The South Beach Diet encourages you to eat nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods and to exercise regularly. These healthy lifestyle habits will not only help you meet your weight-loss goals, but they’ll also put you on the right track to lowering your cholesterol, thereby reducing your risk of heart disease. Here are 6 ways to help improve your cholesterol level:
saturated fat. Saturated
fat (often referred to as animal fat) is typically found in foods like poultry
skin, full-fat dairy products, and fatty cuts of beef, lamb, and pork. It
should be limited because it can stimulate cholesterol production in the body
and cause your total cholesterol and LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels to
rise. By adopting our diet, which is low in saturated fat, you've taken a good
first step toward improving your cholesterol levels.
trans fats. Trans fats, aka hydrogenated or
partially hydrogenated oils (check the list of ingredients on nutrition
labels), may be even more damaging to cholesterol levels than saturated fats
because they can raise your LDL cholesterol while lowering HDL
("good") cholesterol. Studies show that trans fats also may increase
the risk of cancer. The South Beach Diet excludes foods like stick margarine,
and any commercially processed foods like baked goods and chips, because they often
contain trans fats. On the South Beach Diet, we replace these unhealthy choices
with foods made with the good monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are
found in oils such as olive, canola, peanut, and sunflower.
a healthy weight. For many
people, cholesterol levels improve as weight decreases. This is not due to the
weight loss itself, but rather to the effects of following a healthy eating and
exercise plan like the South Beach Diet. In other words, making the lifestyle
changes that are necessary for sustained weight loss will help lower your
smart and often. At least
20 minutes of aerobic exercise that incorporates interval training every other
day can help lower LDL levels and raise HDL levels. The important thing is to
be consistent: Find aerobic activities you enjoy. Walking, swimming, and biking
are all good choices for working in intervals.
smoking. In addition to being a major risk
factor for heart disease and cancer, cigarette smoking can also contribute to
low HDL levels. If you smoke, quitting may raise HDL levels by up to 10
- See your physician regularly. If lifestyle measures haven’t helped to lower your cholesterol, or if you have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, it may be necessary to embark on a program of medical therapy in the form of a cholesterol-lowering drug or drugs. Your physician will help determine the best course of action for you.