High level of bad (LDL) cholesterol is an increasingly common problem. If you have been diagnosed with high levels of bad cholesterol, there is a lot you can do yourself to bring it under control. Here are a few tips that anyone with cholesterol issues can follow to get the levels back under control.
Control Your Diet
Changes in your diet can have a major impact on your LDL levels. Here is how to do it:
• Reduce the amount of saturated fats you consume. These are found mainly in full-fat dairy products and red meats.
• Cut out trans fats. These are found in most fried foods and also in baked items. Check your cooking oil label and if it says that the oil contains “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil”; then it is high in trans fats. Switch to a healthier oil.
• Increase Omega-3 fatty acid consumption. While Omega-3 fatty acids do not directly work to reduce LDL levels, they are good for the heart and help to reduce blood pressure. Walnuts and flax seeds are a good source for this. If you are a non-vegetarian, many types of fish are rich in Omega-3.
• Increase soluble fibre intake. Solublefibres, such as those found in apples, pears, beans, oatmeal and other foods reduce the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed into the bloodstream.
• Add whey protein to your diet.
Stop Smoking and Drinking Alcohol
The cancer risks of smoking are well known. The fact that it reduces the good (HDL) cholesterol levels is not so widely appreciated. Stopping smoking will not only help to increase to good cholesterol levels in your system, it will also improve blood circulation and lung function as well as reducing the risk of heart disease.
Some research shows that moderate consumption of alcohol may lead to higher levels of HDL. However, the results are still not completely accepted and the benefits are not enough to justify alcohol consumption for a person who does not drink. If you do drink, ensure that it is as per the limits
Exercise reduces LDL levels and increased HDL. Start slowly, gradually work up to 30 minutes of vigorous exercise a week. If you have any medical conditions which may affect your ability to exercise, consult a doctor before beginning and modify the workout routine as per the doctor’s advice. A brisk daily walk, riding a cycle or playing sports are all good ways to get enough exercise. Take the stairs instead of using a lift. Weight reduction will also help control cholesterol levels. Exercise will help you to lose weight if coupled with good dietary habits like cutting down on sugar intake, aerated drinks and junk food.
While these are all safe ways of controlling your bad cholesterol levels, it is a good idea to consult a doctor before making such lifestyle changes. This will ensure that you get the maximum benefits from them.