Control Your Cholesterol

In the pharmaceutical era we live in, Americans are far too eager these days to quickly solve health problems with magic pills, rather than conventional lifestyle modifications. High cholesterol is an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease, especially high LDL cholesterol, the so called “bad” cholesterol. 85% of cholesterol in your blood is produced by the body; the other 15% comes from food. Now, while genetics may play a strong role in your natural cholesterol levels, there are dozens of alternatives for managing it instead of medication, despite the pharmaceutical industry’s sincerest influences. There are many ways to lower bad LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol. Cholesterol levels can be easily checked by your general practitioner with simple blood tests. According to the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), ideal total cholesterol levels should be under 200 mg/dl. 200 is the sum of your LDL and HDL. Optimal LDL levels should be 100 or less. However, a high HDL level of 60 or more can negate some of the health risks of a high LDL.

The following are a list of measures proven effective to improve cholesterol levels in controlled clinical trials: Exercise – consistent aerobic exercise, Alcohol – 1 -2 drinks a day, especially red wine (exceeding this amount however eliminates any benefit), Weight loss – achieved through diet and exercise, Yoga – shown to lower LDL levels after 3 months or more, Smoking cessation – LDL levels are shown to be higher in smokers. Smoking is also an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease.

So before adding another medication, try limiting your dietary cholesterol consumption at dinner, enjoy a glass or two of wine with that, take a walk afterwards, followed up by some light stretching and perhaps everything else will fall into place!