Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance, and you do need certain amounts of it to function, but too much can lead to serious health problems. The waxy, fatty substance can build up in your arteries and increase your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
There are two types of cholesterol: LDL, which is sometimes called the bad cholesterol, and HDL, sometimes called the good cholesterol. Men and women can be predisposed to having higher levels of LDL cholesterol due to their genetics, but a lot of day-to-day behaviors can also contribute to high levels of LDL cholesterol.
Sameer Ohri, MD, in Corona, California, specializes in helping patients keep their cholesterol levels down. In this blog, he discusses three bad habits that can lead to high cholesterol levels and ways you can overcome them.
1. Making the wrong dietary choices
What you eat makes a big impact on your cholesterol levels. Foods that contain a lot of saturated or trans fats can send your cholesterol skyrocketing in minutes. Some of the most impactful foods on your cholesterol levels include:
- Red meat and full-fat dairy products
- Store-bought cookies and cakes that contain trans fats
- Foods containing lots of salt
To keep your cholesterol down, watch your snacking choices during the holidays. Choose lean white meats, fruits, and vegetables, and keep the salt content in your diet to moderate amounts.
2. Not getting enough exercise
Travel and family time can make it hard to stick to a regular exercise routine, but it’s important to keep yourself moving during the holidays. Exercise can increase your levels of HDL cholesterol and counteract some of the negative impacts of LDL cholesterol.
Exercising for 30-40 minutes several times a week can keep your cholesterol levels in check. Since obesity can increase your risk of developing high cholesterol, exercising regularly can help lower your cholesterol, get you healthier overall, and give you a slimmer profile.
Smoking cigarettes weakens the walls of blood vessels, making it easier for fatty deposits to form on them. Furthermore, some studies have shown that smoking may lower your good HDL cholesterol as well. To maximize your efforts to lower your cholesterol, cut back on smoking or quit altogether. Dr. Ohri can provide support to help you quit.
Some of the causes of high cholesterol, such as aging and genetics, are out of your control. Because of this, it’s all the more important to make changes that are under your control to lower your cholesterol, such as quitting smoking, eating right, and exercising.
To see if you have high cholesterol or to get support and treatment if you do, book an appointment online or over the phone with Sameer Ohri, MD today.