If you’ve recently been diagnosed with high cholesterol and you’ve been told that you need to take medication, fear not! I am pleased to say that there is an alternative solution that is totally pill free. However, it does require time and effort for at least a 6 month period, if not for the remainder of your life! Are you willing? If your answer is YES, then keep reading my simple tips on the positive changes that you can make to your lifestyle, so that you can reduce your high cholesterol and live a healthier and happier lifestyle!
High cholesterol is where there is a fatty substance in the blood. The reason that this is a serious cause for concern is because it is one of the main risk factors associated with heart disease, one of the most life-threatening chronic diseases. Eating fatty foods, being sedentary, not doing enough physical activity, smoking and drinking too much alcohol are some of the main causes for high cholesterol. It used to be associated with middle-aged adults, but due to increase obesity and unhealthy behaviours, health experts are now calling for those aged 25 and over to start getting their cholesterol checked! Simple and achievable lifestyle changes can be made instantly, which can significantly help to reduce high cholesterol or lower your risk should you be concerned.
The best ‘diet’ to have, especially if you have or are at risk of high cholesterol, is the Mediterranean Diet:
- Consuming fish at least twice per week
- Reducing consumption of meat (e.g. red meat)
- Drinking alcohol in moderation, most often with a meal
- Drinking plenty of water
- Consuming plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds, beans
- Consuming wholegrain only
- Reduced consumption of dairy products
- Reduced fast and processed foods
Adults are recommended to achieve 150 minutes of activity a week and to take part in strength exercise on 2 days (e.g. yoga, weights or body weight exercises) in order to reap the benefits of physical activity while reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases and conditions. Children and young people are recommended to achieve at least 60 minutes hour of activity per day, and this includes toddlers who are starting to be able to walk and so parents should reduce their time spend being carried or strapped in a pram!
- Brisk walking counts (e.g. dog walk, walking to work)
- YouTube is a great resource for free exercise classes and tips
- Running and walking are free
- Sports and running clubs can be ‘pay and play’ rather than serious
- Cleaning and gardening count as physical activity
- You can be physically active but still be incredibly sedentary
- Limiting time spent sitting or lying down reduces sedentary time
- Physical activity does not have to be lonely, invite and friend or family member!
If this is something you’d like to follow, present this information to your doctor who should give you the all clear to follow instead of taking pills! You will not only improve your cholesterol reading, but will also witness other positive physical, mental and social health benefits of a healthy diet and regular physical activity! Have you been diagnosed with high cholesterol? Comment down below on what health changes you’ve made!
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