If you suffer from high cholesterol, you know that you need to do something to reduce it. The scary thing is that many people don’t even know when they have high cholesterol.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO MAINTAIN HEALTHY LEVELS OF CHOLESTEROL?
Increase your Fiber intake
The best place to start is with improvement to your diet. Including more Fiber in your diet will help you maintain optimal cholesterol levels as soluble dietary fiber helps to remove Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) from the body, preventing plaque from building up in the arteries.
Good sources of fiber are:
- whole-grain breads and cereal
- raw oats
- fruit, veggies and kidney beans.
Know Which Fats Are Good For You
It is crucial to note that not all fats are created equal. There are ‘bad fats’ and there are ‘good fats’.
The fats that you should stay away from (the bad fats) are saturated fats and trans-fats – these raise your LDL cholesterol levels and trans-fats can actually decrease your HDL levels as well.
Bad fats are found in foods like:
- baked goods
- fries, crisps, cookies, and of course – margarine.
On the other hand, unsaturated fats are good for you and including them in your diet can help you lower your LDL levels.
Good fats are found in foods like:
- olive oil
- flax seed oils.
Pick The Right Protein
As with fats, different proteins have different effects on cholesterol levels.
Red meat and full-fat milk are great sources of protein, but also of contain significant amounts of cholesterol. ‘Cholesterol friendly’ sources of protein include alternatives like lean protein and soy protein.
Lean protein in the form of certain fish like salmon can be extremely beneficial, as these contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help manage and improve your cholesterol level.
Soy products such as tofu are a great non-meat substitutes and can be used in a variety of dishes.
Reduce your Carb intake
According to numerous studies from across the globe, low-carb diets are the way to go if you are trying to get your cholesterol levels in check.
Not only do they help you decrease the LDL in your blood, but they also promote more HDL in the body.
If you have started to eat healthier, this step should be a lot easier. Losing weight (when you are overweight) is a great way to resolve a number of health problems like high blood sugar, high blood pressure and of course, high cholesterol.
Losing weight helps to reduce LDL, triglycerides, as well as total cholesterol.
If you use tobacco products, now might be the second best time to quit – of course it would have been better if you’d never started but if you’re suffering from high cholesterol, now is the time to make some hard choices! When you stop smoking tobacco your HDL levels can go up by as much as 10%.
Get Enough Exercise
Exercise is not just about looking skinny, it’s about improving and maintaining your overall health. Even if you’re not overweight or too unhealthy, you can still suffer from high cholesterol levels.
Cardio exercises like running, swimming, cycling, hiking, or even just walking can have a positive impact on your HDL cholesterol levels. Try to complete at least 30 minutes of exercise for a minimum of 4 times a week.
Some studies suggest that garlic can knock a few percentage points off your total cholesterol.
But garlic pills can have side effects and may interact negatively with some forms of medication.
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