High cholesterol is increasingly common, affecting 2 out of 3 adults over the age of 40 in the UK.
New research found that almost half of people with high cholesterol exercise only once a week or less despite the fact that both a healthy eating plan and exercise are essential to improving cholesterol.
The research, conducted to launch Benecol's Better Together Campaign also found that over half of those with high cholesterol are unaware that cholesterol can be improved through diet and exercise alone without the need for statin medication.
Dr Rosemary Leonard, GP and heart health expert, said: “If you have a diagnosis of high cholesterol the good news is that this is a problem we can do something about. Diet and lifestyle are really important; small changes can make a big difference. The Better Together approach is about making positive life changes – cholesterol lowering is a long term commitment but it doesn’t have to be a chore and it doesn’t have to be complicated.”
Research has shown that 95% of people feel concerned or worried when they discover they have raised cholesterol.
Helen Bond, consultant dietitian, added: “Part of the challenge is that we can’t see cholesterol so we need to have confidence that the changes we are making are effective and be committed to our cause. The smallest changes can make the biggest differences, for example by replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables and soluble fibre and also including cholesterol-lowering foods containing plant stanols or sterols in your diet, such as Benecol®.”
The research showed that almost a quarter of people with high cholesterol never exercise while 67% exercise on their own. Matt Roberts, personal trainer, commented: “Many of my clients come to see me because they have high cholesterol. Exercise can play an important role in helping to improve cholesterol, it also gives you a much better “pump” effect on the heart. Exercising with others will encourage you to work harder, keep you motivated and make your routine more enjoyable. Incorporating some form of exercise into your daily routine can make a real difference.”
Watch the video below to see Helen Bond, consultant dietitian, give her advice on how you can lower your cholesterol through your diet: