Unhealthy diet and modern lifestyle changes have exposed us to the risk of several diseases. An increased level of cholesterol is a common complaint all around the world, affecting even the young. Blame it on our sedentary lifestyle. The term ‘high cholesterol’ can send chills down your spine. It is terrifying to be diagnosed with high levels of cholesterol.
High levels of cholesterol have been linked to strokes, heart attack and clogged arteries in the heart. Regular screening of cholesterol is recommended once every three to five years for those above 30 years of age.
Tips To Reduce Cholesterol
The good news is that cholesterol can be reduced efficiently. All it requires is a little effort on your part. There are different kinds of cholesterol. Low density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol harms your health and their levels should always be maintained low. High density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol is beneficial to our body and their levels should always be high. The following tips can help you combat high cholesterol levels.
Add Good Fats To Your Diet
Saturated fat found in meat products and certain dairy products can elevate your already high cholesterol level. Substitute saturated fat with monounsaturated fat. This fat can reduce LDL (low density lipoprotein) in your body.
Nuts, olives and avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats. Substitute regular cooking oil with olive oil or canola oil, fish with red meat and butter with peanut butter and you will get the right amount of ‘good fat’.
Switch To Low GI Carbs
Increased intake of carbohydrates can lower HDL (good cholesterol) levels in your body. Reduce your intake of bread and junk food and substitute them with low glycemic index (GI) rating carbohydrates found in wholemeal bread, cereals and legumes.
Carbs low in GI index keeps you full for a longer time and can also help you manage your weight.
Add Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega -3 fatty acids found in certain fishes like mackerel, salmon and cod and in fish oils have several health benefits. They can lower the levels of LDL and triglycerides.
Triglycerides are a type of ester compounds that can narrow your blood vessels. These polyunsaturated fatty acids are also available as supplements.
Include Fibre Rich Food
Fibre can either be soluble or insoluble. Research has shown that daily intake of soluble fibre can cut down a good percentage of LDL cholesterol. Vegetables, fruits and whole grains are rich sources of fibre.
A kind of soluble fibre called pectin is known to reduce bad cholesterol and also delay your digestion. This can keep you from over-eating. Apples and pears are good sources of pectin.
Vitamin supplements can fulfil your nutritional needs and reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases by increasing HDL levels.
Niacin is the most recommended vitamin. Folic acid, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 are also beneficial in reducing cholesterol.
Work Out Regularly
Regular exercise can help elevate the level of HDL cholesterol. Exercise need not necessarily be high intensity workout; walking or any other moderate activity is also beneficial.
Brisk walking for thirty minutes a day is the most convenient work-out and it can lower the levels of LDL. Any other form of aerobic exercise like cycling, jogging and swimming is also advantageous.
Smoking is known to reduce HDL levels. To elevate the levels of HDL, put an end to this hazardous habit. A study reports that high intake of caffeine increases a particular kind of fatty acids concentration in the blood.
These fatty acids provoke the production of bad cholesterol. Cut down to two or three cups of coffee a day to stay healthy.
The ill-effects of stress are numerous. Stress can trigger the levels of LDL. Battle stress by walking, meditating or by practicing deep breathing and lower your cholesterol levels. Socializing and indulging in your favourite activities can also help you fight stress.
Cholesterol can be managed easily if you stick to a healthy regimen. Carefully monitor your progress and make a commitment to take care of yourself.