Stress and Cholesterol: What’s the Connection?
You’ve heard it a million times... high cholesterol is bad. Stress is bad. But why? And is there a connection? High cholesterol can cause cardiovascular health problems as it builds up in your arteries. Restricted blood flow from clogged arteries can affect your brain and heart and may cause events like strokes and heart attacks.
What Causes High Cholesterol?
High cholesterol could be caused by many things. Some causes can be treated or changed. Others, you’re stuck with... but maybe you could mitigate them. Causes include:
- Family history. Unfortunately, you can’t change your genetics. But being aware of your family history or genetics may help you make other decisions to reduce your risk.
- Obesity. Losing weight isn’t easy, but it could be an important part of reducing your bad cholesterol.
- Diabetes. If you have Type II diabetes, there may be some lifestyle changes that can help you manage your diabetes or reduce your dependence on medication. With Type I diabetes, you may remain insulin-dependent, but you can still mitigate your cholesterol risks.
- Smoking. Much like other lifestyle changes, it isn’t easy. Getting help and working to quit smoking will provide a lot of health benefits, including lowering your risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Stress. Let’s talk about it... I’ll
How Can Stress Cause High Cholesterol?
There are a few studies that show a relationship between stress and high cholesterol. One study postulates that people with high stress have poor health habits, including poor diets high in fatty foods or without a balance of fruits and vegetables or higher body weights. These are both directly related to high cholesterol.
Still, another study suggests that cortisol, the hormone released during stress, can increase cholesterol levels, especially when cortisol is “turned on” for extended periods of time.
Coping with Stress May Lower Cholesterol
Finding positive, healthy ways to manage stress may directly or indirectly also lower your cholesterol. The best option is to prevent stress in the first place. Long-term stress is more harmful to your body, including your cholesterol levels, than short-term, small bursts of temporary stress.
No one likes stress. If you could prevent it, you probably would. But maybe there are a couple of ways to reduce responsibilities and prevent stress, such as asking for or hiring help around the house or yard, or saying no to projects or opportunities you don’t have the capacity or desire to take on.
Exercise is another great option to lower both stress and cholesterol. The best exercise for both is the one or ones you’ll do. If you enjoy lifting weights, do it. If you like hiking in solitude, going for a run, taking a group fitness class, swimming laps or walking with friends, do it. If you get bored easily, change it up. There’s no right or wrong way to exercise in order to improve stress and cholesterol levels.
Eating healthy will help you feel less stressed and will have the added perk of lowering not only your cholesterol but other contributing factors such as obesity. If you are determined to improve your eating choices, make the changes small and incremental to help you achieve long-term success. If you try to cut out everything and make radical changes all at once, you may actually increase your cortisol and stress from putting excessive pressure on yourself.
Meditation or other calming mental techniques can lower stress levels. Take a 10-second mental vacation to regroup when you feel overwhelmed; or use talk therapy with a licensed professional to help manage long-term stress.
There are supplements that may help you manage stress or lower cholesterol and contribute to your overall wellness, including Soltea softgels. The caffeine-free green tea supplement provides the same amount of the incredible compound theaflavin found in 35 cups of green tea! Reduce your cholesterol naturally.
Don’t live with a broken heart...take Soltea every morning instead.