Healthy Cholesterol Levels Matter
Unhealthy cholesterol levels can lead to severe complications like strokes and heart disease. Cholesterol is a lipoprotein made up of fats and proteins. The substance is present in the blood and helps with hormones, vitamins, and cell health. Too much low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and insufficient high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol lead to plaque buildup in the arteries. There are drugs, like statins, that doctors can recommend to control cholesterol. However, healthy eating is one of the best long-term solutions to managing cholesterol levels.
Switching up your diet
The liver produces most of the cholesterol the body needs, and the rest comes from food. But the typical American diet contains excessive amounts of trans fats that spike cholesterol levels. Obesity, another epidemic, adds to the issue, causing a dangerous cycle. Adopting a healthy diet is the best way to influence cholesterol levels. A dietician can help recommend a diet with more vegetables, healthy fats, lean meats, and whole grains. For instance, the traditional Mediterranean diet can reduce LDL levels over time.
How long does it take to see results?
Diet is the best way to improve cholesterol levels, but this is not an overnight fix. Several factors impact how quickly cholesterol levels change. These factors include overall health, age, and what diet plan people follow. Current cholesterol levels also determine how fast someone sees results. However, there are some ways for quick wins. People on plant-based diets, for instance, found that cholesterol fell in as little as 4 weeks. True, long-term changes can take between 3-6 months, which gives the body enough time to process excess cholesterol.
Tips to speed things up
These results vary based on consistency, positive habits, and healthy food sources. But the fact remains that a healthy, low-fat, high-fiber diet is the way to go. While changing what is on the plate helps, this may not be enough. Healthy habits like exercise and stress reduction can help. Losing as little as 10 pounds can significantly dent unhealthy cholesterol levels. High sugar intake, smoking, and alcohol also inadvertently increase cholesterol. Making healthy changes can be difficult, so get as much support as possible.
Make food your medicine
Age, fitness levels, and even genetics change LDL and HDL cholesterol. For anyone with unhealthy levels, diet is the best way for long-term change. The type of diet and consistency determines how quickly food can impact cholesterol levels. Some people see noticeable changes in lipid panels in as little as 30 days. Most will take at least 3 months. The right help from nutritionists, doctors, and loved ones is the key to success.