Many people every year go to a doctor’s office and are told to lower their cholesterol levels through diet and exercise or they will have to go on a drug to do it for them. It is very possible to lower your cholesterol levels through diet and exercise, you just have to know what you are doing.
There are a few different types of cholesterol in our bodies. You may have heard of good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. High levels of the good cholesterol (HDH) is associated with lowering the risks for heart disease. HDH is responsible for carrying cholesterol from the arteries to your liver, where it is processed by your body to excrete.
Bad cholesterol or LDL, is associated with heart disease. Authorities believe that too much bad cholesterol circulating around in your body can lead to increase plaque buildup in your arteries, which can lead to heart disease.
What can you do when your doctor recommends lowering your cholesterol levels? First off, exercise will drastically affect your triglyceride(fats related to your cholesterol levels) levels. According to Patrick McBride MD, MPH, director of preventative cardiology and cholesterol clinic at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, consistent and regular exercise can drastically lower your triglyceride levels by 30 to 40% and boost your HDL levels by 5 to 8 mg/dL. He also goes on to say that it doesn’t matter what you are type of exercise you are doing, be it cardio-vascular exercise or strength and resistance training. As long as you are exercising consistently, you will see a positive difference in your cholesterol levels. But as with any exercise program, the key is to exercise consistently. My upcoming strength and conditioning program will spell out of for you, step by step, how to get into an exercise routine, and how to maintain it (which is the hardest part of exercise).
Nutritionally there is a lot you can do as well to affect your cholesterol levels. You may have read about, or heard about, fish oil and how helpful it can be to our bodies. Fish oil can be helpful for many different things. The main active ingredient in fish oil is the omega-3-fatty acids. Omega-3-fatty acids can reduce pain and swelling; they have a large anti-inflammatory effect on the body. If you take it regularly, and have chronic aches and pains, it can take the edge off. It is like taking natural ibuprofen, only thousands of people don’t die from the side effects of fish oil every year. I feel it is a safer alternative than ibuprofen, or any of the non steroidal anti-inflammatories, for pain relief. That is why I recommend it in my upcoming nutrition program.
Along with its anti-inflammatory affects, fish oil can be useful in reducing cholesterol, and triglyceride levels as well. According to the National Institute on Health, fish oil can be used to lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels, prevent heart disease and stroke, and can help with depression, psychosis, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, asthma, obesity, and many other ailments. Fish oil has been shown to reduce triglyceride levels by 20 to 50%. Fish oil is comprised of mega-3-fatty acids and omega-6-fatty acids. The dosage recommended for fish oil is 1 to 4 grams/ day. I recommend starting with 2 grams/ day.
There are other forms of omega-3-fatty acids that are not animal based. Omega-3-fatty acids can be found in flax seed oil. But make sure to take flax seed oil or flax seed oil capsules. Ground flax seeds are a good form of fiber, but you’d have to eat 20 tablespoons of flax seeds to get the amount of omega-3s that are found in 1 tablespoon of flax seed oil.
If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, there is a lot you can do for yourself, rather than just taking pharmaceuticals. If you are willing to exercise a little, and watch what you eat, you can have some drastic effects on your body. It just takes a little work.