You may be at risk of high cholesterol if you have poor lifestyle habits – including an unhealthy diet, limited physical activity, and smoking. To prevent high cholesterol or lower your cholesterol levels, you need to change your lifestyle habits.
The two major forms of cholesterol found in your body are low-density lipoprotein, LDL, and high-density lipoprotein, HDL.
LDL is known as the “bad cholesterol”, your body creates and absorbs LDL from cholesterol-rich food like cheese, red meat, and coconut oil. When LDL combines with fats and other substances in your blood, it can create blockages in your arteries and cause serious health problems like heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.
HDL is known as the “good cholesterol”, it transports the bad cholesterol out of your arteries and has a protective effect on your heart.
To check your cholesterol levels, your doctor will order a blood test, also called lipid profile to measure your cholesterol level. According to the National Institute of Health, your total cholesterol level should be no more than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
To prevent high cholesterol, or lower your cholesterol levels, here are a few simple lifestyle habits to follow:
Eat a healthy balanced diet – for each meal, have a balanced meal with about a quarter plate of white meat, a quarter plate of healthy carbs, and a half plate full of vegetables. Limit the amount of saturated and trans-fat you eat, typically found in red meat and dairy products.
- Be physically active – physical activity like exercise, walking, or weight training can help you lower cholesterol and keep you at a healthy weight.
- Manage stress – chronic stress can raise your LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol. So try to think positively, be thankful, and set aside time to rest your thoughts.
- Get enough quality sleep – Getting enough sleep is important to your overall health. Studies have shown that getting enough sleep keeps your blood vessels healthy, preventing heart disease, and stroke.
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