There are two types of cholesterol – good (or HDL) and bad (or LDL.) You should look to boost HDL levels, while lower LDL levels through diet and lifestyle modifications.
LDL and HDL undertake the unique task of carrying vitamins and other substances through the blood. When you do not provide your body with sufficient antioxidants like Vitamins A, C and E, LDL gets oxidised much faster. So, it is referred to as the bad cholesterol. On the other hand, HDL is high in protein and carries less fatty acids. It picks up the excess cholesterol left by LDL and transports it back to the liver. So, it is called the good cholesterol.
Cholesterol in the body is as important as salt in food. But when it exceeds the normal range, it gets deposited in the walls of the arteries, narrowing the arteries and restricting blood flow. This increases your risk of heart disease. If you want to lower your high cholesterol levels, it’s time to switch to a heart-healthy diet and do moderate exercises to prevent it from getting worse.
Some of the major risk factors for high cholesterol are family history, age and lifestyle. In lifestyle, you need to change your diet, cut down on alcohol and do some physical activity to keep cholesterol levels in normal range. At the same time, it is important to get it checked regularly after a certain age. Men are at a higher risk than women, but a women’s risk goes up after she hits menopause. For those with high cholesterol, frequent testing is recommended.
The following are the ideal cholesterol levels one should have –
- Desirable amount – Less than 200 mg/dl
- Boderline high – 200-239 mg/dl
- High – 240 mg/dl and above
If you want to lower cholesterol naturally, then begin with your diet. Health Total’s integrated approach is easy-to-follow and helps to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and boost high-density lipoprotein (HDL) by implementing a healthy food plan, herbal therapy and moderate exercise. We have a 4-step scientific process to lower cholesterol and reduce your heart disease risk. Health Total experts use ‘food as medicine’ to control other risk factors such as weight gain, diabetes and high blood pressure.
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Follow these tips to lower cholesterol naturally
1) Exercise regularly – Mild exercise such as walking, cycling and jogging can help keep cholesterol in the normal range. Exercise will also improve blood circulation and lower risk of coronary heart disease. Do it for at least 30 minutes for 6 days in a week.
2) Shed extra weight – Losing at least 10% of your body weight can make a lot of difference! Weight loss helps to lower high triglyceride levels as well. All you must do is cut down on your total calorie intake and exercise regularly.
3) Add fibre to your diet – Studies have shown that fibre reduces cholesterol. So, add fibre to your daily diet by eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereals and raw vegetable salad. Oats contains soluble fibre (beta- glucan) which helps lower LDL cholesterol. Now, start your day with a bowl of oatmeal porridge (made in water)!
4) Choose a diet low in saturated fats and trans fats – Foods which contain high amount of saturated fats include animal fats, butter, dairy products and ice creams. While foods with high amount of trans fats include margarine, shortenings, baked foods, fried foods, cakes, pastries, cake mixes and farsan. Avoid these foods. Whole egg contains cholesterol, so eat egg whites instead.
5) Choose your oils wisely – For lowering cholesterol, both the quality and quantity of oils used while preparing food is important. Cook food in rice bran oil or olive oil if you have high cholesterol. Also, just because you are using a healthy oil does not mean you can use more of it. Make sure to use only 3 to 4 teaspoons of oil per person per day.
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6) Include Omega-3 fatty acids – These improve your HDL levels. Some excellent sources of Omega-3 include nuts such as walnuts, fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, and flaxseeds. Eat fish 3 to 4 times in a week. You can grill, bake or steam it.
7) Flaxseed powder and isabgol – Take 1 tablespoon of flaxseed powder and 1 tablespoon of isabgol daily. These will also help you to lower total cholesterol levels and raise HDL.
8) Read nutrition labels carefully – Apart from healthy eating and moderate exercises, it is equally important to read nutrition labels carefully before buying the food product. You must know the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats. Only then you’ll be able to choose heart-healthy foods.
9) Cut down on portion sizes – The best way to control weight is to eat 4 to 6 small meals in a day, instead of two large meals. Restaurants serve large portion sizes, so consider splitting them. As far as possible eat homemade food because it will give you more control over your portion sizes as well as the ingredients that go into the dish.
10) Eat soluble fibre – Compared to the solid fibre found in fruits and vegetables, the soluble fibre in beans works wonders when it comes to lowering bad cholesterol. You can also find soluble fibre in flaxseeds, oatmeal and legumes.
11) Quit smoking – Smoking increases the risk of coronary artery disease in people who have high cholesterol. Also, cigarette smoking lowers good HDL cholesterol. So, the importance of quitting smoking cannot be emphasized enough!
12) Take short vacations – Stress is one of the contributing factors for high cholesterol. Take short vacations over weekends; indulge in some reading; catch up with friends; or watch movies to relax. This will keep your cholesterol in check.
13) Add spices – They not only add flavour to the food, but also improve cholesterol levels. Include garlic, curcumin (found in raw turmeric), ginger, black pepper, coriander and cinnamon to your diet plan.
What you eat plays an important role if you want to lower cholesterol levels. So, eat wisely and stay healthy! Call up on our toll-free number 1800 891 8131 and book an appointment with our experts for a personalised diet plan today!