Building up of blood cholesterol along with a high level of LDL cholesterol is a serious medical handicap. Among the two types of cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (Low Density Lipoprotein) is labeled as the “bad cholesterol” due to its pronounced “bad effects” on our health. HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol is the good player, and a high level of this cholesterol is preferred.
The bad thing about LDL cholesterol is that it tends to deposit fat on the arterial walls gradually narrowing the passage for blood circulation. A bump on the arterial wall, known as arterial plaque may form which ruptures suddenly forming blood clots resulting in a heart attack. It is desirable for women to maintain a LDL level below 100 mg/dL to remain hearth healthy.
The LDL level in women remains within control as long as their menstrual cycle is on, but it starts shooting up by additional 10- 20 mg/dL in the post menopause stage exposing them to high risks of heart diseases. Poor estrogen level in the menopausal phase is partly responsible for high LDL level in women. Women also need to check their triglyceride level along with the cholesterol numbers to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Top Tips to Reduce LDL Cholesterol In Women
Women of all age group should be aware of their LDL cholesterol number and try to maintain a healthy level to stay hale and hearty for long. Smart dietary choices and lifestyle modifications will enable women of any age to maintain a low LDL level.
Assess Your Risk Factors And Set Your Targets
Check whether you are overweight, suffering from high blood pressure or diabetes or carry a family history of cardiovascular diseases. These are the important risk factors that contribute in developing cardiovascular diseases in the future. Menopause adds to the risk in the later stages.
If you are in the high risk zone, your LDL level should not cross 70mg/dL. If you are in moderate or low risk zone, your LDL cholesterol level should be within 130-160 mg/dL. Try to reduce your LDL cholesterol level if you carry two or more risk factors.
Eliminate “Bad Fats”
Some amount of cholesterol in our blood comes from our diet. Therefore, it is essential to check the dietary sources of “bad fats”. Reducing the consumption of saturated fats and replacing them with “smart fats” will reduce your LDL level.
Stop using butter, vegetable oil but replace them with olive or canola oil. Salad dressings, margarine, high fat dairy products, cut meat and lard are other common sources of LDL cholesterol.
Eat More Apples
The adage “Eating an apple a day keeps a cardiologist away” goes well in reducing LDL cholesterol levels in women. A report published in medicalnewstoday.com clearly states that older women consuming apples regularly have been able to reduce LDL cholesterol levels (26% on an average) and increase HDL cholesterol levels (4% on an average) appreciably within six months.
Scientists stress that apart from fiber, pectin and polyphenols present in this “miracle fruit” enhance lipid metabolism reducing the production of inflammation causing harmful lipid molecules. Never discard the skin of the apple as it helps most in reducing the bad cholesterol.
Load Your Diet With Fiber
Having more dietary fiber through fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the easiest steps to reduce the LDL cholesterol level.The high fiber content of fruits and vegetables absorb bad cholesterol in the digestive tract and eliminate from the body. The antioxidants present in these food items destroy the free radicals maintaining a healthy blood circulation essential for a healthy heart. Oats, whole grains and dried beans are other good sources of soluble fiber that aid in reducing LDL cholesterol level.
Stay Away From White Sugar
White sugar or any white (refined) carbs may be responsible for your high LDL cholesterol numbers. Excessive consumption of sugar raises your blood sugar level weakening the cells constituting the arterial lining. Your body increases the LDL production to counteract this factor. Doctors from Cleveland Clinic warn against consuming too much of white sugar, honey and white flour to maintain a low LDL cholesterol level. You can use Agave syrup, the natural sweetener in moderation.
Take Green Tea
Research published by University of Maryland Medical Center states that green tea aids in lowering LDL cholesterol and raises HDL cholesterol or “good cholesterol” at the same time.
Drink 2-3 cups of green tea daily. You can choose from a number of flavors available in stores. Polyphenols present in green tea block the absorption of LDL cholesterol in the blood stream gradually eliminating them from the body.
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Keep Yourself Moving
Being physically active is one of the best ways to reduce LDL cholesterol in women of all age groups. Never ignore your physical activities even if you are young. Aged women should put in extra efforts in order to maintain their mobility. You may need to adopt special cardios if your LDL cholesterol hovers around dangerous levels. Moderate exercises or regular brisk walking are also very effective in checking LDL cholesterol.
Webmd.com recommends daily 45 minutes of walking after dinner. Walking can offload your stress and boost the production of HDL cholesterol. You can use a pedometer to track the number of steps covered in a day. Walking 10,000 steps per day would be the ideal target. Running, jogging and swimming can also bring down your LDL cholesterol to a satisfactory level. Test your dancing skills or take up martial arts to add variation to your routine workouts.
Put off the Butt
You need to put off your cigarette right now and pledge not to light it again. Smoking has a direct relation in lowering the good cholesterol and raising the bad cholesterol through increased production of the harmful oxidized LDL cholesterol. Quitting smoking can lower your LDL cholesterol by about 5%. According to some doctors, smoking causes inflammation of the arteries and fosters the formation of arterial plaque even if your LDL cholesterol is at a satisfactory level.
In case of uncontrollably high LDL cholesterol level, your doctor may prescribe certain medications called “statins”. Statins are very effective in reducing the production of LDL cholesterol by 50% and do not produce any side effects. Moreover, statins also help in raising the HDL cholesterol level to some extent.
This heart-friendly medicine is widely prescribed in US and has given satisfactory results in maintaining a healthy LDL/HDL ratio. Other cholesterol lowering medicines like niacin, fibrates and bile acid resins are also prescribed, but statin is the most effective among all. Statin dosages should be strictly regulated by the doctor.
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