Being heart month, it's time to spread the information.

One in three women die of cardiovascular disease.  If it's not you, it will be someone you know very well-- a friend, a loved one, your co-worker.  But there are things you can do to decrease your risk of having a heart attack.  Simply knowing your risk factors and knowing your numbers is one of them.  It's easy to get a simple blood test and learn about your cholesterol levels, but don't stop there.  Once you know your numbers of LDL, HDL and triglycerides, it's time to do something about it rather than just get a prescription or look at them.  High cholesterol is a risk factor and here are five ways to lower yours or your loved ones:

1) You've got to Move it Move itGet moving - Exercise helps lower LDL cholesterol and raise the HDL type.  Pumping the blood around the body helps stop the sticky stuff from sticking! So jump rope for 10 minutes or take a 30 minute walk- both burn about the same amount of calories and studies show that intermittent exercise of even ten minutes daily can help lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes and lower your cholesterol.

2) Veg out!Eat more high fiber foods - Fiber is the sticky stuff that helps pull cholesterol from fatty foods out of the blood stream and out of the body.  Eat more vegetables and fruits that are lower in calories and taste great.  Think of eating at least 5-9 servings each day and track your fiber intake.  Check labels or check out websites like to help you with finding fiber amounts in foods without labels like oranges and potatoes.  Strive for 25-35 grams of fiber each day.

3) Eat fast food!Eating meats from animals that were fast when they were alive is better than the slow ones.  Chicken is leaner than beef - Cows just stand around all day while chickens run around with their head's cut off.  But seriously, chose proteins that are naturally lower in cholesterol.  According to Mayo Clinic, "If you are healthy, it's recommended that you limit your dietary cholesterol to less than 300 milligrams (mg) a day. One large egg has about 186 mg of cholesterol — all of which is found in the yolk. Therefore, if you eat an egg on a given day, it's important to limit other sources of cholesterol for the rest of that day."If you like eggs but don't want the extra cholesterol, use only the egg whites or products like Egg Beaters that do not." By removing the yolk, all of the fat and cholesterol—and more than 1/2 of the calories—are eliminated.

4) Slim downBy losing weight you can also lower your cholesterol.  No cholesterol medication reduces LDL by 33% while also increasing HDL by 63.4%; and reducing triglycerides by 59% but proper diet and exercise can.  A study published by the Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry  had patients on a ketogenic diet. ( even though a ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine) Over one year's time, an average weight loss was acheived of more than 50 pounds in all groups and lower LDL levels as well as higher HDL numbers.

5) Kick the habitQuit smokingNo only does stopping smoking help lower your blood pressure but quitting can improve your HDL cholesterol levels too.  Within one year of ceasing to smoke, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker. Continue with that smoke free environment and in fifteen years your body will be similar to someone who never smoked.

Andrea Metcalf
(630) 670-4700
Blogging with, HuffingtonPost, Examiner, ChicagoNow and NakedFitness  twitter @andreametcalfDREAM - love what you do and create it!

Filed under: fitness

Tags: healthy heart, heart month

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