If you have high cholesterol levels, you may benefit from diet and lifestyle changes, independent of taking cholesterol-lowering medications. Lifestyle modifications may reduce the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes.
Four Top Tips:
- Start by exercising daily. Exercise is well-proven to lower your triglycerides, raise your good cholesterol (HDL), lead to a healthier weight and decrease your overall cardiovascular disease.
- Avoid enemy fats such as saturated fat (meats, creams and fried foods), partially hydrogenated oils (processed foods), and fat substitutes (Olestra, shortening, and margarine).
- Consume more omega 3 fatty acids contained in fish (salmon, tuna and sardines), freshly ground flax seeds, nuts, nut butters (walnuts and pumpkin seeds have the highest amounts) and omega 3 fortified eggs. If you have any doubt that you’re getting enough, it may be a good idea to add an omega 3 fatty acid supplement containing 300mg of both DHA and EPA. Also consume more monounsaturated fats contained in avocados and olive oil (extra virgin and first cold pressed is preferred).
- Increase your consumption of fiber found in fruit vegetables, beans, nuts and whole grains. These should be the foundation of any healthy diet.
Though you may be able to see the results in as little as six weeks, we don’t recommend rechecking your level until at least a year to give you time to really embrace the changes. Other helpful links ultraprevention.com and healthfullivingsf.com.
If you have high blood pressure you may benefit from a regular exercise program with associated weight loss.
What it does: May lower blood pressure by 5-15 mm and reduce risk of heart attacks and strokes. Secondary benefits of exercise include weight loss, decreased stress, improved mental capacity, and improvements in mood.
Risks Avoid extreme forms of exercise , particularly if you have active heart disease.
Five Top Tips:
- Start slowly. The changes you make need to be sustained over many years to have any meaningful impact.
- Build a workable exercise regimen. Start with 20-30 minutes of low-impact aerobic exercise at a time. This could involve walking, light jogging, stair climbing, riding a bicycle, or swimming.
- Target a heart rate of approximately 110-130 beats per minute (you should be able to have a comfortable conversation while exercising). To check your heart rate, place a finger on the thumb side of your wrist, about an inch from the base of your thumb and feel for a pulse. Count the beats you feel in 10 seconds and multiply by 6.
- Work your way up to 2-3 days per week of regular exercise. The best form of exercise is built into your weekly schedule so that it becomes part of your routine.
- Combine your exercise program with a balanced diet that is low in fats and simple sugars to help improve your chances for weight loss.