Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in the blood. Too much of it can lead to blockages in the arteries causing serious health problems. If not treated, this can cause heart attacks & strokes.

During winter, many people tend to enjoy too many tasty, rich foods and drinks – especially during the festive season – so your cholesterol levels are likely to upsurge without realizing it.

These 5 simple changes in your lifestyle will ensure your cholesterol levels don’t get too high in winter:

In this article, you will find five tips on how to keep your cholesterol under control throughout the winter.

1. Sensible snacking

People tend to graze on snacks, bakery goods, and dips throughout the day during Christmas & new year’s festive seasons. In addition, they enjoy too much of drinks. All of this can harm your health.

Try these Healthy Swaps

(i) Roasting instead of frying

Do you find it difficult to resist tempting fried foods, especially during the winter festive season? Here’s a solution for you. Roast or grill instead of frying. Roasted or grilled foods not only taste good but also come with promising health benefits.

(ii) Go for red wine instead of other alcoholic beverages

Have you planned to have hard liquor during the festive season? Switch to a glass of red wine, which usually contains fewer calories than other alcoholic beverages. In addition to this, red wine has resveratrol, which acts as an antioxidant that helps in lowering bad cholesterol and also reduces the risk of damage to the blood vessels.

(iii)  Replace Sugary Products

Many people eat more sweet dishes without realizing their harmful effects. Gorging on delicious sweets could surely make you prone to gain weight, harming your health. So, avoid sugary products and go for foods that have natural sweet flavors like raisins, dates, and figs.

(iv) Choose heavy creams substitutes

Try mashed avocadoes instead of keeping those heavy creams on the dinner table.

(v) Introduce yogurt-based dips

Avoid the rich sour cream that you use to dip your chips. Instead, opt for healthier homemade Greek yogurt-based dips. Greek yogurt is not only lower in calories, but it also is not fat and doesn’t take a toll on your health. In addition, it’s a good source of probiotics, protein, and calcium.

(vi) Swap the white and milk chocolate

Many people indulge in eating lots of chocolate. Eating too much white and milk chocolates can increase your weight. Consider switching to dark chocolates. Dark chocolates have cocoa which not only prevents excessive weight gain but also is an antioxidant. Viola! marry time.

(vii) Swap the salty nuts with raw nuts

Salt carving needs to be controlled during the festive seasons. As nuts are jampacked with protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats, so we don’t recommend avoiding them. Instead, switch to raw nuts.

(viii) Swap candies with fruits

Instead of latching on to the candies, you can choose fruits. Fruits are full of healthy nutrients. These also help satisfy your sweet tooth.

(ix) Can’t resist the sweet tooth?

If you have a sweet tooth, opt for some fruit salad.

Read here: Tips on heart-healthy snacking

2. Opt for leaner proteins

Processed red meats such as bacon and sausages are usually eaten more in Christmas breakfasts and dinners, which are high-cholesterol foods. They can increase the risk of heart disease on the one hand and, on the other, also have been linked to cancers such as that of the bowel.

Instead, opting for white meats like turkey and chicken is a great alternative, especially the breast meat – which is leaner. Make sure to leave out the skin.

Fish is also a healthier option, such as salmon, which is full of unsaturated fats that can help cut down on bad fats.

3. Spice it up

Consider adding more turmeric to your foods as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Turmeric contains a compound known as curcumin, which has been found to lower total cholesterol and the harmful low-density lipoprotein (“bad” cholesterol) levels in your blood.

You can add ground turmeric to scrambled eggs in your breakfast or lunch or to curries or roasted vegetables to give extra flavor.

4. Enjoy physical activities

People tend to skip physical activities and enjoy parties, stay awake late at night during Christmas or curl up on the sofa and stay indoors during the winter months, especially after a big Christmas dinner. Lack of physical activity has been shown to raise cholesterol levels. On the other hand, physical movements benefit both cholesterol levels and mental health.

Don’t think of it as a workout because that can take the fun out of it. It can be anything, such as a brisk walk, gardening, dancing, or hula-hooping.

Besides improving your physical fitness & helping fight obesity, it also cuts down harmful low-density lipoprotein and increases healthy high-density lipoprotein as well.

5. Swapping out dairy butter for a healthier alternative

Crackers with dairy butter are favorites when it comes to festive foods. However, dairy butter is very harmful when it comes to foods that contribute to high cholesterol levels.

Instead, swap it out with a spread that contains plant sterols.

Read here: Fats, oils & heart health

About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Fitness Buffhq - Renu bakshiPersonal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, the USA obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”