Oh my god! My cholesterol levels are high, what do I do? Tensed ? No doubt high cholesterol levels can keep you worried most of the times because having elevated cholesterol levels can put you at a risk of heart disease.
However with a healthy lifestyle you can control the risk. Few simple dietary changes can definitely aid in increasing your HDL levels and at the same time decrease your LDL levels.
While you might require medicines in order to bring down the cholesterol levels, simple dietary changes would make sure that you are saved from high dosages of the same.
Lets us understand what cholesterol is-
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is actually a naturally occurring substance which required by the body for various processes such as functioning of the cells,hormones and nerves. Cholesterol up to a certain level does not cause harm but if there is continuous buildup of the same then it can give rise to plaque which can clog arteries which are responsible for carrying blood to the heart. This can predispose you to heart disease, hypertension, strokes and peripheral vascular issues.
What are the normal levels of cholesterol-
Cholesterol (Total) - less than 200 mg/dl
LDL Cholesterol- 65-180 mg/dl
Triglycerides-45-155 mg/dl (less than 160 mg/dl)
HDL Cholesterol- Negative risk factor less if than 60 mg/dl
3 simple dietary tips to reduce the cholesterol levels-
1. Fill up with Fiber
Make friends with fiber !!Eat your fiber to stay healthy!Fiber is very essential whether you need to lose weight,lower your blood sugar levels or reduce the levels of cholesterol.Various studies have shown that fiber can lower the levels of LDL and increase the levels of HDL. The more fiber you consume the less cholesterol would be absorbed by your body. Hence you need to add foods like oats,brown rice, broken wheat, barley,quinoa and fresh fruits and vegetables (spinach, bottle gourd, carrot, tomato, oranges, apple, pear, prunes, papaya, peach and so on) which contain fiber in abundance in your diet for sure. These foods can help you in staying full for longer duration and make sure that you do not consume oily, fattening and unhealthy stuff.
2. Stay away from trans fats and saturated fats
Say no to trans fats and saturated fats!While it's okay to eat your favorite pizza, burger and chinese food once in a while, it is definitely not an ideal snacking choice.Reason ?It is loaded with saturated and trans fats. Not only these foods like palm oil, red meat, pastries, doughnuts, fried foods (bhajiyas,vada pav,samosa pav) and various chips and cookies are equally loaded with trans fats and saturated fats. These foods are capable of increasing your LDL levels and decreasing your HDL levels predisposing you to heart problems and stroke.So next time to happen to visit a nearby grocery store make sure that you read the food labels and if you spot the word ''partially hydrogenated oil'' then beware!!It is a new fancy word for the very famous ''trans fats'''.Opt for foods like omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids such as almonds, walnuts, salmon, tuna, olive oil, flax-seeds,avocado (in moderation,basically just half of it in a day),chia seeds,poultry,eggs and sunflower seeds.
3. Lose it up
Lose weight with ease!To lower down your cholesterol levels it is extremely important to lose weight.Studies have shown that people who lose weight are able to control their cholesterol levels really well and losing weight can also be helpful in lowering down LDL levels by about 7-8%.Make sure you consume a nutritious and healthy diet comprised of fresh veggies and fruits loaded with fiber ,cereals like brown rice,quinoa,barley and protein rich foods like beans,Greek yogurt,low fat milk,Cottage cheese and occasionally a salad topped up with feta cheese.A high fibre,moderate protein and low fat diet works extremely well for weight loss.If you are obese or overweight then do consult a trained nutritionist and dietitian for a personalized diet plan which keeps in mind your lifestyle,medical issues and nutritional requirements in mind.
EAT WELL AND STAY HEALTHY!
Eat your way to good health!
So say yes to a healthy life and keep your cholesterol levels in check!