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Having high cholesterol means that you have too much of a certain fatty substance (cholesterol) in your blood. Although too much cholesterol poses a problem, our bodies do need a certain amount of it to build cells. Our livers are responsible for producing the majority of cholesterol for our bodies, which is why we don't need to get much from the food that we eat.
There are several main reasons for having high cholesterol: consuming foods high in saturated fats, not exercising enough, and unfortunately, sometimes it can be down to genes.
Too much cholesterol can block your blood vessels and increase your chance of having heart problems or a stroke. But don't fret, because there are changes you can make in your everyday life that can help to lower cholesterol levels. Keep on reading to find out more!
Processed meats such as bacon and hot dogs are high-cholesterol foods and should therefore be limited or cut completely from your diet. There is research that suggests processed meats are also linked to a higher risk of certain cancers. If you can't imagine cutting processed meat from your diet, then opt for plant-based alternatives instead (as they don't contain cholesterol) - it's the best of both worlds! If you've never tried meat alternatives before then, you're in for a treat.
Being active a few times a week can reduce your risk of heart disease and help you lead an overall healthy life. I'm not saying that you have to exercise for multiple hours each day, but just a few hours a week would be beneficial. Try to find an activity that you enjoy doing, so that you're more inclined to keep at it. Walking and running, in particular, are proven to be good at reducing cholesterol levels.
Being active and losing weight go hand in hand. If you start to exercise regularly, you're more than likely going to lose weight. Losing the pounds is not easy by any means, but it's worthwhile. Maintaining a healthy body weight lowers your risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and of course, heart disease and high cholesterol.
Cutting down on alcohol can also help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health in other ways. The government recommends drinking no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. To scratch the itch of settling down in the evening for a nice beverage, opt for alcohol-free products instead. Thomson & Scott make a great alcohol-free sparkling wine, and St. Peter's make alcohol-free beer - all vegan, too!
Cholesterol is only found in foods that come from animals, which means that plant foods are safe! If you add more plant foods to your diet, you are going to get a whole load of nutrients and vitamins that will benefit you in more ways than one. Switching to an entirely plant-based diet might be helpful if you're worried about your cholesterol levels. Studies have found that plant-based diets lower cholesterol more effectively than other diets.
Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to lower your cholesterol levels and improve your health overall really. Within a year of quitting, your risk of heart disease will be halved!
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