September is National Cholesterol Education Month which aims to inform the public about the dangers that are associated with high cholesterol. Before we talk about natural ways to lower your cholesterol, let's go back to the basics and learn more about what cholesterol is and its history.
First discovered in 1833, cholesterol was described as a plaque-type substance found in our blood that was linked to cardiac death. Everyone's liver produces cholesterol naturally. In fact, we need cholesterol to build cells and make vitamins and other hormones. The issue arises when our diet consists of too much dietary cholesterol - which we get from meat and dairy products. Higher levels of cholesterol are linked to cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association urges us to follow the three C's:
- Check your cholesterol levels. It’s key to know your numbers and assess your risk.
- Change your diet and lifestyle to help improve your levels.
- Control your cholesterol, with help from your doctor if needed
If you're struggling with high cholesterol, stay tuned as we talk about a few different ways to naturally lower your cholesterol.
Maintaining an active lifestyle is a great way to work to naturally lower your cholesterol. It's recommended that we get 30 minutes of exercise each day during the week. Studies show that when your body mass index (BMI) is above 30, it raises blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Find out what your BMI number should be here.
Change Up Your Diet
Avoiding trans fats is a great way to work at keeping your cholesterol low. These oils are usually added to foods to make them last longer. Next time you're grocery shopping, make sure to read the labels and skip on anything that has trans fats. These types of fats were found to increase bad cholesterol levels.
We know that smoking is dangerous to our health, but if you're struggling with high cholesterol making the choice to quit can drastically help. A study in 2013 found that quitting made a 30% improvement in levels in only three weeks. In addition, if you quit smoking, you can reduce your heart disease risk by half within a year!
We hope that if you're struggling with high cholesterol, at least one of these three ways will help you to get your numbers in check. Making lifestyle changes like the ones discussed today will not only help you lower your cholesterol, but will help to improve other aspects of your health. When we exercise, eat well, and take care of our bodies, we feel better and function as the best versions of ourselves.