We all want to be heart-healthy, and ensuring healthy levels of cholesterol — a fat, or lipid, carried through the bloodstream — is the first step.
Low-density lipoprotein or LDL (bad) cholesterol contributes to plaque buildup along with triglycerides, another lipid. High-density lipoprotein or HDL (good) cholesterol discourages plaque buildup. Plaque can threaten the blood supply to the heart, brain, legs or kidneys, leading to heart attack, stroke or even death.
To reduce your risk for heart-related emergencies, registered dietitian Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CCSD, LD, and exercise physiologist Michael Crawford, MS, share 10 tips — five for lowering cholesterol through diet and five for making the most of exercise:
- Cut back on animal fats
- Make friends with fiber
- Go veggie
- Be mindful of carbs
- Lose weight
- Move more
- Pick the right tempo
Note: If you have heart disease, check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. A cardiac rehab program is a great way to learn the right exercises for you and jump-start your diet and exercise program. If you experience chest pain, pressure, tightness, excessive shortness of breath, lightheadedness or palpitations, stop exercising and consult a doctor.