Studies have shown that the number of people who are obese or overweight has gone up through the years, especially in the western world. Amongst other factors, the type of food being served in schools and fast food joints as well the lack of physical activity is key here.
Being “plus sized” is not an end in itself. It comes with a whole array of other issues, with more people in western countries suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes, with the numbers tipped to in the future. The good news is that this can be prevented before it is too late. Dealing with these also includes lowering one’s cholesterol levels.
But why are we talking about cholesterol? And what is it? Cholesterol is something that is produced in the body and is also consumed in one’s diet. It is unhealthy if levels reach too high as they can clog blood vessels. There are multiple published guidelines about acceptable levels that we should all be aware of, so that it doesn’t exceed the recommended limit in out blood.
The natural way to lower the cholesterol is by making some lifestyle changes, such as modifying one’s diet and exercising regularly. Of course I’m going to say this, as this is a health and fitness blog! But truth be told, these can help the individual lose weight, which is directly related to the cholesterol levels in the human body.
When people think of dieting, many think this means saying goodbye to some of life’s better tasting foods, as this is the rhetoric being drummed. However, this is far from the truth. One just has to limit the consumption of unhealthy foods and replace them with healthier foods. And believe you me, it’s not that hard after you get used to it.
A good diet includes eating foods that are high in fibre and low in saturated fats. A few examples of these are corn, fish, garlic, legumes, mushrooms, nut, olive oil, soy milk and whole grains. And of course, do not forget to have some fruits and vegetables as well since these are rich in sterols that are known to keep the cholesterol levels down. All of these products are affordable and can easily be purchased in the supermarket.
Aside from eating properly, one must also take the necessary precautions when consuming liquids. This means drinking a glass of red wine moderately and reducing the consumption of beer and other alcohol. Why am I targeting beer specifically? Not that it in itself is less healthy than anything else, but because if you are a sessional drinker, you may not keep track of how many you’ve had.
On to the topic of other healthy drinks. Juice is good. Apple juice for example has been known to reduce cholesterol levels by up to 50% when taken regularly. Of course, it might not be the juice itself but the study design, but it comes as part of the package. Other fruits can also do the same apparently.
The next step to lowering the cholesterol levels naturally is through exercise. This can be achieved in many ways such as brisk walking, jogging or running around the neighbourhood. Learning a new sport and doing it regularly is another option. As an avid fitness enthusiast, I’d also recommend getting a personal trainer to teach one how to use the gym equipment.
There is another way to reduce the cholesterol levels, but should only be used as a last resort if the combination of a healthier diet and increased exercise do not seem to be working – and that is medication. Yes it is true. But as I mentioned, use it as a later resort. Don’t be dependent on prescription drugs if you can help it. Know that these drugs have certain side effects so it is best to consult a doctor first to make sure it is safe to use. Hope this helps.
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Also published on Medium.
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