We all believe that cholesterol is a bad word and we must get rid of it but that is perhaps not true. There are two types of cholesterol, HDL and LDL. While HDL (High Density Lipids) is good cholesterol and our body needs it for optimum functioning, LDL is the bad cholesterol which affects our health badly and should be avoided. When your doctor tells you that you have high cholesterol, he actually means that in your blood the LDL cholesterol is more than permissible and it is not good. Basically, cholesterol is a fatty element found in our blood. It is created by our liver and it plays a significant role in making of hormone and synthesis of vitamins in our body. The LDL cholesterol can cause plaque to accumulate in the arteries, leading to heart disease and heart failure whereas HDL or “good” cholesterol helps clear bad cholesterol from our blood. So, if you want to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol, then start with your diet today.
1. Fruits and vegetables
A diet rich in fruits and vitamins is good in many ways. It not only helps in reducing the weight and maintaining the blood sugar levels, it also helps by providing our bodies with lots of antioxidants. Aim for five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables in a day.
2. Include fish
Fish is a very healthy food in all senses. It is rich in omega fatty acids and low in saturated fats. Omega fatty acids actually help our body get rid of trigylcerides, which is a kind of fat found in our blood. You must have fish at least twice in a week in your diet. You can select from varieties like tuna, salmon, trout, sardines, etc.
3. Include cereals in your breakfast
Include cereals in your breakfast as they are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates. They make you feel fuller and hence you don’t feel like eating calorie laden foods at lunch time. You can include oatmeal, whole grains, brown rice, corn etc.
4. Include nuts
Whenever you feel like having snacks, go for nuts. Nuts are high in mono saturated fats which help in reducing LDL. Studies have shown that people who eat a handful of nuts daily have lower risk of heart diseases. Eat nuts like almonds, raisins, walnuts, etc.
5. Healthy fats
While some fats are bad for health, our body needs good fats for optimum functioning. Around 25% of our daily diet should come from good fats and can be derived from healthy oils like canola, olive and safflower if eaten in moderation.
6. Exercise regularly
30 minutes of exercises if done five days a week can help in lowering LDL to a great extent and simultaneously can increase the HDL levels. Regular exercising helps you maintain your weight also and maintain good looks along with good health. If you don’t have time to workout for 30 minutes at a stretch then you can break it up in three segments of 10 minutes each but ensure that you do them regularly.
7. Walk for good health
Going for regular walks is also a good idea. If you don’t feel like exercising, then simply go for brisk walks. Wear good quality shoes and go for a 40 minutes brisk walk at least 5 times a week. You will lose many calories and LDL along with it.
8. Keep fit by working out
If you want a variety in life then do cardio vascular exercises of different types like gardening, swimming, dancing, playing, etc. The point is to elevate the heart rate and burn calories. Do it whichever way you like most or simply mix match them as per your convenience.
9. Act smart when eat out
When going for eating out choose your food smartly. Order for lots of salads as a side dish and opt for boiled and baked foods. Start with a low fat glass of milk at home so that you feel partially full by the time you reach the venue.
10. Be careful with labels
So many packaged items come with different and hidden messages so read the labels carefully. Check the serving size of the packets and read the labels well since low fat, low calorie and such terms can have different connotations.
11. Stop stressing
If you take unnecessary stress it can worsen your health so better learn to relax through deep breathing, meditation, long evening walks, etc.
12. Avoid junk food
Stay away from junk foods such as chips, burger and other quick fixes. Avoid eating even smallest portion of these foods on daily basis.
13. Avoid full cream and dairy products
Full cream milk, curd, cheese, cottage cheese, etc all are laden with calories, so avoid them. Instead opt for low calorie substitutes.
14. Aim for healthy weight
Aim for healthy weight and work towards it. You will not only lose LDL but will also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
15. Consult your doctor regularly
Keep in touch with your doctor on a regular basis and take medication as per prescription.
A combination of right diet, exercise and lifestyle can help you achieve good health and lower cholesterol. So, start today!