1.Know Your Numbers
Sometimes, it is as simple as 1-2-3-4. See your doctor to learn your cholesterol, blood pressure, triglyceride and blood sugar scores. Write them down somewhere you’ll remember them and schedule a follow-up appointment to track your progress.
2. Keep That Tail Wagging
Hanging with your furriest family member can keep stress levels down and the ticker healthy. Keep your heart pumping and your dog’s tail wagging with an extra walk everyday to benefit you both.
3. SLOW DOWN ON SALT
Consuming high amounts of sodium can cause your body to retain water, which puts an added strain on your heart and blood vessels. Stick to the recommended daily max, 2,300 mg of sodium (or 1 teaspoon), by steering clear of processed foods and adding flavour with spices, herbs, citrus, and flavoured vinegars.
4. JUST BREATHE
Set up a quiet, comfortable space in your home where you can sit for 3 minutes a day to meditate and breathe. Focus on positive thoughts as you slowly inhale and exhale to help calm your mind and body.
5. WHOLE GRAINS FOR BREAKFAST
Packed with dietary fiber and protein, whole grains— such as wheat bread, whole wheat flour, oatmeal, bulgur, popcorn, brown rice, quinoa, and farro—may help reduce LDL cholesterol and insulin levels.
Have a heart-healthy morning with this delicious whole-grain pancake recipe for a lower cholesterol:
- ½ c. all-purpose fl our
- ½ c. whole wheat fl our
- ½ c. quick-cooking oats
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1½ c. fat-free milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp. corn oil
In large bowl, combine fl ours, oats, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, egg, and oil; stir just until flour mixture is moistened (batter will be lumpy).
Spray 12-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat on medium 1 minute. Pour batter by scant 1/4 cups onto skillet, making about 4 pancakes at a time. Cook until tops are bubbly, some bubbles burst, and edges look dry. With spatula, turn pancakes and cook until undersides are golden. Transfer pancakes to platter. Cover, keep warm.
Repeat with remaining batter, using more nonstick cooking spray if necessary.
To serve, top with your favourite fruit (fresh or frozen).
6.Get Up And Move
If you sit at a desk all day, set an alarm on your watch or fitness tracker to remind yourself to get up, stretch, and move. Long bouts of inactivity can increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes, so taking mini-moving breaks every hour is a simple way to keep you happy and healthy.
7. Get Your Zzz’s
Make sleep a priority by keeping a sleep diary. Record your total amount of shuteye each evening while aiming to get the recommended 6-8 hours.
8. SHOP SMART
Manufactured forms of trans fat, or partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), will raise bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and lower the good ones (HDL). Check the labels on your packaged groceries and choose products with the lowest levels of saturated and trans fats.
9.TAKE THE SCENIC ROUTE
Keep blood pressure, heart rate, and tension levels down by driving on roads with fewer cars and views of nature. Cruise to your next destination free from phone calls, traffic, and stress. As you enjoy a calmer more pleasant ride (with a view).
10. Indulge In Red Wine & Dark Chocolate
Here’s to tasty treats with benefits! Flavonoids in cocoa can help lower blood pressure and antioxidants in red wine (called polyphenols) may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart and reduce “bad” cholesterol.
SWITCH YOUR COOKING OIL FOR LOWER CHOLESTEROL
A cholesterol-lowering champ, corn oil is amazingly versatile. Its neutral taste complements the flavours of food—perfect for stir-frying, sautéing, grilling and even baking. Plus, it offers so many benefits for maintaining heart health.
11.Cook For Lower Cholesterol
Cook up fatty fish like halibut, salmon, or trout for dinner 2X a week instead of beef. Fish, rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, may help lower your blood cholesterol level 9.For bonus points, sauté the fish in corn oil, which can help lower cholesterol more than extra virgin olive oil.
12.Know Your Fats
Choose oils with 2 grams or less of saturated fat per tablespoon and are high in polyunsaturated fats. Corn oil has 5X the amount of polyunsaturated fats as olive oil.
13.Power-Up With Plant Sterols
Eat more foods that contain plant sterols, which help reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the gut. Try an extra serving a day of fruits, legumes vegetables and corn oil, which has more cholesterol-blocking plant sterols than other cooking oils—4X more than olive oil and nearly 1.5X more than canola oil.
14.Try A Relaxing Hobby
Knitting, woodworking, cooking, etc. can help to relieve stress and do your ticker some good. Keeping your hands busy can help your mind unwind and take the edge off after a stressful day.
15. Be a Cleaning Machine
Put on your favourite music and do some cleaning in and around the house. Aerobic housework like vacuuming, sweeping, and shovelling snow will get your heart pumping, the calories burning, and leave you with a sense of accomplishment once you’ve checked those items off your to-do list.
16. RECRUIT A WORKOUT BUDDY
Maintain motivation by working out with friends or family. Challenge each other by aiming to get more steps each week and use your fitness trackers to keep you honest.
Sunflower seeds are a good source of polyunsaturated fats which may lower your cardiovascular risks.13 Pair with heart-healthy corn oil for a delicious simple snack:
Toss 2 cups of air-popped popcorn with ½ tsp. of corn oil. Sprinkle with ½ tsp. of Old Bay seasoning and 1 tbsp. of toasted shelled sunflower seeds, and toss again.
18.LOAD UP ON VEGGIES
Have a salad for lunch or snack smart throughout the day with fresh fruit and vegetables. In a 2014 study, researchers found that people who ate seven or more servings of veggies each day, compared to those who ate one serving or less, had a 31% lower risk of dying from heart disease.
19.GET YOUR DAILY DOSE OF GIGGLES
Laugh out loud at jokes, movies, memes or hang out with a funny friend. Laughter can reduce stress hormones, improve blood flow, and increase HDL, the “good cholesterol”.