Cholesterol is both our friend and foe - at normal levels, it is an essential substance for the body's normal functioning, but if levels in the blood get too high, it becomes a silent danger that puts us at risk of a heart attack. In this article, we will run you through various tips to manage your cholesterol levels. So let’s get started

From the moment the heart starts beating, until the moment it stops, the human heart works tirelessly. So it is our responsibility to keep it healthy and get by following some of the tips:

Exercise 

Active people tend to have lower cholesterol levels, and regular exercise seems to slow down or stop the clogging of blood vessels by breaking down fatty plaque deposits. Doctors recommend a program of regular exercise—preferably aerobic activity which strengthens the heart and lungs—to lower cholesterol. A regular medium paced walk (5.5-6.5 km/ hour) five to six times a week is recommended. If you are young, then cycling is also very good. 

Mental relaxation

Helps to relieve stress, Stress can also be a major factor for high cholesterol levels thus the regular practice of yoga and meditation greatly helps to take the pressure off and in stress-management.

Oil

A combination of rice bran oil, mustard oil and groundnut oil can be used but not more than 3 to 5 tsp a day. (Limit total fat to less than 20 % of your daily calories.)

Avoid smoking

Puffing a cigarette decreases HDL by 6 to 8 mg/dl and increases VLDL and blood glucose level.

Saturated fat

The most effective way to lower cholesterol is to totally avoid saturated fats. If you check the list below you will realize that these are found in dairy products such as butter, cream, ghee, whole milk and coconut, lard etc. Some vegetable oils such as coconut, palm and cocoa butter are also high in SFA (Saturated Fatty Acids). Many commercial baked goods, non-dairy creamers and cookies are made of this vegetable oil, and so they should be totally avoided.  

Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, Trans fat is considered to be worse than SFAs because they do both: increase the LDL and decrease the HDL. They are used in stick margarine and in many fast foods and baked goods, including most white bread, cakes, pastries, cookies, Khari biscuits etc.

NON-DRUG APPROACH 

Fortunately, there are several diet tips for you to make sure your cholesterol stays in check. A nondrug, diet approach to maintaining appropriate cholesterol levels in an effective, safe and natural way for an individual to have good cholesterol levels. Below are some diet tips to help reduce and control your high cholesterol.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Lose those extra kilos to get your cholesterol levels in control, just by losing 5 kgs, your numbers may go down by 10 mg/dl.  
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables  & a variety of whole grain (like whole wheat, jowar, bajra, nachni rotis, brown rice. 
  • Use skim or low-fat dairy products. Foods that have specific ability to dissolve blood fats and can, therefore, help reduce high cholesterol include garlic, wheat germ, liquid chlorophyll,(wheatgrass juice) alfalfa sprouts, buckwheat, apples, celery.
  • Consume foods high in water-soluble fibre: flaxseed, guar gum (Gavar sabzi), oat bran.  
  • Citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables such as broccoli or cabbage are particularly beneficial. Their higher concentrations of folic acid, fibre and potassium, may be a key to reducing the risk for stroke or heart disease.
  •  Dining out substitute a side of fresh fruit or vegetables for chips or French fries.
  • Clear soups are better than cream-based soups.