Save Your Life: Lower Your Cholesterol

I’m just going to come out and say it… There’s no substitute for a good diet, regular exercise, and a healthy lifestyle. I say this because in our fast paced modern world we’ve developed something of a quick-fix mentality, we’ve become obsessed with short cuts. In a world of fad diets and “miracle” weight loss pills, a multi-million dollar industry has grown out of our desire to circumvent our obligation to keep our bodies fit and healthy by throwing money at pre-packaged “solutions”. Sorry folks, but while science has brought us many wonderful ways to enrich our diet with supplements, and international haulage has made it easier than ever for us to enjoy delicious fruits and vegetables from all over the world… Good health is not something we can just pick up off a supermarket shelf.

Image credit

 

That said, low cholesterol is still far more easily than most people think. It’s simply a matter of eating the right foods, avoiding the wrong foods and keeping your heart healthy with regular cardiovascular exercise.

 

There’s no shame in supplements

 

Generally, I don’t recommend miracle weight loss pills or pharmaceutical weight loss solutions like Olestra (unless you want to have oil seeping out of your butt- seriously, that happens!). However, there’s a universe of difference between a weight loss pills and supplements. Intensive farming techniques and genetic modification mean that the food that we buy and consume tends to be less nutrient rich. While you can make up for this somewhat by buying organic, it’s not always cost effective. Supplements are a great way of enhancing the effectiveness of a healthy diet and there are natural supplements on the market to help you lower your cholesterol. Check out cholesloreview.com for more information, and remember that these supplements are intended to assist in a healthy diet, not supplant it in the same way that flossing or using mouthwash isn’t a substitute for brushing your teeth.

 

Knowing the dangers

 

It’s vitally important to understand the dangers of high cholesterol. While the term may be familiar to many of us, we’re not all aware that cholesterol could be a matter of life or death. High cholesterol levels increase your risk of heart attacks as well as peripheral artery conditions like strokes and angina.

 

Cholesterol in the blood causes plaque buildup within the arteries. Yup, that’s right, the stuff your dentist warned you about is building up in your arteries as well. Over time this decreases blood flow and impairs the function of the cells and organs that your blood needs to keep supplied with oxygen. High cholesterol also affects your digestive system. It can create an imbalance of bile leading to potentially agonizing gallstones. In extreme cases, the lack of blood-flow to the extremities can even lead to tissue death (gangrene). Horrible!

 

The good news is that as terrible as these symptoms are they are the result of years of negligence and we can reverse the damage we do by paying close attention to what we eat.

Foods to approach with caution

Image credit

 

The most obvious culprits are processed foods that are high in sugar, salt, and saturated fats. While many of us are aware of the risks presented by a diet packed with processed convenience foods, many of us are unaware of just how ubiquitous saturated fats are. They lurk in all manner of go-to foods from pepperoni to snack cakes.

 

Even some vaunted health foods should be treated with caution. A great many manufacturers lean heavily on how their products raise HDL or “good cholesterol”, little mentioning that they can also raise HDL or “bad cholesterol”. While nobody’s expecting you to omit these foods from your diet forever, they should be used in moderation or enjoyed as an occasional treat.

 

  • Butter
  • Margarines
  • Lard, and goose fat
  • Fatty meat products such as sausages, bacon and processed meats like pepperoni.
  • Full fat cheeses, milk, cream and yogurt
  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut milk and cream
  • Palm oil

 

Just because you’ve reduced your consumption of these foods, though, doesn’t mean that you’re limited to munching on kale for the rest of your life. While green veggies are amazing for general good health there are a great many wonderful foods to enjoy while lowering your cholesterol.

 

Eat your way to lower cholesterol

Captivo Picture 1376

Image by Pexels

 

Although foods rich in saturated fats are way too easy to come by, delicious foods that actively lower your cholesterol are also inexpensive and easy to find. Veggies or vegans may have the inside track here. In the absence of meat, dairy and fish; many of the foods that they already consume regularly for their healthy fats, protein, and fiber, as well as soy based dairy alternatives are proven to battle high cholesterol. You can enjoy these foods safely in the knowledge that they’re helping you to reduce your cholesterol:

 

  • Oats and oatmeal (still the breakfast of champions)
  • Barley and other whole grains
  • Quinoa
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Eggplant and okra
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Vegetable oils
  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits

 

Stick to these foods and cut down on the saturated fats, and you’ll be well on your way to low cholesterol and good health. But as we know, while a good diet is crucial to good health, it’s also important to supplement it with regular exercise.

 

Exercises to keep your heart healthy

 

While it’s absolutely true that any exercise is better than no exercise, some exercises are better for your heart’s health than others. Maintaining a healthy heart and cardiovascular system is vital in combating the symptoms of high cholesterol. Cardiovascular activity like running, jogging, cycling or using a step or rowing machine at the gym is all good but weights enthusiasts will be delighted to know that lifting can also improve your heart health.

 

When lifting weights, it’s important to remember that compound exercises (which use more than one muscle group at a time) give your heart a better workout. Squats, deadlifts, pull ups, bench presses and bent over rows are great examples of these.

 

Interval training (short bursts of high-intensity exercise between ‘cool downs’ of low-intensity exercise are unparalleled in their ability to burn fat and give your cardiovascular / respiratory system a great workout.

Pressures We Can Place On Ourselves During The Summer Months

Summer is a great time of year. A chance to spend time outside and enjoy the sunshine, while basking the great outdoors with family and friends. However, it can also be a time where the pressure is placed on you from all different directions. The magazines and gossip sites are filled with celebrities looking picture perfect in their skimpy bikinis. The desire to lose weight, get fitter and healthier and look out best is increased, and we can all crack under pressure we place on ourselves at this time of year. I thought I would share some of the most common issues we can all face and hopefully give you some clarity on how to deal with it.

Sourced

 

Getting fitter

 

Being fit is a great lifestyle choice to embark on. Having more energy to do the things you love without feeling tired or getting out of breath can be a revelation. But we can also put too much pressure on ourselves and set unrealistic targets. This can then demotivate you on your quest for a better quality of life. We may have all heard the common phrase “no pain no gain” but honestly this can hinder your chances as this website points out. When it comes to increasing your fitness levels, the best advice would be to focus on being more active. Choose to walk more and be outside in the fresh air, consider parking further away from your destination to encourage you to walk. Head out for a run or simply try and make exercise a priority just a few times a week. You will notice a huge difference by just taking things at a slower pace.

 

Changing your diet

 

Your diet is another area you may feel pressurized to change during the summer. On the quest to lose weight or feel better on the inside, you may feel pressured to eat more vegetables and salads. This, of course, won’t ever be a bad thing. But mentally you may be trying too hard or denying yourself other foods which are equally important to a balanced diet. Focus on just eating a range of the food groups to ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to thrive.

 

Striving for that bikini body

 

Too many of us will see airbrushed pictures in the press and focus on how your body looks in comparison, but these can often not be a true image. This can then place pressure on you to mess with your diet and cut out vital foods like carbohydrates. It may cause you to go to extremes when it comes to fitness or simply become obsessed by achieving an unrealistic visual. Instead, focus on you and what you want and need. Be happy in your own skin and celebrate your body shape.

 

Looking picture perfect at all times

 

Finally, summer doesn’t always lend itself to looking picture perfect at all times. There will be points of the day where you feel hot and sweaty, there may be times you won’t be able to wear your makeup or the clothes you want. Embrace the good weather and go with the flow. Happiness is the best ingredient for looking picture perfect.

Oh No! You’ve Got A Cold Sore

Nobody wants to wake up in the morning and see a cold sore in the mirror. That can seem like the end of the world for some people because they understand what it means. Cold sores are symptoms of the herpes virus which unless medicine improves, will stay with you for the rest of your life. Still, there is no need to worry because some estimates suggest around 50% of human beings carry the infection. It’s not something that’s going to send you to an early grave in most instances. Even so, it can cause some issues, and unsightly cold sores like you have now. So, what do you do when that happens to you? I’ll do my best to offer advice.

Photo

 

Visit your doctor to get checked out

 

The first thing you need to do is book an appointment to see your doctor. Explain the issue, and allow them to perform some tests. Nine times out of ten, they are going to tell you that you’ve contracted a form of herpes. It’s vital you remember that the type of virus that causes your cold sore isn’t the same as that which could affect genitals. It’s just from the same family of conditions. Your doctor should provide you with some information about what you need to do and which medications you need to take. While there is no guaranteed herpes cure, you can find excellent info online for managing the condition. So, you might want to perform some research when you get home to put your mind at ease.

Photo

 

Use specialist creams and gels

 

Your research should point you in the direction of many different products all claiming to make herpes better. Be careful which brand you select and where you choose to spend your money. Some products are going to produce better results than others. Considering that, you might want to ask for some advice from your pharmacist. You should also make sure you work towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Treating cold sores is often a real pain because they tend to occur in the corners of your mouth. That means any solutions you apply to the skin get washed away quickly. Still, you just need to follow the instructions and keep using the products.

Photo

 

Avoid skin to skin contact with other people

 

This is the most important piece of advice on this page. Now, if you have cold sores, you will probably pass the herpes infection to your partner. So, you need to ensure you’re careful about skin to skin contact while the cold sore is still there. That includes contact where your mouth touches any part of your partner’s body. Of course, you might have caught the virus from your loved one in the first place. For that reason, it’s sensible for them to get checked out too.

 

Cold sores are often unsightly, and they can make ladies feel self-conscious. However, you can usually conceal them using some makeup products. I don’t advise you do that because it could extend the healing process. Still, cold sores are nothing to stress about these days. As I have already said, almost 50% of the population will have them at one time or another. You just need to use special creams and gels to help reduce the discomfort you feel.

Healthy Habits For Life

When it comes to your long-term health, getting into the right habits really does make all the difference. The whole point of a habit is that it is something that is very difficult to break. A lot of the time, we naturally associate the word ‘habit’ with the word ‘bad’, so taking back the word to mean something positive should be your first aim! With health and fitness, people often tend to set short-term goals. They may go on a fad diet for a few weeks or go through a sudden burst of exercise to get beach body ready. But, in reality, you are much better off focusing your energy on developing some good long-term habits. Wondering what some of these are? Well, wonder no more!

 

Eat Breakfast Every Day

Photo Credit

 

Far too many of us don’t eat breakfast in the morning, so if this is you, it is time to make a change. People who eat this morning meal tend to take in more vitamins and minerals and reduce their cholesterol count. They are also less likely to overeat during the day. There is no single ‘perfect’ breakfast that you need to eat every day, but you should be aiming for something which includes some carbohydrates, protein and a small amount of fat. Though this may be a tricky habit to begin with since your body won’t be used to eating in the morning, it is beneficial in the long run.

 

Get Enough Sleep

Photo Credit

 

This one sounds simple enough, but a huge number of people don’t get the sleep they need which is so important in your physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation can affect memory, learning and logical reasoning. Not only this, if you are tired, you are a lot less likely to have the motivation you need to continue exercising on a regular basis. A major issue that people are having these days is that they are continually surrounded by screens. Studies have found that if you are staring at a screen just before you go to bed, this can affect your body’s serotonin production which is the sleep hormone. Try having a no screens policy in the bedroom to see what a difference this could make.

 

Set Your Exercise Times

Photo Credit

 

Obviously, there are no guarantees when it comes to your health which is why you need to learn more about the insurance options that are available to you, but exercising on a regular basis is one of the best ways to maintain your long-term health. As we have talked about at the start, the problem comes when people don’t commit themselves to exercise on a long-term basis. That is why you should set yourself certain times of the week to exercise and stick to them as closely as possible. If you have already set aside time for yourself to work out, this will become a fixture of your schedule. If you are struggling for exercise motivation, there are plenty of ways that you can maintain it including getting a workout buddy, setting yourself goals and varying up your routines.

 

Protect Your Skin

Photo Credit

 

A lot of people don’t give their skin the attention it deserves, which is bad considering how important is is to our overall health and wellbeing. The UV rays from the sun are always a risk, so you should always wear sunscreen even on cloudy days. If you struggle to remember to put this on all the time, you should use a moisturiser with an SPF factor so it becomes a normal part of your skincare routine. Overexposure to the sun can cause sunburn, skin texture changes, dilated blood vessels and skin cancer.

 

Drink Plenty of Water (and Tea)

Photo Credit

 

Drinking plenty of water is essential to your wellbeing. If you are one of those people who often forgets, you could try keeping a refillable water bottle in your bag and set reminders on your phone telling you to drink water every couple of hours. There are so many reasons why the body needs to get enough water, but essentially, your joints need it to stay in motion, and your brain, heart, kidneys and liver need it to function properly. Rather than going for your usual cup of coffee in the morning, you could instead try drinking tea which has been shown to have a whole myriad of health properties.

 

Though there are plenty more healthy habits you could get into, this guide provides you with a good overview of some of the main ones.          

2017 is the Year about ME!! #healthy #fitbit #walking

 

 

I started about three months ago walking my 10000 steps a day. This has really changed my life. I have lost 10 pounds and now have set a new goal. Each day I do the steps, I make a conscience decision to not only eat better but drink plenty of water.

I am going to share my list of how and what I did to become healthier and my goal to continue it for this year.

  1. I wake up each morning and thank the Lord! I am always in a better mood after I say my morning prayer. I love spending a few minutes a day on my knees thanking the Lord for allowing me another day.
  2. Get dressed and get moving. I have realized if I don’t get up to an alarm clock and immediately get up and get moving, I tend to start trying to make excuses to not do my morning walk.
  3. Have a group of friends to compete with. I found some of my Facebook friends that also have a Fitbit and we challenge each other to daily showdowns, weekly showdowns and even weekend showdowns.
  4. Drink water. This is one of those I hated at first. Now I love it, I received a yeti cup for my birthday and I keep it full of water. This helps me reach my daily water goal.
  5. Do not eat or drink anything other than water after 6:00. This isn’t that hard, I chose to do this because I found that my husband and I love to snack at night and that was not helping me reach my goal!
  6. Keep moving, I use my fitbit to challenge me to move so many steps each hour. This keeps me active all day long.
  7.  Walk somewhere safe and beautiful. I choose to walk along the beach road because the water is so soothing.

These are the steps I took to help with my healthier me! Although I am not anywhere near where I want to be I am heading in the right direction. Now I have another goal this year and that is to be more involved in the church. I want to be a better Christian. I will be sharing this in a later blog!