11 Tips To Lower Cholesterol You Should Give A Try
The human body needs cholesterol to function efficiently, but too much cholesterol or cholesterol in the wrong places can be fatal. Unusually high amounts of cholesterol in the bloodstream can block arteries and cause cardiovascular diseases. This increases the risk of strokes and other major heart diseases.
Cholesterol travels through lipoproteins- LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol leads to the build-up of cholesterol in the arteries. To have a heart-healthy lifestyle, it is crucial to decrease LDL levels while increasing HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol levels.
Tips To Lower Cholesterol
1. Eat Right
Eating right doesn’t necessarily mean following a dietary regime. It is vital to eat healthy in order to control bad cholesterol. Along with being cautious about their diet, one needs to be consistent in maintaining these healthy eating habits.
1.1. Limiting Saturated Fats
Saturated fat intake increases heart disease risk factors by increasing the number of LDL (bad) cholesterol particles. Greater the number of these particles, the higher will be the risk of heart diseases. This can drive up total cholesterol and tip the balance towards bad cholesterol, which can prompt blockages to form in arteries in the heart.
It is highly recommended to avoid including animal oils, butter, red meat, milk, whipped cream, dried coconuts, etc. in the daily selection of food. Replacing these with unsaturated vegetable oils (olive oil, avocado oil), peanut butter, nuts, seeds, and more natural and organic products can greatly benefit the body by not only reducing bad cholesterol levels but also increasing good cholesterol levels.
1.2. Eliminating Trans Fats
A diet laden with trans fats is deemed to be the leading killer among adults. The primary dietary source for trans fats in processed foods is ‘partially hydrogenated oils’ which is merely a fancy façade for artificial fatty acids.
Baked goods (cookies, crackers, cakes), frozen foods (pizza, pies, dough products), and various snack products contain trans fats. These are so unhealthy, especially for a person with high LDL levels, that the FDA has prohibited manufacturers from adding artificial trans fat sources to food items. These must be eliminated to control bad cholesterol.
1.3. Eating Foods Rich In Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Replacing meat with increased fish and seafood consumption decreases the risk of heart diseases and keeps the cholesterol lipid levels within a healthy range. Other eminently advised foods rich in Omega-3 are cold-water fatty fish, salmon, tuna, sardines, nuts, and seeds (chia seeds, almonds, walnuts) and plant oils like soybean oil, canola oil, and flaxseed oil.
1.4. Increasing Fiber
Soluble fiber brings down the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Including oatmeal, kidney beans, sprouts, apples, prunes reduces the density of bad cholesterol in the body. In addition, consuming fiber can make one feel full and thus, prevent overeating or binging on snacks.
1.5. Adding Other Items To The Diet
Whey protein, when given as a supplement, lowers bad cholesterol and helps in maintaining blood pressure.
Spices and condiments like cinnamon, black pepper, coriander, and garlic can significantly help in reducing LDL levels. This may come as a surprise to some, but spices can also increase good cholesterol.
2. Keep Fit
Consistent physical activities can raise high-density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol. Jogging, taking brisk walks after meals, cycling, swimming and yoga can bring considerable changes to the body.
Exercising regularly prevents bad cholesterol build-up and obesity. Being overweight increases the LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and this, in turn, causes heart diseases.
Working out 3 times a week for half an hour or more reduces the risk of individuals developing cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, exercise facilitates and eases the transport of cholesterol from the bloodstream to the liver.
3. Lifestyle Changes
In tandem with eating right and exercising regularly, it is required for a person to make certain shifts and changes in his/her lifestyle. Old habits and even an unhealthy daily routine can lead to a deleterious life.
3.1. Quit Smoking
Smoking progressively decreases good cholesterol levels. In fact, exposure to second-hand smoke can negatively affect your LDL levels. Smoking also damages arteries and blood vessels.
Giving up smoking can prove to be life-changing and can increase good cholesterol levels to the extent that a person might even achieve a healthy weight.
3.2. Limit The Consumption Of Alcohol
Drinking alcohol in moderation can be healthy for the heart, but it’s unprecedented and uncontrolled consumption can increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, obesity and increase the levels of triglycerides in the blood.
3.3. Pay Attention To Your Mental Health
Stress can cause a growth in bad cholesterol indirectly. Overthinking and bad mental health are directly related to less healthy dietary habits, an unhealthy lifestyle, higher body weight, and ignorance towards the maintenance of one’s body.
All of these are risk factors for bad cholesterol. Keeping your stress response under control is an excellent way to control and manage LDL levels in the long term.
3.4. Read Nutrition Facts Label On Packaged Foods Carefully
Often, we don’t pay heed to food labels, and hence, we don’t know what we are consuming and how unhealthy it is. Always check for trans fats, the number of calories, sugar alcohols, fiber, and net carbs. Eating wisely is the key to a healthier mind and body.
4. Prescribed Medication
In severe cases, one might also need to take cholesterol-lowering medicines (like statin) which help in managing risks of strokes and other diseases. However, it is erroneous to rely merely on medication for a healthier body. Taking prescribed medicines along with lifestyle and dietary changes will definitely be effective.
Cholesterol has important functions in the body but excessive cholesterol can be life-threatening. It is crucial to keep the levels under check and be consistent with following a healthy lifestyle. This does not only lower cholesterol but also makes arteries flexible and responsive, which further prevents heart diseases.
Even if a person requires medication, complete dependency over them will not solve the problem. Following these tips religiously will certainly lead to a wholesome life.
June 22, 2020 Sam Bell