4 Natural & Effective Ways to Lower Cholesterol

High cholesterol levels is something that effects around 31% of the human population. Having a cholesterol levels can lead to high blood pressure, angina and kidney diseases. In more serious cases it can lead to strokes and heart attacks. This is because cholesterol builds up in our arteries and blood vessels. Due to this build up, it leads to a narrower vessel hence the increase in blood pressure and the increase likelihood of blockages. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, today let’s discuss 4 ways for you to lower your cholesterol.

 

  1. Reduce the amount of saturated fats in your diet. This is because it contains high amounts of LDL. This is a type of cholesterol that is harmful for the body as it leaves build ups and is easily solidified in room temperature. Thus leading to narrower blood vessels in the body. We find saturated fats in many unhealthy foods such as pies, cakes and different types of pastries. This is because they are all made from some sort of animal products like butter and margarine. Another way to avoid food that contains high amount of saturated fats is to consume less processed meats. This is because it is often mixed with cuts of meat that contains high amount of animal fat.
  2. Consume food that is high in omega-3. Even though omega-3 is a fat it does not build up in the body as it is classified as an HDL. Think of it like this, omega-3 is the oil that keeps the mechanics well oiled. If everything in your body is well oiled, it’ll function smoothly and be kept in a better state. By keeping the arteries better oiled, it decreases the amount of plaque and fatty builds up from the LDL. As a result, even if you do have high cholesterol, it’ll lower your blood pressure. Leading to a lower likelihood of heart diseases.
  3. While we are sticking to recommended foods, it is highly recommended for people with high cholesterol to consume soluble fibres like beans, oats, citrus fruits and barley. This is because our body is not able to digest these foods. This create a small barrier where these soluble fibres are then attached to the cholesterol, preventing it from getting into the blood stream. In addition, soluble fibres helps your gut bacteria (probiotics) function better. So start consuming more fibre right now!
  4. Do some exercises. Research has shown that there is a direct correlation between exercise and lower cholesterol levels. This is because exercise stimulates a higher production of HDL levels. As we have mentioned it above, HDKL decreases the amount of plaque and fatty build ups in the arteries. As a recommendation, exercise 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. It can be anything from brisk walking to playing a sport that you enjoy.

 

Here are 4 tips on how to reduce cholesterol. Remember, it won’t be decreased overtime. Try these tips for a couple of months and retest your levels after. Sometimes it may take even longer. But I guarantee that if you stick to it, results will show over time!

 

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Morning Exercise Benefits

We have mentioned many times about the importance of consistent exercise. However, most of us just exercise whenever we want and do not have a set routine. But for results to show, it is best to be consistent. So is it better to work out in the morning or the evening?

Well in this first part, I would like to discuss the pros and cons of working out in the morning.

 

Positives:

  • Working out in the morning can give your day a kick start. Most of us are a bit slow in the morning. However, if we exercise first thing when we wake up, it’s a natural way to boost metabolism. It can be even more effective than coffee and it will provide you long lasting energy for the rest of the day.
  • You are more concentrated during the workout. When we exercise the first thing in the morning, we have no thoughts in our minds. Additionally, most people may not even be up by then so it is less likely that you will have distractions going on. This could be emails that you need to reply, text messages and phone calls. You will be more in the zone as many people are still asleep at that time during the day
  • Morning workouts have shown to improve the quality of your sleep. This is because your body will have had the whole day to settle down from the adrenaline and the endorphins. Additionally, it’ll help the body to release melatonin (a hormone that helps sleep cycle) earlier in the evening. Thus it will allow you to go to bed early and wake up early.
  • It burns more body fat than working out in the evening. This is because you are working out on an empty stomach. Our muscles need fuel for it to function. If we don’t have food in our stomach, our bodies will feed off what we have stored first. That first fuel source is fat.

 

Negatives:

  • Increase likelihood of injury. In the morning, your muscles and ligament are at its stiffest point. This is because while you were asleep, everything in your body would have been still for at least 6 hours. The best way to counter this is to do a thorough warm up before you start your work out. This way, you muscles will be able to function at its best.
  • You might to be able to perform as well as you would like. Again this relates to the point above being that your body is still in a rested states and joints aren’t functioning properly. Research has shown that the optimal muscle output is during the evening or late afternoon. This is due to the fact that your body has had the entire day to acclimatise to proper tension and movement. Again, to counter this problem is to do a very good workout to get everything functioning as well as it can in the morning.
  • Burnout may happen if we push ourselves way too hard. This is because the body is functioning at a high intensity on an empty stomach. I know it can be more effective at burning fat but pushing it over the line may be harmful. Your body may not be able to take it. So the best way to counter it, is to work out at 80% rather than 100%. This way, your body will avoid burnout but it is still effective.

 

This blog talked about the positives of doing an early workout. There are many great things about it such as more energy throughout the day, less distractions, improve sleeping quality and more effective in fat burning. However, if we don’t warm up properly working out in the morning can lead to more injuries and a decrease performance during the work out. Additionally, it may even cause fatigue and burn out if pushed too far. Next blog will be about the benefits of working out in the evening. Hopefully by then you’ll find the most suitable time for you to do your exercise.

 

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The Importance of Exercise: Cardiovascular Training

In our blog ‘Strength Training’, we talked about the importance of strength training and as a recommendation, 40-60 minutes of strength/weight training every week is needed. These exercises could be from something that we can just do with our body weight such as push ups, plank, squats, pull ups and many more. This week, I would like to explore cardiovascular training and how you can include it into your exercise routine.

Please be aware, when I say we need to do endurance training. We are not going to run a marathon or do a triathlon. We actually include cardio/endurance in our daily lives most of the time; when we walk, do chores at home and even while we are doing our weekly grocery shopping. Cardio training are just exercises that challenge our heart and lungs. As a recommendation, we should be doing around 150 minutes of cardio every week. That comes down to around 20 minutes a day. If you include 2 days of weight training exercises, it makes it 30 minutes a day over 5 days.

Cardiovascular training is just as important as doing weight training. There are many benefits from cardio training; increasing strength of heart muscles, lowering blood cholesterol and many more.

Cardiovascular training helps us build and increase the muscles of the heart just like how weight training help us build muscles. By increasing the strength of our heart muscles there will be less pressure in our cardiovascular system. This is because cardiovascular training can increase the efficiency of transporting oxygen around our body. Due to the increase in strength, it can also increase the stroke volume with each beat, which means that with each beat of the heart more blood will be pumped out. As a result, this can help you lower your blood pressure.

Another benefit of doing cardiovascular training is lowering blood cholesterol levels. There are two types of cholesterols; low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is known as bad cholesterol because it causes fatty build ups in the arteries which leads to narrowing of arteries. With the arteries narrowing, it is harder for blood to flow through causing an increase in blood pressure. HDL on the other hand is the good cholesterol in our body. HDL absorbs the bad cholesterol in your body and stores them in the liver. The liver then flushes the bad cholesterol out of your system. Cardiovascular training raises HDL in the body which induces the decrease of LDL. As a result, the arteries will be less narrow which will also bring down your blood pressure.

Some people think cardio is really boring but you can make if fun. If doing long walk or jogging isn’t your thing, you can try some high intensity interval training (also known as HIIT), go play a sport you enjoy or even go dancing with someone. The great thing about cardio is that it can be done anywhere, it is also a good opportunity to start a new hobby too!

Now you know the benefits of cardio, go out there and move your body. With this, it wraps up our 3 part series on why we should exercise. I hope now you know the importance of exercise and will take out some time from your busy day to keep your body healthy!

 

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How To Make More Time For a Healthy Lifestyle

Everyone already knows what to do to be healthier. For starters, eating less processed foods and moving more is what you’ve heard since you were young. And guess what… It’s true! But then come the fancy diets and elusive theories that cause confusion. On top of that, you’re busy with work and kids and LIFE.

If you’ve been meaning to eat healthier and exercise more for a while, believe me, you’re not alone.

What’s required is a system of thinking, prioritizing, strategizing, and planning that identifies what’s important to you as an individual and the steps to get there without them being too overwhelming.

Of course, it’s not easy, but it’s highly rewarding once you start reaping the benefits. Let’s get started.

  1. THINK: Ask “why” 5 times.

  • Understanding why you want to achieve the goal you want to achieve is important because it digs deep to find your inner motivation to keep you going.
  • All you have to do is keeping asking yourself why until you end up with a reason that’s worth your time.
  • Here’s an example:
    • Why do I want to eat better and move more? Because I want to lose weight.
    • Why do I want to lose weight? Because I’ll look better
    • Why do I want to look better? Because when I look good, I feel good about myself.
    • Why do you want to feel good about yourself? Because when I feel good about myself I’m more confident and in control.
    • Why do I want to be more confident and in control? Because when I’m confident and in control, I won’t be scared to go for it and live out my dream.
  1. PRIORITIZE: Fill in the big rocks first.

  • Stephen Covey, the author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” gave the best analogy for prioritization: Think of your time as a jar that you can fill with rocks, pebbles and sand.
    • Your big rocks are the necessary things in life, like friends, family, health, career, and sleep.
    • The pebbles are the fun things in life that aren’t completely necessary but you love doing them, like playing piano, competing in sports, and discovering your passion for baking.
    • Your sand is all the bonus activities that are enjoyable but not at all important to your survival and fulfillment, like checking Instagram, playing video games and going out drinking.
    • Now if you fill your time with sand first, it wouldn’t make sense because then it’d be way more difficult to fit your rocks and pebbles in. But if you place your rocks first, and then your pebbles around them, and finally fill in the rest with your sand, then you’re good as gold!
  1. STRATEGIZE: Increase your activities 15 minutes at a time.

  • No one ever got everything done at once. When you find out the important activities that you want to do more of in your day, pick ONE of them. Replace 15 minutes of low-value activity with 15 minutes of that high-value activity.
  • For example, instead of 15 minutes of scrolling through Instagram, do 15 minutes of meal prep for the next day. You can even put in headphones and listen one of your favourite podcasts while you meal prep to keep it interesting.
  1. PLAN: Schedule it in your diary.

  • If you wait until you “feel like it”, a lot of your time will be spent doing less important things. Schedule it in and more importantly, stick to it!
  • BONUS: Review how you spent your time at the end of the week.
    • If you did a lot of low-priority stuff, reduce any triggers that make you want to do them. This may require you to move the TV to the basement or limit your screen time with an app. Or you can get an accountability buddy, such as a friends, colleague or partner.
    • If you simply didn’t have time, look into hiring out some of the tasks like getting a healthy meal delivery service or arranging a nanny so you can go to the gym.

Don’t get distracted, stay focused and you will get $%@& done 😉

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Don’t Follow The Crowd

The other week I was giving some lifestyle and diet recommendations to a client who commented on how hard it is to avoid certain foods, especially when going out to socialise. Of course, he is absolutely correct. This conversation spawned a realisation of the truth that making healthy choices and taking care of your body requires a level of commitment that might make you stand out or narrow your choices. This doesn’t mean you can never go out for dinner or to social gatherings, in fact keeping our social lives active is very beneficial for our health and longevity.  It means you may have to alter your choices or be more prepared beforehand.

Making choices that are commonplace and popular will get you the same results that most people have. Look at the health statistics of the general population like the rates of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, not to mention things like fatigue, headaches, and mental fog so common amongst people and decide if you want those outcomes too, don’t follow the crowd.

Most of our health and the way our body performs comes down to the choices we make each day like the amount of alcohol we drink or choose not to drink, the type of foods we eat, how much water we drink and how active we choose to be.

Most people choose to be far too sedentary; choose not to be one of them.

Most people choose not to drink enough water; choose not to be one of them.

Most people choose to eat too much; choose not to be one of them.

Most people choose not to eat enough fruit or vegetables; choose not to be one of them.

We know that making healthy choices isn’t always easy but we are here to support your efforts to become a healthier and stronger person!

Don’t follow the crowd.

This blog is sponsored by Little Ninja & Priorityfitness.

Chiropractor Auckland

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