Illustration of plaque buildup in arteries due to cholesterol

How to Control Your Cholesterol

Cholesterol is found in the fats and lipids of our foods, and is also produced by the liver. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL), AKA the ‘bad’ cholesterol, is a major contributor to plaque, which can slowly build up in the arterial walls which effectively narrows the arteries, restricting blood-flow, and can clog your arteries while making them less flexible. Plaque can be incredibly dangerous as most of us know, and can lead to the formation of clots which can block arteries, causing a stroke or heart attack.

HDL, or high-density lipoproteins, also known as the ‘good’ cholesterol, takes the excess cholesterol of the body and brings it to your liver. There, your liver prepares it for disposal from your body, or transports it to other areas of your body where it is needed.

To help you get 2017 started off right, we’ve prepared this helpful guide to help steer you in the right direction towards better health going into the new year.

7 Steps

Step #1: Know Your Cholesterol Levels

  • Order an Everlywell Cholesterol & Lipids Test. It’s important to know what your cholesterol levels are so you know what you’re dealing with and how to react.

Step #2: Eat Healthy! (It tastes better than it sounds, we promise!) Here’s some tips:

  • First, understand the difference between saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats lead to an increase in cholesterol levels, while unsaturated fats help to lower cholesterol.
  • Saturated Fats:
    • Hard fats such as lard, butter and margarine.
    • Fatty meats ie: burgers, steaks, sausages, bacon
    • Dairy fats like those found in cheese, whole milk, yogurt, and creams
    • Pies, pastries, cakes and other desserts
  • Unsaturated Fats:
    • Vegetable oil, seed oils, and nut oils (sunflower, olive, corn etc.)
    • Nuts of all kinds
    • Avocado
    • Oily fish such as salmon, trout, herring, mackerel and others
  • Also Consider Adding These Healthy, Cholesterol Reducing Foods to Your Diet:
    • Oats: A breakfast containing 2 servings of oats can actually lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol by over 5% in just 6 weeks! Also, it’s delicious.
    • Toss out the beer. Drink red wine.
      • Red wines made with fiber-rich Tempranillo grapes such as Rioja. Drink to your health as the time-old adage goes.
    • Drink Black Tea Instead of Coffee
    • Beans, Beans & More Beans
    • Dark Chocolate
    • Garlic
    • Spinach

Step #3: Daily Exercise:

  • 5, 10, 30 minutes, everything helps and goes the distance
  • Shoot for 30 minutes a day of exercise. You can split the time up throughout the day however best works with your busy schedule.

Step #4: Don’t Sit. Walk!

  • Seriously, just do it. You’ll thank us for this one later and you’ll feel better to boot.

Step #5: Stay Active!

  • Walk the dog, walk yourself, jump-rope, spin in circles; whatever you do: BE ACTIVE. Seriously, that Netflix show you’re binging on will still be waiting for you when you get back.
  • Will also help reduce blood pressure, regulate your weight, and reduce your risk of heart disease

Step #6: Maintain for 8 Weeks

  • Make the commitment. You’ll thank yourself later for this one.

Step #7: Take a Follow-Up Test, Monitor Improvement:

  • After 8 weeks of dedication to improving your cardiovascular health, take a follow-up test to monitor the results of your efforts.
Everlywell makes lab testing easy and convenient with at-home collection and digital results in days. Learn More