Today, I’ve partnered with Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. and Take Cholesterol to Heart to share tips on how to help manage your cholesterol. All opinions and content are my own. I am not a medical professional and am not qualified to give medical advice. Please talk with your doctor about your individual medical situation.
At 65 years old, I have been blessed that I have had just a couple health issues to deal with – I’m constantly watching my thyroid nodules and borderline healthy cholesterol level ranges. So, what better time to share health tips than during Women’s Health Week!
Because heart disease is a big problem in my family, I visit a cardiologist every couple of years for testing. In January 2019, my doctor told me that my total cholesterol level was at 224, which is in the borderline healthy range, and that I needed to make some changes, such as exercising regularly and eating a more heart-healthy diet.
For some people, making heart-healthy choices may not be enough to put their cholesterol numbers in a healthy range. That is when their doctors may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication in addition to a healthier lifestyle. I’m currently trying to manage my cholesterol without a medication, but everyone’s experience is different, so it’s important to schedule an appointment with your doctor to create an individualized treatment plan. Follow along below to learn some helpful tips from Take Cholesterol to Heart!
Did you know that high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States? High cholesterol affects more than 95 million Americans. Many times, it goes undetected because you can’t see or feel it like some other conditions.
We actually need cholesterol for many of our body functions. But, too much of it can build up in our arteries and that is when a heart attack or stroke might happen. Cholesterol is made by the liver and also comes from the foods we eat so that is why we must make smart food choices.
So, what is bad cholesterol? It is called low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, LDL-C, and can cause plaque in the bloodstream. This plaque can build up along the walls of arteries, making it more difficult for blood to flow through the arteries and out to the body.
HOW TO HELP MANAGE YOUR CHOLESTEROL
First of all, why not start with what we put in our mouths? This is an important part of helping to keep cholesterol in check.
- Eat more foods that are high in soluble fiber. I love oatmeal with berries for breakfast or lunch, apples, oranges, pears and berries any time of the day and broccoli, peas and legumes at lunch or dinner.
- I try not to eat foods high in carbs to help manage my weight. I’ve been advised to replace those with a diet rich in predominantly monounsaturated fat. It’s been proven to help lower cholesterol levels. Eat foods like almonds and avocados, and use olive oil instead of butter when you can.
Making Better Choices
- I grew up on fried chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits and gravy. Instead of frying your foods, try boiling, grilling, roasting or poaching for a heart-healthy approach to your cooking.
- My biggest cheat foods are chips or crackers. But, trans fats are a big no-no. I try hard to avoid buying chips that have saturated fats (which mainly come from animal-based foods) or trans fats (found in many processed foods made with partially hydrogenated oils). Why? Because they can raise your LDL-C (bad cholesterol). Trans fats are particularly unhealthy because they can also reduce HDL-C (good cholesterol). Good news, I found some kale chips that are heart-healthy but still give me that crunch!
Heart-Healthy Fitness Routine
I have always been physically active, but over the last few years I haven’t been as proactive and mindful. This year I made a resolution that I was going to get with it again.
The American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise 3 to 4 times a week. The hardest thing about this is to just say yes and do it. Before getting started, it may be best to consult your doctor to discuss what exercises are the best fit for you. Below is what works for me.
- Walking at least 2-3 miles 4 days a week has been awesome for my mental and physical health.
- I started Pilates over 2 years ago, which I love, but due to a lot of travel I haven’t been able to keep up a regular routine. Now that we are at home more often, I am doing mat Pilates and using my TRX until I can get back to my local Pilates studio.
- The weather is warming up enough here in Houston to start swimming. I have always been a water dog, so 30-40 minutes in the pool is my way of changing up my exercise routine so I don’t get bored and then stop altogether.
Being healthy is the greatest gift because without it, nothing else seems to work. Your cholesterol levels are one of the most important parts of your health that you can be mindful of and make healthy choices to help manage.
To learn more about healthy, cholesterol-friendly lifestyle choices, go to TakeCholesteroltoHeart.com.
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