You can help lower your cholesterol without drugs by following some basic steps that will not only change your cholesterol readings, but also improve your long term health.
So often we use a prescription drug and hope it will magically cure whatever ails us. The truth is prescription drugs for lowering cholesterol do work. The problem with prescription drugs is both the short term and long-term side effects.
Even more dangerous than the side effects of prescription drugs is not being able to get your cholesterol under control. Over time, high cholesterol can lead to numerous conditions of the heart and arteries, not the least of which are atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), stroke or heart attack.
Here are five natural steps you can take today to help lower your cholesterol that do not involve taking drugs.
1. Eat right. This may sound simple, but diet has such a significant impact on lowering cholesterol that it should be the number one factor you look at in determining if your high cholesterol is hereditary or a matter of dietary choices. A low fat and low cholesterol diet is the first step toward lowering cholesterol. Incorporating lots of green, leafy vegetables, lean cuts of meats, and good fats such as olive oil, can make a dramatic difference. You can also read my article on green tea and how it can help you lower your cholesterol levels.
2. Exercise. Improving cardiovascular health is a step toward reversing the effects of high cholesterol. Exercise itself doesn’t directly lower cholesterol, but will strengthen the heart and entire circulatory system. Don’t try to run a marathon right off the bat. Remember, walking is one of the best exercises you can do. Except for the cost of a good pair of walking shoes, it is inexpensive, you can do it anywhere, and it is great aerobic exercise as you build up your stamina.
3. Quit smoking. If you smoke, the plaque buildup in the arteries due to high cholesterol is accelerated. When plaque blocks the flow of blood to the heart, the muscle has to work harder to get oxygen. This can lead to a heart attack. If the arteries get completely blocked with plaque from high cholesterol then a stroke can occur. But there is good news, Although smoking is very hazardous to one’s health, the body has amazing recuperative properties and, in time, is able to heal much of the damage caused by smoking once a person is able to kick the habit.
4. Relax. Chronic stress can affect cholesterol levels. If you are constantly stressed and eating a low cholesterol diet, you may not see any improvement in cholesterol readings until you learn to relieve stress. Whether you find a local yoga class, learn to meditate, or lock yourself in the bathroom for some much needed peace and quiet, learning to relax and let go is essential to lowering one’s cholesterol levels. Just taking a few moments to breathe deeply can make a tremendous difference. Don’t believe me? Stop what you’re doing and take a few deep abdominal breaths and see if you don’t feel a bit more relaxed.
5. Talk to your doctor. Not all doctors are quick to prescribe medications. In fact, the more enlightened doctors will help you form a diet and exercise plan that is suitable for your current overall health and abilities as a first step toward lowering your cholesterol. It is always important to ask your doctor if your decision to follow a specific diet or exercise plan is right for you. In addition, do not stop taking medications before consulting with your doctor. You can lower your cholesterol with diet and exercise, and under the care of your doctor, slowly taper off your prescription medications if appropriate.
It does not take long to see significant improvements in your cholesterol levels. Lower cholesterol can be yours in just a matter of weeks by incorporating these lifestyle changes into your daily routine. Don’t be discouraged if your cholesterol doesn’t lower overnight or if your doctor doesn’t take you off of your medication immediately.
As with anything else, some people will achieve results quicker than others. Remember, a person that smokes, eats an unhealthy diet and hasn’t exercised since high school is not going to achieve results as fast as someone who already has a healthy diet but just needs to incorporate more exercise into his or her daily routine. If you need to make an overall lifestyle change, remember to take things slowly, and make one change at a time. That way you won’t become discouraged and the changes will become natural habits.
And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your doctor and acupuncturist can point you in the right direction when it comes to nutrition and exercise advice. You’ve already taken the first step just by reading this article. Now, don’t be afraid to take the second step towards a long and healthy life by getting your cholesterol levels back to a healthy range. Taking control of your life doesn’t have to be hard. Keep it simple and enjoy the journey!
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta
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