Lower Your Cholesterol for a Heart-Healthy Life!
Cholesterol is not bad, but its excess is! While your body needs for some important body functions such as producing hormones and vitamin D, and helping with digestion of food, high levels of cholesterol are harmful and can have a drastic effect on heart health.Government statistics reveal that 3/4th of India’s population does not have normal cholesterol levels. Out of these, people in the age group of 25 to 69 are at higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. In fact, 60% of the world’s heart patients live in India and India has over a 100 million such patients!
High cholesterol does not happen overnight. The build-up occurs over the course of several years. So, the importance of making smart health choices needs to start early in life! Your weight, diet, lifestyle, exercise & genetics all play a significant role, so regulating these can help you lower bad cholesterol.
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Why Health Total?
Health Total’s integrated approach is easy-to-follow and helps to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and boost high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels by implementing 3 vital lifestyle components – a healthy food plan, herbal therapy and moderate exercise.
One disease many cures, many diseases one cure
We have a 4-step scientific approach to lower LDL cholesterol levels, as well as your heart disease risk. You will start the programme by following a heart-healthy diet. In the process, you will be controlling other risk factors for heart diseases like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Throughout the programme, Health Total experts will review your progress towards reaching your health goal and, if needed, they will make dietary changes.
The Health Total Approach
The Health Total experts help to manage cholesterol levels with a scientific food plan that is doable and easy to follow. Add to this our Ayurvedic herbs, which help to detoxify the organs [in this case liver] and make them function more efficiently. This reduces risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Diet & Lifestyle Tips
Diet has an important effect on blood cholesterol, but dietary requirements vary from person to person. What is critical is to maintain a healthy weight by regulating caloric intake and incorporating moderate physical activity. Losing weight is one of the best ways of lowering blood cholesterol – on an average 1 kg of weight loss can reduce LDL by 0.8 mg/d.
The Health Total approach includes a customised food plan with increased consumption of dietary fibre, soy foods and Omega-3 fatty acids that help in reducing LDL levels. Here’s a great Health Total regimen that helps lower LDL levels –
- Increase consumption of fatty fish such as mackerel, surmai, tuna and sardines
- Eat raw onions as it increases HDL cholesterol levels
- Avocados have the same type of fat in them as almonds and olives. Eat 1/2 to 1 avocado daily to reduce LDL levels
- Eat 3-4 cloves of chopped garlic daily. Also, include foods such as capsicum, cauliflower, oranges, carrots and spinach as they are rich in Vitamins A and C
- Cook meal in olive oil
- Exercise helps to boost good cholesterol levels. A brisk walk for about 45 minutes, 5 days a week is recommended
- Eat more of soluble fibre as it helps to lower LDL cholesterol
According to Ayurveda, lipids is meda dhatu, one of the seven dhatus. As cholesterol is one of the content of lipid tissues, its production becomes imbalanced when meda dhatu is imbalanced. At Health Total, we manage the health condition mainly with the detoxification of the liver and blood purification using herbs and supplements.
We recommend 30 to 40 minutes of mild exercise for 5 times a week. This will help to mobilise free fatty acids for burning and use them for energy production in the body. Moderate exercise also helps to boost HDL levels. If you are overweight, losing weight will ultimately help lose excess fat.
What Foods to Eat to Lower LDL?
- Oat bran – 6 chappatis daily
- Green peas
- Fruits and vegetables
- Olive oil
- Garlic – 3 cloves
- Seafood – 200 gms daily
- Brown rice
- Low-fat milk
Foods to avoid
- Animal protein
- High-fat milk
- Oils like corn and safflower
- Whisky, vodka or gin
- Fried snacks like potato chips
- White bread
- Packaged fruit juices
- Polished white rice
- Instant oatmeal
- Maida biscuits where the label reads ‘wheat flour’ as the main ingredient
- 3 cloves of chopped raw garlic
- 1 glass lime in hot water
- 4-8 almonds
- 2-3 fruits (mainly apples)
- Guar gum – 1 tbsp – before lunch
- 3 Oat bran chappati
- Vegetables (no potatoes)
- Sprouts + Carrot + onion
- 1 cup tea
- Guar gum – 1 tbsp – before dinner
- 3 oat bran chappatis
- Any whole dal or fish (mackerel)
- Vegetables (peas)
- Salad (carrots + onion)
- Vitamin C 50m daily
- Vitamin E 400
Alcohol – only Red Wine (occasionally)
Restoring good and bad cholesterol balance is rapidly helped by some critical lifestyle modifications, as they go a long way in helping one lead a healthy life. Here are some simple ways to keep your emotions from weighing your heart down —
Meditate: Reducing fat doesn’t get more natural than this! The lower the stress, the lower the stress hormones, cell damage and lower the LDL. Meditation is the best stress buster. Scientists have observed a reduction in stress hormones, free radicals, blood pressure and heart rate after individuals started meditation.
Deep breathing: Practice it daily, especially if you are stressed. While doing this, keep your mind blank; think of a beautiful place or a scene like a sunrise or a waterfall and breathe in oodles of good health.
Smile: As the proverb goes, “Smile, it costs nothing but gives much,” smiling is an effective way to control stress. It may not make things better, but it will keep your heart happy!
Read more about ways to increase good cholesterol
What is Cholesterol?
We have often heard about cholesterol being the main cause of a heart attack. But, is it as terrifying as it sounds? The fact is that cholesterol in blood is as important as salt in food. It plays an important role when it comes to digesting food. When a person eats a healthy meal, his body is capable of handling excess fat. But when he has no control over his diet, the body fails to handle it, leading to heart diseases.
Good & bad fats
Dietary fat also plays a crucial role in managing this health condition. Most people avoid eating fat as it adds inches to the waistline and causes health problems. But, did you know that all fat is not the same? While bad fats can have a negative impact on health, good fats have many benefits. Also, the body uses fat for energy. In fact, good fats play a major role in helping you manage your moods!
So, how do you identify good and bad fats?
- These are fats that are liquid at room temperature. Good fats are found in vegetable oils like olive, canola and sunflower. Other sources of good fats are walnuts, soybeans, legumes, chia seeds and avocados. You get Omega-3 fatty acids from seafood and flaxseeds.
- Bad fats, on the other hand, are solid at room temperature. They can be found in animal products or foods with a long shelf life. These include meat, eggs, dairy foods like cheese, cream and high-fat milk, fried foods and snacks.
Causes of High Cholesterol
Heard the phrase, ‘My heart leapt with joy when I saw a rainbow?’ Well, your heart indeed is a delicate organ. It leaps with joy when you are happy and it feels heavy as a stone when you are low.
Stress, anger and negative emotions are all risk factors for your heart. A Harvard medical school research states that the average risk of a stroke increased, two hours after the outset of anger, by two to three times! In addition, an unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, genetics and smoking are other causes of high cholesterol.
An unhealthy diet
Today, our diets are loaded with unhealthy fatty foods. Fried foods are sure good to taste, but they are filled with bad fats found in red meat, cheese and foods full of preservatives.
Exercise of any kind boosts HDL levels. However, our hectic jobs often make it almost impossible to take out time to go to the gym or even exercise at home! No exercise coupled with an overload of unhealthy foods is surely a recipe for disaster!
Lack of exercise can lead to accumulation of body fat. It slowly pushes us towards serious health disorders like obesity, which raises blood sugar and cholesterol levels. So, people who have BMI of 30 or more are at a greater risk of suffering from high cholesterol.
High cholesterol could also be in your genes! This means, if you have a parent who suffers from this condition or a family history, you too could be at a risk. Other inherited disorders like obesity could simply contribute. Take a 2-minute gene test and find out the lifestyle that best suits you!
Smoking is known to be one of the root causes of cancer, high blood pressure and cholesterol. This occurs because cigarette smoke damages the walls of your blood vessels.
Know more about the impact of cholesterol
Symptoms are natural warning signs of our body. Almost every disease has its own set of indications. But when it comes to high cholesterol, the symptoms are almost absent or tough to spot. In fact, one the most significant warning signs of high cholesterol is a heart attack. The absence of symptoms makes high cholesterol one of the most dangerous health disorder. In some cases, people who suffer from high cholesterol, may experience occurrence of bumps on their hands, feet or skin and pain while walking.
Heart diseases are a silent killer. They begin in early childhood and end in a heart attack in adulthood. So, how does one control cholesterol? The answer is simple, by making a few simple diet and lifestyle modifications. Try these cholesterol-friendly recipes!
Detoxification is an important process by which harmful toxins are flushed out from the body. Apart from aiding weight loss, it also helps lower LDL cholesterol. Herbs such as tulsi and neem, and spices like haldi are excellent home remedies.
Since high cholesterol is nearly impossible to detect, the best way to check is through a blood test, known as lipoprotein profile test. A little bit of awareness and restriction on your part will make sure you don’t miss a beat in the long run.