Four years ago I went in to have my yearly bio-metric screening through work for my health insurance. I’m sure most of you out there have to do this as well. You may even get perks for having a clean bill of health, but for those of you who don’t it is a normal screening where they check blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI, etc… Everything checked out except they said my cholesterol was a bit high. Not high enough to be too concerning, but definitively need to work on my diet and exercise. So I didn’t think a lot of it and I was already working on my nutrition so figured with a healthy diet I would be fine…
Then the next year they said it had increased again.
Then by the next year they said it had gotten so high that the next time I came in if I didn’t show a decrease I would most likely need to go on medication. This was an “OH SHIT” moment for me. I knew it was time to really get my but in gear and do something about it. Having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease, lead to heart attacks, clogged arteries, and liver failure. After some research and talking to my mom, I found out high cholesterol runs in the family. My grandma would try changing everything in her diet, but never saw results. That was a bit discouraging, but I was already working on eating a cleaner diet so I figured I would do what I can until next year’s test.
Well the time just came and GUESS WHAT!? I lowered my cholesterol levels by a CRAZY amount! My doctor was honestly shocked. She said she has never seen someone stay so dedicated and actually drop their levels like I did! So I thought I would share the top 10 things I changed about my lifestyle to drop my cholesterol levels.
- Physical activity is going to help raise your HDL levels which is the “good” cholesterol your body needs. Either 20 minutes of moderate activity five days a week or 30 minutes of high intensity cardio 3 days a week.
- If you are looking for a way to get motivated in a workout or advice on workouts in general check out my page on how to join my 30 days to a better you challenge.
- Reduce saturated fats like red meats and high fat dairy products
- These saturated fats will increase your LDL or “bad” cholesterol. You don’t have to completely eliminate them from your diet but try to not eat red meat more than one to times a month. If you want to completely eliminate though even better! Note: if you have high cholesterol I don’t recommend doing the Keto Diet (learned this the hard way!)
- Add in monosaturated fats… Did you say avocados!?
- Adding monosaturated fats will help to decrease LDL while raising your HDL. These are the “good” fats you want in your diet. You can get these from avocados, canola oil, tree nuts, chia seeds, olives.
- Eat non-processed foods to avoid trans fats
- Most packaged and processed foods will contain a trans fat, also labeled as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (the FDA is working on banning partially hydrogenated vegetable oil by January 2021!) Other places you may find trans fats are in margarine and butter substitutes. Use the real stuff folks just in moderation! Or look into avocado and sunflower oils!
- Eat more Soluble Fiber!
- Soluble fiber is going to help reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Examples of high fiber foods are brussels sprouts, apples, citrus fruits, oatmeal, barley, beans, peas, & lentils (all great FFCs to work into your meals if you follow 2Bminset)
- Drink your Superfoods
- Wondering how the heck you can balance getting in everything I just listed above? How about by drinking a yummy shake everyday!? I drink a daily vegan superfood shake that has a dense focus of everything listed above PLUS more like pre-and pro-biotics that help aid in a balanced tummy. Want information on how to get this shake? Send me an email and I will be happy to hook you up!
- Drink Alcohol in MODERATION
- I won’t lie to you this one was tough for me and I still am not the best at it, BUT I have cut back how much wine I drink during the week and focus on having a beverage only 1-2 days out of the week.
- Slim that waistline!
- If you do 1-7 you will most likely see your weight drop (I would be surprised if you didn’t!) Carrying extra pounds is a direct link to higher cholesterol levels, but note this is not always the case. Even if you are within your BMI bracket for your height you could still have high cholesterol. My grandmother was a very tiny woman and she still had high cholesterol. Always talk to your doctor about what a healthy weight for you is.
- Quit Smoking (if you do!)
- I am not a smoker but grew up in a household with both parents who smoke. There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t smoke, but if lowering your cholesterol is the reason that will get you to stop I wanted to throw it on the list!
- DRINK MORE WATER
- So this isn’t directly linked to lowering your cholesterol BUT it is going to help you lose weight, flush toxins, cut cravings, and fight hunger sooo might as well be linked to it! You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces daily.
I do have to note that I am not a certified nutritionist or doctor so always consult your doctor when changing your diet or exercise routine, Changing your diet may not always be enough and there are medications out there to help regulate your cholesterol if it ends up not being enough, but these are the steps I took to lowering my cholesterol so I wouldn’t have to go on a medication and it WORKED! So before you jump to pills try making changes to your life and build better habits!