One of the major components in maintaining a healthy lifestyle is managing your cholesterol. Our knowledgeable doctors at Wasatch Peak Family Practice & Oceans Contours in Layton, Utah, look forward to helping you achieve the best health possible by lowering your “bad” cholesterol and improving the “good.”
All cholesterol is not equal
We realize understanding good versus bad cholesterol can be confusing. Good cholesterol, aka high-density lipoprotein (HDL), actually helps your body, while bad, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) can lead to heart disease, stroke, and more. We perform cholesterol blood tests to pinpoint your LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. The worst culprit is oxidized LDL cholesterol. When LDL cholesterol interacts with free radicals, it forms unstable molecules. This can occur in three different ways:
- Normal body metabolism
- Exposure to toxins
When oxidized LDL adheres to your artery walls, it forms plaques that can clog your blood vessels. Over time, this causes inflammation and disease. Ironically, it’s usually the smaller particles, rather than the larger, that most affect your health.
Managing cholesterol through diet
We can help lower your cholesterol via medication. As your health care partners, we offer tips so you can control your cholesterol more naturally, as well. One of the most proactive ways is through a healthy diet.
Eat your fruits and vegetables
Your mother was right. Eating a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables helps lower your LDL cholesterol. It has been shown that adults eating four servings of fruits and vegetables per day possessed around 6% less LDL versus those eating two servings or less. They also have a much lower risk of developing heart disease. The antioxidants apparently help prevent LDL oxidation.
Spice it up
Adding turmeric, garlic, and ginger to your food helps lower your cholesterol. These taste great and are so much healthier than salt.
Say no to trans fats
By now, most of us have heard about the evils of trans fats. Be sure to watch out for phrases such as “partially hydrogenated” on ingredient lists. It signifies the food contains trans fats. The United States has even banned their use in restaurants and processed foods due to their direct link to heart disease.
Consume foods high in fiber
We recommend eating plenty of soluble fiber from:
- Whole grains
- Legumes and beans
- Apples with the skin, if possible
Since we lack the enzymes to break down soluble fiber, the fiber travels through our digestive tract, absorbing bile, which helps carry cholesterol out of our system.
Eat a Mediterranean-style diet
Make your heart happy. To increase your good cholesterol and lower the bad, focus more on:
- Foods rich in olive oil
- Whole grains
- Fruits, vegetables, and nuts
- Processed foods
- Red meat
Supplement your diet
We can help you choose supplements to reduce your cholesterol naturally, including psyllium husks, L-carnitine, and niacin.
Additional lifestyle changes to lower cholesterol
We recommend other lifestyle changes, as well, to help lower cholesterol and get healthier, such as:
Take a brisk walk, attend aerobics classes, bicycle ride with a buddy, and lots more. Staying active helps increase your HDL. Exercise moderately for at least 30 minutes three to five times per week for the most benefits.
In just three months after quitting, your lungs and circulation start to improve. A year later, your heart disease risk falls to half that of a smoker.
Lose weight healthfully
Over 78 million adults in our country are obese, more than 20% over their ideal body weight. This increases the risk of:
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
Even a few pounds of excess weight can affect your health. Replace sugary sodas with water or fruit juice. Take the stairs in lieu of the elevator. Walk to the market instead of driving. We can help you construct a healthier diet and exercise plan to lose weight and lower cholesterol.
If you’d like additional advice on managing your cholesterol or other health issues,
call us at Wasatch Peak Family Practice or book an appointment online today.