If your cholesterol levels tend to swing from not-so-healthy to healthy and then back again, it’s easy to feel like nothing you do makes a difference. But managing cholesterol is possible – and it doesn’t even have to be a challenge. The secret? Establishing a good routine that helps you control cholesterol in small, easy ways throughout the week.
The golden rules of controlling high cholesterol levels
- There’s no one thing that will fix your cholesterol levels. Rather, it’s important to try a combination of things to control cholesterol.
- If something works, stick with it. Once you’ve reached your target cholesterol levels, it’s important to keep up the good work – if you stop making an effort, they can sneak back up again. Stay strong!
- Keep tracking your levels. Book regular cholesterol tests to check on your progress.
- A healthy cholesterol isn’t the only goal. High cholesterol is just one of the risk factors of heart disease – there are other things to take into account, like raised blood pressure, smoking, being overweight, diabetes and more. Find out more about the causes of heart disease here.
How to control cholesterol levels
Whether your goal is controlling high cholesterol levels, or simply maintaining healthy levels, there are plenty of things that can help. Here’s our round-up – simply click the links to find out more!
Eat cholesterol lowering foods: If you’re trying to lower your cholesterol, it’s worth adding some foods proven to lower cholesterol to your diet. This includes foods with added ‘plant sterols’, like ProActiv spreads, milks and yogurt drinks: eating 1.5 to 2.5g of plant sterols can lower cholesterol by 7-10% in 2-3 weeks*.
Do some healthy fat swaps: Avoid saturated fatty foods, such as fatty meats and meat products, full-fat dairy, cakes, biscuits and pastries. At the same time, try to eat more foods that are high in ‘good’ unsaturated fat, such as oily fish, vegetable oils, avocados, nuts, and seeds. For more info on controlling cholesterol through healthy fat swaps, take a look at this handy guide.
Keep your overall diet balanced: This part’s important – if you want the dietary changes above to have the best possible impact, your diet needs to be healthy, balanced, and varied, with plenty of fruit, veg, and fibre. Find out more here.
Maintain a healthy weight through diet and physical activity: Once you’ve reached a healthy cholesterol level, it’s important to maintain it. One good way is to make sure you’re at a healthy weight – if you’re overweight, you’re more likely to have raised cholesterol levels. Don’t be afraid to get some professional advice from your GP if you struggle with this, and remember that it’s tougher to stick to a weight loss regimen if you’re feeling stressed. Take time to relax, too.
- Keep it up! Now that you know how to control cholesterol naturally, through diet and lifestyle, it’s important to keep up the good work. Once these steps become habits, you won’t even notice you’re doing them.
While controlling cholesterol can feel quite tricky or intimidating to begin with, once you get into the swing of things, you’ll enjoy your new heart-healthy lifestyle. And if you need more help and support, why not start with our Cholesterol Lowering Starter Kit?
* Flora ProActiv contains plant sterols. A daily intake of 1.5 – 2.4g sterols can lower cholesterol by 7 – 10% in 2 – 3 weeks as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle including plenty of fruits and vegetables. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease. As coronary heart disease has many risk factors, more than one may need to be improved to reduce overall risk. Individual results may vary.