Cholesterol seems to be a word that we’ve started hearing more and more. With increasing rates of heart disease and fatty liver or even obesity, the term cholesterol is something that seems to be pulled often into conversations.
What is it then?
Cholesterol is a wax-like substance that can be found naturally in our blood and is predominantly produced in our liver. It can also be found in food items like red meats, butter, eggs and cheese with a high fat content. While cholesterol in the right quantities is essential for maintaining good health, it does just the opposite when the level of it is too high. It is definitely the leading cause of coronary heart disease that is spreading throughout the globe.
But with the rise of heart disease, people have become alerted on how to reduce their cholesterol levels and stay healthy. So here are 5 healthy lifestyle tips that will help you stay fit.
Exercise regularly and stay active
Exercising is generally good for your health. From weight loss training to strengthening and stability improvement, any form of activity that you would genuinely enjoy doing is beneficial to your health. A moderate level of activeness throughout the week can help raise the HDL or good cholesterol in your system. If you have any pre-existing conditions that will prevent you from working out, speak with your local GP and see if working out at least for 30 minutes five or less days a week is possible. If you are healthy you should be able to work out even at high intensity for at least 20 minutes three times a week. In addition to losing weight and cholesterol you will also improve your stamina, agility and immunity. Remember that you don’t have to always go to the gym. Swimming, dancing or playing your favourite sport are all great ways to exercise and stay fit.
Smoking is bad for your health in general and in addition it helps to increase the bad cholesterol in your body too! When you stop smoking the good cholesterol or HDL starts increasing and within a year of smoking, it has been studied, that your risk of heart disease will be lowered by more than half of what it would have been, if you had continued smoking.
(Source: Journal of the American College of Cardiology http://www.onlinejacc.org/content/70/17/2171)
Relax don’t stress out
Did you know that when you stress out your cholesterol level increases? So whenever you feel stressed out, sit back, relax and do something that you enjoy, to distract you from the stress. On a different note, stressing out never helped anybody solve any problem. So stay calm and keep your cholesterol firmly in check.
Take alcohol only in moderation
Alright, for all of you who love your drinks, a moderate use of alcohol has been associated with higher levels of HDL; the good cholesterol. But, the advantages of this are not strong enough to recommend alcohol consumption to anybody who does not drink already. Therefore, if you do not drink alcohol, please stay free of it and enjoy great health anyway. If you do drink alcohol, take it in very moderate quantities. This NHS guide can help you out with the recommended usage per week. Too much alcohol can cause serious health complications such as heart failure, strokes, liver cirrhosis and high blood pressure.
Eat right and eat clean
Finally, the most important step towards good health begins with clean eating.
- Reduce as much as possible on saturated fats that can be found in red meats and full fat dairy products. When you reduce the consumption of saturated fats it automatically lowers the level of LLD (low-density lipoprotein) or the bad cholesterol.
- Take trans fats off the list too. When you see a food package saying “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” don’t buy it. These are usually found in magarines, cakes and some ready-made confectionary items. The Food and Drug Administration has actually banned the use of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils with a deadline of 01st January 2021.
- Take in more omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids will not affect your LDL cholesterol and they carry health benefits including lowering hypertension. Some foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, herring, mackerel, walnuts and flaxseeds, all of which are readily available at any supermarket.
- Increase your intake of soluble fiber that can reduce the amount of cholesterol getting absorbed into your bloodstream. Soluble fibre is found in oats, nuts, seeds, barley, bran, lentils, peas and beans and even in some fruits and vegetables.
- Incorporate little amounts of whey protein into your diet. You can find whey protein naturally in your dairy products too. If you are to take supplements do consult your doctor first.
- Use a nutrition guide that will help you filter out the food that carries bad cholesterol from the ones that have just good cholesterol. This video gives you the top foods you can eat to lower your LDL.
But how can you cook balanced meals in confidence?
Sometimes, the information on websites and books alone may not be enough for you to know if the diet that you are adopting for you and your family is correct, especially if there are children and elders who have very different dietary needs.
Study 365 can help you understand you and your family’s nutrition requirements. Take up our online nutrition courses that you can learn from home and become a nutritionist with a recognised qualification, that will make you proficient to even give diet plans to others in need! Not only will it help you stay healthy, it will help you build your career too!
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