Despite the contrary belief that cholesterol is always the villain, our body needs it to function properly and carry out a number of important functions.
Cholesterol is present naturally in the body in two types, namely LDL (low-density lipoproteins) and HDL (high-density lipoproteins). It is an essential fat which provides stability to every cell in the body. While both these types of cholesterol are required for the healthy functioning of the body, high levels of LDL or ‘bad cholesterol’ can lead to the build-up of plaque in the arteries. This can put one at an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke.
HDL: The well-behaved cholesterol
HDL is also known as ‘good cholesterol’ or ‘well-behaved’ cholesterol. Compared to other cholesterol particles, HDL cholesterol particles are denser in nature and thus known as high-density lipoproteins. HDL cholesterol plays a lead role in protecting us from serious health problems caused due to high levels of LDL.
- HDL moves through the bloodstream and flushes out excess levels of harmful LDL cholesterol particles.
- It keeps the arteries clean and prevents plaque from building up within them.
- It transports LDL particles to the liver where it is processed.
Thus, by performing these essential functions HDL protects us from serious health problems such as heart attacks, stroke, chest pain, and cardiovascular diseases.
However, an unhealthy diet, which is high in trans and saturated fats will definitely put you at risk of high cholesterol levels. But on the other hand, a healthy diet will help lower high cholesterol levels, as well as cut down your risk of the health problems which come along with it. So ensure you add these cholesterol-friendly foods into your diet.
Fiber is your friend
Apart from its prime role of aiding digestion, dietary fiber also helps keep cholesterol in balance. Fiber binds with excess cholesterol particles present in the body and helps in flushing them out from our system. So, ensure you include these fiberous foods into your diet on a daily basis.
- Fruits (bananas, apples, citrus fruits)
- Vegetables (potato, carrot, cauliflower)
- Nuts (walnuts, almonds)
Cut down on the junk
Hamburgers and French fries are called ‘junk food’ for a reason. Deep fried and oily foods have literally no nutritional value at all. But in the process of satisfying our cravings, we are unintentionally loading our body with unhealthy toxins, oils, and fats which in lead to high cholesterol levels. Thus, it would be best to cut down on the following cholesterol-raising food items.
- Deep fried & oily foods
- Red meats & fatty meats
- Cakes & pastries
- Coconut oils & cream
- Maida based cookies & biscuits
Fish & chickpeas
Certain foods are real superfoods when it comes to lowering and managing high cholesterol. Fish is high in Omega 3 fatty acids, which reduce triglycerides and lower total cholesterol levels in the body. Fish also helps lower high blood pressure, which is a common cause for high cholesterol. Here is a list on fish high in Omega 3 fatty acids and essential fish oils.
Boots are meant for walking!
Regular exercise such as brisk walking, or light exercise is known to lower high cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol. Exercise or even brisk walking helps convert cholesterol into bile, which is essential for digestion of food, and flushes out unhealthy toxins from our body. So use this as an excuse to buy yourself a fancy pair of new walking shoes or boots and get walking!
Shed a few kilos
Obesity or being overweight is the first indicator of the presence of visceral fat in your body. This leads to high levels of triglycerides and toxins in our body, which in turn puts one at risk of increased cholesterol levels as well as cardiovascular problems. Here are a few tips to help you lose weight effectively and quick!
- Detoxify your system
- Load up on fresh fruits & vegetables
- Brisk walk for 20 minutes daily
- Exercise at least 3-4 times a week
- Cut down on junk and fatty foods
- Consume Ayurvedic herbs (Tulsi, Neem)
- Load up with Indian spices (Haldi)
Breaking the habit
Excess consumption of alcohol, medications, and the intake of cigarette smoke can lead to a build-up of harmful toxins in our system and lead to an imbalance of cholesterol levels. This could also lead to additional health disorders, such as a rise in insulin levels and increased blood pressure. Thus, giving up or at least cutting down on smoking, drinking, and excessive medications will help protect you against high cholesterol levels.
So, now that you know how to raise HDL levels, it is time you start working on lowering that cholesterol! If you have any queries feel free to get in touch with our health expert on our toll free number 1-800-843-0206 right away.