It’s a word that’s bandied about quite a bit, but what exactly is cholesterol and why do we need to reduce it? October is National Cholesterol Month, so to mark this important date in the health calendar before it’s over, we’re going to attempt to demystify cholesterol as well as offer some helpful tips on how to lower yours and keep it low. And we can even help you save money on your healthier foods with Holland and Barratt voucher codes and other online discounts…
What is Cholesterol and Why is it Bad?
We’re constantly told we have to reduce our cholesterol, but in many of these guides and articles we’re not often told exactly what cholesterol is, why it is in our bodies in the first place and why too much of it can be a bad thing. As with all health matters, it best to turn to the trusty NHS site for the lowdown and here you’ll discover that cholesterol is actually a fatty substance made by the liver and is vital to the functioning of your body. The problems arise when your body has too much cholesterol for your cells to use. Cholesterol is usually carried to the cells that need it by your low-density lipoproteins, but when there’s too much of the stuff, it can clog up artery walls. This restricts the blood flow to your heart, increasing your risk of developing serious health conditions such as strokes and heart attacks and developing blood clots.
So in short, cholesterol is actually a good thing, but only in the correct amounts.
It must be noted there are could be many different reasons why a person has high cholesterol and some of these are much easier to rectify than others. We’ll mainly be looking at those associated with diet and exercise, but high cholesterol can also be a result of diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of heart disease, and if you are affected by any of these then it’s important to seek advice from a medical practitioner.
Cutting down on saturated fats – This is one of the easiest ways to help lower your cholesterol as saturated fats are a key contributor to higher cholesterol levels. This means cutting back on foods such as sausages and other fatty meats, cakes and biscuits, hard cheeses and foods containing palm oil or coconut oil. But not all fats are bad when it comes to cholesterol levels – unsaturated fats such as those found in oily fish, nuts and vegetable oils can act as a healthier alternative in small amounts. You can use Holland and Barratt voucher codes to choose from a wide selection of nuts and seeds to include in your diet, or Simply Cook promo codes can help you plan your meals more effectively to achieve a better balance.
Achieving a more active lifestyle – Including moderate aerobic activity into your daily and weekly routine is another way to reduce your cholesterol levels. This doesn’t have to be particularly strenuous exercise (although that will obviously help a lot too), but can mean walking more on a regular basis, or cycling a couple of times a week instead of driving. Start by getting off the bus a stop earlier, or taking the stairs instead of the lift or escalator and you can build up from there. And if you want to get more serious about your exercise, Pay as U Gym discount vouchers can offer a better value alternative to standard gym membership.
So make a few changes before National Cholesterol Month is over for another year and you could well find your health in much better shape before 2016 is out.
By Anna Scott, 24th October 2016