Eating right, getting sufficient amount of exercise, sleeping for 6 to 8 hours every day and staying calm and stress-free have become the need of the hour. In order to live a comfortable and satisfactory life, it has become essential to thoroughly take care of each and every organ in our body that contributes towards our overall physical and mental well-being.
Today, we are going to lay our focus on that organ in our body, which if beats properly can help us to thoroughly enjoy the beautiful gift of life. The organ that we are talking about here is our heart. It goes without saying that optimum heart health can be achieved by controlling the cholesterol level in our body.
Let us now take a look at some of the dos and don’ts, which if meticulously followed will help us to attain a better heart health.
What is Cholesterol?
You may have often heard people engage in conversations wherein they talk about ways as to How to increase HDL Cholesterol and How to reduce LDL Cholesterol.
Let us first understand what are HDL and LDL Cholesterol. HDL stands for high-density lipoproteins and LDL for low-density lipoproteins. In layman’s terms, HDL is good cholesterol, while LDL is bad cholesterol. Any healthy human being needs to maintain LDL levels of less than 100mg/dl, while HDL levels should stand at 50mg/dl or higher.
A person’s cholesterol level is determined on the basis of the total amount of cholesterol found in his or her blood. Cholesterol basically contains a combination of HDL, LDL and triglycerides.
Maintaining HDL in the right amount helps to keep heart diseases at bay. On the other hand, if close check is not kept on LDL it may lead to blockages in your blood vessels and in turn expose you to severe heart ailments.
Similarly, it is vital to keep an eye on triglycerides as well. This is because, as soon as, high quantities of triglycerides are found in your blood, doctors warn you of impending high cholesterol levels followed by life threatening heart diseases. This is because triglycerides are also a form of fats, which create unanticipated blockages in your heart.
How to Lower Cholesterol?
One question that may be bothering you often is as to how to control cholesterol in your body. One simple answer to this rather broad question is to inculcate some healthy habits in your daily routine. What is important for you is to make some necessary lifestyle changes.
Tweaks in Food Habits:
Do Away with Trans Fats: The first step that you need to take in order to rightly manage cholesterol levels in your body is to make a couple of dietary changes. First and foremost, you will have to completely eliminate trans fats from your diet.
Most of the processed foods come complete with trans fats as they are somewhat inexpensive and so also last long. These fats are also found in large quantities in fried foods.
Facts suggest that certain kinds of trans fats can even have a long lasting toxic effect on our bodies. Hence, first thing first, bid a complete good-bye to these fats.
Eliminate Saturated Fats: Just like trans fats, saturated fats are also equally harmful for our bodies especially when the question of cholesterol control pops up into the picture.
Every second item that you may be consuming in a day is likely to contain saturated fats.
This deadly element is found in large quantities in items such as pork, red meat, chicken with skin, dairy products and of course cooking oils.
Now, you may be wondering as to how you can do away with saturated fats completely. An easy way out here is to opt for healthier alternatives in place of the above mentioned food items.
For example, let us say you have been using palm oil or coconut oil to cook your meals daily. Now these cooking oils are known to contain cholesterol in high quantities. So a wise move to make here would be to replace these cooking oils with something like olive oil. This tiny alteration will help you to keep a check on your cholesterol consumption.
Opt for Soluble Fibers:
Another way of keeping LDL under check is to opt for a high fiber diet. Make it a point to rely heavily on soluble fiber.
After all, a fiber rich diet is capable of not just controlling your cholesterol levels, but at the same time can make a big difference to your overall health as well.
If you are worried as to what special efforts you need to take in order to escalate use of soluble fiber in your diet, then fret not. Most of the basic food items that we consume on a day to day basis are known to contain soluble fiber in sufficient quantities. Some of these items include vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains.
Having said that, it is vital to not overeat your fibers. This is because excess consumption of fiber can lead to stomach disorders such as bloating, stomach pain and at times even constipation. You can do away with this problem by consuming enough liquids especially water, every time you consume a fiber rich meal.
Similarly, you need to begin slow. Initially, consume fiber in lower quantities and begin to increase your fiber intake as and when you start getting use to this change.
Do Not Compromise on monounsaturated fats:
Make monounsaturated fats your best friend as and when you decide to set out on the journey of keeping your cholesterol levels under control.
The reason why monounsaturated fats are considered an aiding input in the process of cholesterol management is mainly because they take a liquid form at room temperature, which is why they cannot accumulate and create unwanted blocks and blockages.
Food items that are rich in monounsaturated fats include fish, various vegetable oils such as sunflower, peanut, sesame and olive oils, avocados, seeds and nuts such as almonds and peanuts.
Get Active. Feel Great:
Just like following good eating habits are necessary to keep cholesterol levels under control, it is equally important to stay active. You can make it an everyday habit to engage in some or the other form of exercise.
If you are a beginner, who hasn’t exercised all your life, then you can begin by taking baby steps. Just try to include some amount of walking in your daily routine. Wherever, it is possible to walk avoid taking a car or bus. Just ditch the elevator and take the steps instead.
Sometimes, doing your own household chores can also help you to achieve your fitness goals. Likewise, you can find an exercise buddy and hit the gym.
If you wish to go somewhat mild, then simply sign up for a yoga or Pilates session. In the end, whatever you choose as your exercise and fitness methodology, make it a point to stay consistent in your actions.
After all, this big lifestyle change can take you a long way in keeping your cholesterol levels under check.
Keep a Check on your Weight:
One very common reason that is responsible for your cholesterol levels shooting up beyond the prescribed limits is sadly your weight.
High cholesterol is a common problem among overweight people. Hence, it is essential for you to maintain your ideal weight on the basis of your current age, gender and other physical characteristics.
You will be successful in achieving your weight goals if you keep a track of all the calories that are entering your body.
More precisely, it is essential for you to ensure that you are burning more calories than what you are consuming in a day. To make your weight loss journey a success, begin by staying away from unhealthy fats, sugary items and of course processed foods.
Go for Routine Check Ups:
One of the main reasons as to why individuals find it difficult to bring their cholesterol levels under control is primarily because they are completely unaware about one such element making way in their bodies.
Since they are ignorant about this element, they fail to get their routine tests done. The only time when they become aware of their condition is when things get out of control.
There was a time when there was a common notion that individuals above the age of 45 or 50 years are required to get these tests done.
However, with time people have developed bad eating habits, they fail to get enough sleep, they have become very lethargic, which is why one can’t really lay an age parameter on the problem of cholesterol. Hence, all said and done, it is important to get the necessary tests done at regular intervals so as to know where you stand with regards to your cholesterol levels.
Limit Alcohol Consumption / Quit Smoking:
If you are someone, who picks up a glass of alcohol at the drop of your hat, then you need to be somewhat worried about your cholesterol levels going haywire.
This is because consumption of alcohol is believed to have a direct impact on the level of triglycerides in your body. If gone unchecked, a rise in the level of triglycerides can lead to health disorders such as hypertension. Hence, make it a point to have your alcohol in moderation.
Similarly, if you wish to keep a check on your cholesterol level, then it is important for you to quit smoking immediately. This is because; smoking is known to reduce the level of HDL cholesterol from your body.
Last, but not the least one very important essential as far as staying fit and healthy is concerned is to stay calm and happy.
This is true with respect to cholesterol management as well. Even if you are struck with the problem of high bad cholesterol, many a times you need to supplement your dietary and exercise efforts with a happy and positive mind.
You need to stop overthinking about your health condition. Also, you need to stay miles away from panic and distress.
This can be achieved by turning your attention to some form of meditation. Similarly, engaging in a few breathing exercises on a daily basis can also help in a massive way. In the end, just remember that staying happy can be an answer to most of your health problems, including high cholesterol.
We assure you that a quick look at the above write-up and all your questions related to cholesterol control will be answered at a click of the button.
Also, if you are hit by high level of cholesterol at the moment, you need not be worried. Just make it a point to follow all the aforementioned dos and don’ts and you should be able to reverse your high cholesterol condition in no time.
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