Let’s face it, high cholesterol is everywhere. In our high fat, fast food, right now society, we have let our dietary and exercise habits slip and as a result, many of us have cholesterol higher than our body would like. Unfortunately, it’s not going to get any better this holiday season with all the yummy foods, holiday parties, baked goods, and banquets of cheer. Here are some simple tips to help you stay focused and keep your cholesterol in check while celebrating this December.
1) Recognize LDL from HDL cholesterol. HDL is the ‘better’ version that picks up cholesterol out in your arteries and brings it back to your liver for processing. Focus on increasing this.
2) Exercise – seems like a no-brainer but it raises HDL (see above) and burns up fat surrounding your belly and organs. After a night of heavy foods, go for a walk in the morning or do some weight training the next day.
3) Increase your fiber – this helps to pull cholesterol out of your system. Eat your oatmeal (without extra sugar), grind up flax seeds, go for high fiber fruits and vegetables, or take your fiber replacement drink everyday.
4) Eat your antioxidants – the great thing about holiday food is that it often involves A LOT of it! Choose the good with the bad by eating salads, cranberries, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and all those yummy choices first before you head for the desserts.
5) Limit the bad – but still eat it. Try for broccoli without cheese on top. Eat a sweet potato with a touch of butter instead of a tub of margarine. Opt for olive oil and vinegar on your salad. Use gravy but sparingly. Head for a glass of red wine instead of a cup of fat-filled egg nog.
6) Enjoy the leftovers in a healthy manner – put turkey over a salad or in a vegetable soup. Mix steamed vegetables into your stuffing or casserole for added nutrients.
7) Release your stress – because it’s probably high. We all know that holidays involve time, money, and family which often equates into higher stress. Focus on you a little bit everyday and say ‘no’ more often. Recognize your boundaries and what you are willing to give- up or keep this season.
8) Laugh like crazy!