High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. The high cholesterol levels and the sedentary life can cause arthrosclerosis or accumulation of cholesterol or formation of plaque in the blood arteries causing blockages and subsequent heart disease. Following are few tips to control your cholesterol levels and keep your heart healthy.
- Eat healthy for your Heart
No matter what diet we have been taking this far, it is highly important to make some changes in our diet to reduce cholesterol and improvise the health of our heart.
- Choose healthy fats
Red meat and also dairy products comprise of saturated fats that increase our total cholesterol and LDL or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or the bad cholesterol. We should get below 7% of our daily calories from saturated fat, take lean meat cuts, mono saturated fats found in olive oil and canola oil and low fat dairy.
- Eliminate trans fats
Trans fats lower the good cholesterol and increase the bad one. This raises the risk of having heart attack. Trans fat is found in fried food and several commercial products i.e. cookies, snack cakes and crackers. We can’t rely on packages with label of trans fat free. In some countries 0.5 grams trans fat is labeled as trans fat free. Go through ingredient list and abstain from food that comprises of partially hydrogenated oil.
- Take food rich in omega-3 fatty acid
Omega-3 acids do not have an effect on LDL cholesterol. They are beneficial for heart as they help in increasing HDL or high density lipoprotein cholesterol, decreasing triglycerides and decreasing blood pressure. Salmon and mackerel fish walnut, ground flaxseeds and almond comprise of omega-3 fatty acid.
- Opt for Soluble fibres
Soluble and insoluble are 2 types of fiber that are good for heart-health. Soluble fiber helps in decreasing LDL level. We should take oats, fruits, lentils, vegetables and beans for soluble fiber.
- Take whey protein
It is one of 2 proteins within dairy products as the other one is casein. Whey protein has several health benefits ascribed to dairy. As per studies, it can be given as supplement to lower LDL and the total cholesterol.
Opt for exercise and physical activities
Exercise improves cholesterol. Moderate physical activities help in raising HDL or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol or the good cholesterol. Consult your doctor about a 30 minute exercise every day. Doing more physical activities help us in losing weight:
- Swimming laps
- Daily brisk walk during lunch hour
- Cycling to work
- Playing a sport
- Take stairs instead of elevators
- Sit-ups while watching your favorite television show
Stop smoking if you do. This shall raise your good cholesterol or HDL. Heart rate and blood pressure decrease within 20 minutes of quitting smoking. Risk of heart attack reduces to 50% as compared to a smoker, within a year. Risk of heart problem becomes similar to a person who never smoked within 15 years of quitting smoking.
Even a few additional kilograms contribute to high cholesterol. Losing even 5 – 10% of body weight can improve the level of cholesterol. One should evaluate our daily eating habits and routine. If you are frustrated or bored, take a walk instead of eating. Instead of depending on fast food, carry something healthy and home-made to your office for lunch. Do not indulge in mindless eating.