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3 Easy Ways to Keep Your Cholesterol in Check

Cholesterol has a bad reputation, but not all cholesterol is bad.  

Your cholesterol is measured by several numbers, and it can be confusing because there are both “good” and “bad” types of cholesterol, each with their own number ranges.

Dr. Michelle Tomlinson-Phelan and Dr. Catherine Schiano of Central Jersey Family Physicians see it as their duty to educate you about the role of cholesterol in your heart health and overall health. Their mission is to motivate and empower you to keep these levels on point.

What is cholesterol, anyway?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that hitches a ride on proteins that flow through your blood. 

High-density lipoprotein, or HDL cholesterol, is the good type. It serves as a physiological checks-and-balances system in your body because it transports excess cholesterol back to your liver for elimination

Low-density lipoprotein, also known as LDL cholesterol, is the harmful type that, when produced in excess, hardens and clogs your arteries. This leads to cardiovascular disease, which puts you at increased risk for heart attack and stroke. 

How to take charge of your cholesterol 

If Dr. Schiano or Dr. Tomlinson-Phelan discover that your bad cholesterol level is high, it’s a cause for concern, especially when combined with a low good cholesterol level. Although cholesterol-lowering drugs exist, they’ll advise you to also try lifestyle changes. 

Aside from regular exercise, here are three ways to improve your cholesterol levels:

1. Banish the butts

There are countless benefits to quitting smoking, like lowering your risk for cancer and type 2 diabetes, but it also lowers your cholesterol. 

And don’t get us wrong; we’re not saying that quitting is easy, but with determination and a little help, you can do it.

2. Make small changes to your diet

Your food choices make a real difference in your cholesterol levels. In addition to steering clear of fatty foods, try to make sure that your meals contain more whole foods and less highly processed ones. Think fatty fish, whole grains, and tons of fruits and veggies. 

You’ll automatically eliminate trans fats, which are quite harmful to your cholesterol levels: They raise your bad cholesterol and reduce your good cholesterol. 

3. Practice mindfulness

Stress has been found to affect cholesterol levels negatively, so it’s important to lower your stress levels — or approach stress differently — if you want to lower your cholesterol. This may sound a bit “woo-woo,” but compelling research exists to support this assertion. 

Fortunately, there are many healthy and enjoyable ways to combat stress. These include practicing yoga and tai chi, watching a funny film, or going for a walk with a friend. 

Commit to a lifestyle that supports healthy cholesterol levels

Make an appointment with Central Jersey Family Physicians to get your cholesterol checked and see what you can do to improve your numbers. Simply call our office at 732-257-1171. 

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