Keeping your cholesterol at a healthy level is so important for optimum heart function. Cholesterol is a type of fat found in the blood. We all need a certain amount so our body can produce hormones but too much can be detrimental to your health. Too much in the blood can stick to the walls of our arteries and form a plaque which can narrow or block the artery. This causes stress to the heart by making it work so much harder to pump blood around the body. This in turn can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, which are some of the biggest killers in Ireland among both women and men.



So what can we do to prevent this? Quitting smoking is a huge first step. Smoking is so destructive for general health but in particular for the heart and lungs. It can cause serious long term problems. Quitting smoking immediately gives you a better chance.
Exercise: It crops up in almost every post we have but the importance of exercise is definitely undeniable. It has a range of benefits, in particular for cardio/heart health. Getting outdoors in particular, even just walking can have great benefits for heart health. Remember if you haven’t been previously physically active, build up your tolerance levels very slowly and seek professional advice if you are unsure.
Diet: In particular the body needs heart healthy fats which may help lower cholesterol levels naturally. Heart healthy fats may help lower the inflammatory levels of LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is also known as the “bad” cholesterol, which is the one everyone knows about, the one which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. You can make small dietary changes which may help.


Some healthy foods to include in your diet are things like olive oil, whole grain foods, fatty fish, chia seeds and flax seeds. Having a balanced and varied diet is key to getting all the healthy nutrition your body needs. Staying AWAY from deep fried fatty foods, trans fats and excess sugar will also give you a better chance at having a healthier level of cholesterol.


Supplements:
A good omega 3 oil may help balance cholesterol levels. Make sure you are taking a high quality oil however and also check with your doctor, particularly if you are on blood thinning medication or any other serious medication. Look for one with high EPA DHA levels.
Plant sterols: Consuming plant sterols in a dosage five times higher than the average dietary level, contributes to a significant decrease in the blood LDL cholesterol level. It is a natural alternative that may help decrease cholesterol levels. Our most popular plant sterol supplement is Zerochol. Please again ensure you speak to a doctor in particular if you are on any cholesterol medication as its important not to take both at the same time. Also if you are taking any other medication for seperate health reasons.


Lecithin granules: The Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids found in these granules are believed to help maintain normal cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health. This product contains lecithin extracted from non GM soya crops with granules of the highest quality which contain no additives. The granules have a pleasant, nutty flavour and can be eaten on their own or used as a thickening agent to help bind mixtures and create smooth blends in soups, sauces and dressings without impairing the flavour. Its really easy to add to your normal diet.
If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol it is important to run any alternative treatment by your doctor to ensure your safety. If you are unsure of anything don’t be afraid to ask and ask again, its your health so don’t shy away from it. Take care of yourself and don’t wait until it becomes a problem! Prevention is key, especially in such a serious matter.