, which can cause gas, constipation or diarrhea.