If you have high cholesterol, you need to read this. Find out what you can do when it comes to navigating the holidays with high cholesterol.
According to research, bad cholesterol levels increase by almost 20 percent during the holiday season. “[We] notice around the holidays that there’s a pretty consistent 3, 4, 5-pound weight gain as people start to eat a bit more around Thanksgiving and [drink] more alcohol,” says Dr. Norman Lepor, a cardiologist at Cedars Sinai in Beverly Hills, California. “The three days that have the largest number of heart attacks in the calendar are December 25, 26, and Jan 1.”
The Importance of Cholesterol
LDL cholesterol is considered “bad” cholesterol because it can cause plaque formation in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. “I use the analogy of rust; it starts a process of rusting the arteries,” says Lepor. “This process of rusting the arteries pre-disposes you to the development of heart attacks if it’s in the coronary arteries, or [if cholesterol is in] the carotid circulation, it predisposes you to stroke.”
In addition to high LDL cholesterol levels, you need to beware of high triglyceride levels, as they also increase your risk of a heart attack. “High triglycerides can lead to inflammation in the vessel walls, which makes it easier for plaque to build over time,” says Amy Pierce, a nurse practitioner and clinical lipid specialist at Norton Heart & Vascular Institute.
Managing Your Cholesterol
By exercising on a regular basis and decreasing the saturated fats in your diet, you can reduce your LDL cholesterol by up to 20 percent. As you spend time with family and celebrate the holidays, don’t let healthy habits fall by the wayside.
Instead, look for ways to incorporate them into your holiday schedule. For example, you can play sports with your family as an activity to help you get the exercise you need. If that’s too much, then go for a walk with your family or a pet.
As for food, try not to binge on foods that are high in saturated fats. Instead, try foods that can help you lower your cholesterol levels. These include soluble fibers (found in oatmeal and Cheerios), foods infused with plant sterols and stanols, and nuts. If you’re looking for diet ideas, consider the Mediterranean diet, which is supported by the American Heart Association (AHA).
Taking Care of Your Health
The holidays are a time of celebration and happiness for many, so don’t let a bad diet and poor exercise habits ruin what should be a joyous occasion. In addition to following healthy practices during the holidays, it’s a good idea to make plans to become healthier in the not-so-distant new year. “Once you set these goals, following up with your healthcare provider can help keep you focused and help you reach your goals in the healthiest way possible,” says Pierce.
Lastly, if you want to give your health an extra boost, consider taking L-arginine Plus as a supplement. Its ingredients promote circulation, provide blood pressure and cholesterol support, and more. Give your health what it needs this holiday season by maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and taking L-arginine Plus.