Cholesterol is a fatty substance that vital in building healthy cells. Some forms of cholesterol help the body’s regular functions. For example, we need cholesterol in our skin cells to make vitamin D from sunlight. In addition, our body also uses cholesterol to make certain hormones and fat-dissolving bile acids.
However, if your blood contains too much cholesterol, it can lead to serious health problems, including heart attack or stroke. Here are some tips to maintain healthy cholesterol levels:
#Tip 1 Avoid artificial trans fats
Artificial trans fats are produced through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil to solidify them at room temperature. Many fast-food outlets use hydrogenated vegetable oil in their deep fryers for cooking as it is easy to use and lasts a long time. Naturally occurring trans fats are produced in the gut of cattle and foods (milk and milk products) made from these animals. Trans fats increase your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Eating food rich in trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
#Tip 2 Know your cholesterol levels and have them checked regularly
To stay healthy, it’s important to monitor your cholesterol levels. But the sad truth is that high cholesterol levels rarely cause any symptoms. Your chances of developing high cholesterol depend on being overweight and eating a high saturated and trans fats diet. Doctors use a blood test called a lipoprotein panel, or lipid profile, to check cholesterol levels. If your LDL is at 160 mg/dL or higher, your cholesterol is considered high. If cholesterol builds up in arteries, it can cause lower blood flow to the heart.
#Tip 3 Eat heart-healthy foods
Eating foods that can lower your cholesterol levels improves your health. Here are some recommended changes:
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are the heart-healthy type of polyunsaturated fat. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, herring, deep-sea tuna, like bluefin or albacore, walnuts, and flaxseeds. Other sources of omega-3s include seeds and tree nuts.
- Reduce saturated fats
Red meat and full-fat dairy products have a significantly higher amount of saturated fat. By reducing your intake of saturated fats, you can reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Increase soluble fiber
Soluble fiber binds cholesterol and prevents it from entering the bloodstream. Foods rich in soluble fiber include oatmeal, kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples, and pears.
#Tip 4 Increase your physical activity
Moderate exercise appears to have a favorable effect on your total cholesterol levels. Do at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week or vigorous aerobic activity for 20 minutes three times a week. Exercise helps lower triglycerides and increase HDL, the good cholesterol. Popular physical activities include walking, jogging, biking, swimming, and dancing. If you are afraid of doing these exercises alone, you can join a loved one or a group to make them exciting and fun.
#Tip 5 Lose weight
If you are obese, it means you have accumulated excess fat in your body. If a person is overweight, the heart has to work harder, which may even lead to a cardiac arrest. Losing weight may seem like an uphill task, but once you see its positive effects, you’ll change your perspective. Even a small-to-moderate weight loss can make a difference. To lose weight, begin by cutting down on portion size. Now, look at the nutritional value of each food. Foods that are high in sugar and simple carbohydrates are also high in calories. A low-fat content diet includes foods like fish, lean meat, and dairy products.
About Complete Healthcare – Primary Care and Gynecology
We are a group of physicians, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses, providing the best healthcare services to patients. We always strive to provide the finest state-of-the-art individualized care possible in areas like blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, mental health, weight loss, and nutrition.
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