September is National Cholesterol Awareness Month. Knowing some of the most basic facts about cholesterol could save your life.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance that can be found in your blood and foods. A typical blood test to determine “healthy” or “unhealthy” cholesterol levels include testing the following 3 levels:
- Good Cholesterol – Known as your HDLs; these numbers should be 35mg/DL or higher.
- Bad Cholesterol – Known as your LDLs; your number should be less than 110mg/DL.
- Triglycerides – Triglycerides are not actually cholesterol but a fat that is carried into the bloodstream from foods. Here is a guide to the acceptable Triglyceride levels you want. The goal is 150mg/DL or lower.
Your overall cholesterol levels should equal less than 170mg/DL
Cholesterol Awareness through Healthy Cooking
There’s no question that what you eat can affect your cholesterol levels.
- Cooking Healthy – As we age we may find that we are less likely to or less able to cook meals on a regular basis. Because healthy eating plays a huge part in being healthy, a caregiver can be very helpful making healthy, home cooked meals. Check out this free healthy recipes cookbook.
- Portion Control – It is very important to understand what a portion size looks like when eating. Pay close attention to food nutrition labels and know what suggested portions are for typical foods.
What Increases Your Risk for High Cholesterol?
- Sedentary Lifestyle
- Poor Diet
- Overweight / Obesity
- Hypertension / High Blood Pressure
High Cholesterol is Treatable
Part of taking action in learning more about cholesterol awareness is to understand that you can take action to reduce your numbers. Talk to your physician to see if lifestyle changes are enough to help you reduce your cholesterol.
- Healthy Cooking – Learn how to cook to lower your cholesterol with these healthy recipes.
- Increase Dietary Fiber – All fiber is not equal, so it’s important to be educated about the different types of fiber and which fiber is best for reducing cholesterol.
- Exercise – As little as 2 ½ hours a week of activity can help you reduce your cholesterol levels.
- Supplements – The best source for cholesterol reduction is to eat healthy, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise regularly. However, some supplements may be helpful. Take this quick online quiz to see which supplements may help.
- Medication – You have to weigh the positives and the negatives when it comes to pharmaceuticals. The American Heart Association offers an excellent resource about cholesterol medications.
Learn how you can make the choices and decisions that could save your life. We have many resources to help you become more informed while making your life easier as we bring cholesterol awareness to the forefront.
Photo by Arc-light