When some doctors sit you down to tell you that you’ve got high cholesterol, the first thing that may come to mind is confusion. What is cholesterol anyway? Well, to be specific, cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells in your body.
Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, Vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Your body actually makes all the cholesterol it needs, however, when you consume extra cholesterol on top of that, that’s when you run into trouble.
But what foods are high in cholesterol?
Eggs, shellfish (i.e. lobster, shrimp, crab legs, mussels, etc.), butter, liver, cheese, red meat, most desserts, ice cream, bacon, and soy. These are deadly if overconsumed and could do a lot more damage to your body than just raising your cholesterol.
Natural ways to lower cholesterol
Looking to get your levels under control? Check out these 8 natural ways to lower your cholesterol:
Quitting smoking improves your HDL cholesterol level. The benefits occur quickly, within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the cigarette-induced spike, within three months of quitting, your blood circulation and lung function begin to improve, and within a year of quitting, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker.
Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation.
Too much alcohol can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure, and strokes. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.
Exercise and Increase your Physical Activity.
Exercise can improve cholesterol. Moderate physical activity can help raise High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol. With your doctor’s OK, work up to at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week or vigorous aerobic activity for 20 minutes three times a week. Adding physical activity, even in short intervals several times a day, can help you begin to lose weight. Consider:
- Taking a brisk daily walk during your lunch hour
- Riding your bike to work
- Playing a favorite sport
Increase Soluble Fiber.
Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Soluble fiber is found in such foods as