What is cholesterol? It’s a word you might hear quite a lot on TV adverts and one you may see in many health and fitness mags and you know its something to do with your health, but what exactly is it? It is a fatty substance found in your blood stream that can cause plaque build-up in the arteries when its levels become to high. It is important to maintain healthy cholesterol levels to avoid heart disease and other medical ailments related to high cholesterol. So what can you do? Follow the below tips to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and remain in optimum health.

Exercise regularly
Exercising regularly, at least 30 minutes a day will actively help to reduce your cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy more natural level. Aerobic exercises are considered the best type of exercise to keep your cholesterol levels healthy as it strengthens your heart. Regular aerobic activity helps increase HDL which is known as the ‘good’ cholesterol that helps the body to move fatty deposits to the liver for disposal rather than these hanging around and blocking up your arteries.

Eat a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet and keeping your weight at a healthy, maintainable level is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to looking after your cholesterol levels, after all, you are what you eat. Try and stay away from saturated fats such as full-fat foods like butter, margarine, cheeses and milk. There are some super foods, which you should be incorporating into your diet to help to lower or maintain your cholesterol. Some of these foods include green leafy vegetables, low GI carbs like whole grains and healthy fats such as salmon and mackerel to name but a few.

Limit alcohol intake
Drinking large amounts of alcohol daily or regularly is putting you at serious risk of very high cholesterol levels and obesity; the two go hand in hand. These two factors, especially working with each other can cause heart attacks and strokes. Alcohol is highly calorific and catabolic so it is important that you limit alcohol to a minimum, ideally drinking only once a week if you have to maximum.

Stay stress free if you can
There is also substantial evidence to suggest that stress significantly increases your blood cholesterol. Stress can have a direct effect on weight gain due to poor dietary choices for a mood lift and an overall less healthy diet. Also, if you are stressed it can inhibit weight loss due to the high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Try to keep your stress levels to a minimum by dedicated some time each day to relaxing and even meditating.

When it comes to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels it is important that you combine all of the above approaches to maintain a healthy functioning body. A combination of regular exercise and a healthy eating regime is the best shot you have and keeping your cholesterol low.

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Betsy Smith

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