National Cholesterol Education Month
September is National Cholesterol Education Month – a month dedicated to educating individuals about the risk of heart disease and how to improve cardiovascular health. Not all cholesterol is bad, your body needs cholesterol to maintain your health and perform important bodily functions. So, what can we do to improve our cholesterol levels and heart health? Read below to find out.
Good vs Bad Cholesterol: HDL is the “good” cholesterol and LDL is the “bad” cholesterol. You can remember this by thinking “high – HDL” and “low – LDL.” Consuming foods high in fiber, whole grains, and heart healthy fats, like fish and walnuts, will help improve HDL levels. Having more plant centric or plant-based foods will also help raise HDL levels. High levels of HDL cholesterol can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
You can eat foods with cholesterol: Not all foods that contain cholesterol will make your own cholesterol levels go up. Typically, foods high in saturated fat and added sugars will increase “bad” cholesterol levels. Aim to eat foods that are high in fiber like beans and legumes, and healthy unsaturated fats like avocados, olive oil, nuts, and fish.
Be Active: Physical activity and participating in some form of movement can benefit healthy cholesterol levels. Find activities you love to do and involve friends and family! Any activity works: walking, swimming, dancing, gardening, yoga, running, hiking, kayaking – the options are endless. It is important to find something you enjoy doing.