4 Steps to begin a Heart Healthy Lifestyle!
September is National Cholesterol Education Month, a good time to get your blood cholesterol checked and take steps to lower it if it is high. This is also a good time to lean about lipid profiles and about food and lifestyle choice that could help you reach personal cholesterol goals. Once you have the results of your check up, start making these goals. Whether it’s to keep your cholesterol in the clear, or work at lowering it by December, you make the goals that help you!
High blood cholesterol affects over 65 million Americans. It is a serious condition that increases your risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. These risks are also contributed by the narrowing and hardening of the arteries called atherosclerosis.
Remember: The higher your cholesterol, the greater you are at risk! The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers helpful resources to use during September: National Cholesterol Education Month.
Today we will just talk about 4 steps to start lowering your cholesterol!
1. Cut Back on foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.
Saturated Fat is found in foods such as high-fat meats, cheese, milk, and butter.
Trans Fat is found in founds like vegetable shortening, stick margarine, fried foods, and baked products (cookies, crackers, pies, pastries).
2. Read the Nutritional Facts label to make smart choices.
The labels on the back of foods tell you how much Saturated Fat and Trans Fat and even the Cholesterol is in a product.
3. Be physically active for 30 – 60 minutes on most days.
It’s ok if you can’t do this at first. Slowly build your stamina until you can 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week.
4. Aim for a Healthy Weight. You will learn what is “overweight” after your check up with the doctor.
Once you figure what is considered overweight and where you stand on the spectrum, it is best to add a weight goal along with your lower cholesterol goals. You may find these goals will work side by side!
Remember, knowing your numbers will give perspective and awareness. Although the month is almost over, take September as a time for reflection and motivation to lower your risks.