- The beginning of the year is the moment where people pretend to change towards a healthier diet and lifestyle
- One important first step in preventing cardiovascular disease is to get blood LDL-cholesterol levels measured and acting to reduce them
It has become a cliché to begin a year with new thoughts and promises about healthier living, especially once the holiday buzz is over and the reality of daily life resumes.
A most frequent goal people set for themselves is usually around healthier nutrition and a more active lifestyle. This is understandable as there can be no doubt that they both help in preventing the onset of numerous diseases including cardiovascular disease (CVD) which remains the No.1 killer in the world.
How to make it happen?
According to psychology experts here are some strategic tips for anyone wishing to make some changes in the new year:
- Do not see this as a resolution: Instead of making a very solemn long-term commitment about a grand goal (running the marathon this year), one should make short-term manageable and easy-to-achieve commitments
- Stick to the goal: Once one has picked a small but realistic and manageable goal, one should persist. Experts claim that most goal-setting in this context is achievable in the morning and therefore a switch to healthier breakfast foods might seem to be more achievable
- Make it easy: Picking the easier options, like a breakfast food which is healthy but requires little additional time to prepare seem to have the greater effect
- Keep track: There are thousands of apps which are designed to help people keep track of their resolutions and anyone can choose what suits them best
Blood LDL-cholesterol levels are a threat to a healthy heart
Being aware of blood cholesterol levels is a first and focused step in establishing a realistic framework on which to develop successful strategies for reducing elevated blood cholesterol levels. A simple blood test and a consultation with a physician can establish this very quickly.
A healthy diet, rich in plant-based foods accompanied by foods or supplemented with added plant sterols or stanols may be a good strategy to keep blood LDL-cholesterol levels under control. They can be easy and conveniently introduced into the daily diet, and it has been proven that a daily intake of 1.5-3.0 g/d plant sterols or stanols dose-dependently reduces blood LDL-cholesterol levels by 7-12.5% in a period of 2 – 3 weeks.
Next week, we at IPSSA plan to announce an important initiative which will be informing the public and media about cardiovascular disease, blood LDL-cholesterol as a significant risk factor of CVD and the role of an active lifestyle, a healthy diet, and plant sterols and stanols in keeping blood cholesterol levels low.
Meanwhile, to know more about plant sterols and stanols, check out our infographic summarizing their positive effects on blood LDL-cholesterol lowering.