- Too much darkness can kill, yet too much light can blind. We need a reasonable amount of light during the day and night, enough to be able to view things and perform our daily tasks but not put a strain on the eyes. Similarly, our body needs a moderate amount of cholesterol, enough to perform the important functions of synthesis of hormones and vitamin D, help in the process of creating body cells, and prepare bile to help with digestion. However, cholesterol becomes a bane for health when it increases beyond the optimum levels in the body.
- Too much cholesterol can have a detrimental effect on the body, e.g., obstructing the blood flow by clogging the arteries, leading to chest pain and stroke. In fact, high cholesterol levels have become one of the major causes of heart problems around the globe. To reduce morbidity and mortality from heart conditions, doctors advise keeping cholesterol levels in check. Reducing high cholesterol and maintaining the ideal cholesterol levels in the body might be easier said than done, but it is surely an achievable goal. Following is a list of to-do’s to follow regularly that can help you get closer to achieving a healthy cholesterol level.
- Eat heart-healthy foods: Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is naturally produced by our body. Eating less fatty foods can help prevent excess fat from being formed and stored in the body. A heart-healthy diet plan that includes foods free of trans and saturated fats and low-calorie foods helps maintain a healthy weight and avoids excess fat build-up in the body. Some heart-healthy options for you are:
– Whole grain bread and cereals
– Fresh fruits and veggies
– Pulses, lentils and beans
– Barley and oats
– Seeds and nuts
– Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, e.g., salmons and sardines
– Potatoes with their skins
Following are some foods that should be avoided in a heart-healthy diet plan:
– Ghee (clarified butter) and butter
– Meals prepared in palm or coconut oil
– Fatty portions of meat
– Hard cheeses (cheddar, marble, parmesan, etc.)
– Biscuits and cakes
- You can kick-start healthy eating by choosing to grill, microwave, steam, poach or boil your foods instead of frying them. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet plan and the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet plan are great diet plans that aim to reduce high cholesterol levels in the body along with lowering blood pressure and the risk of diabetes.
- Sign up for a cholesterol-lowering aerobic exercise routine: Exercising helps lower triglyceride levels and increases high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL or good cholesterol) levels in the body. Exercising for 30 minutes per day can help maintain them in the long run. Aerobic exercise routines include exercises with repetitive movements, for example, cycling, walking, using elliptical machines and swimming. Remember to start slow and go slow at first and then speed up gradually for 30 minutes. Stay hydrated and wear comfortable shoes and clothes while exercising.
- Kick the butt: Quitting smoking can not only improve your lifespan and lung health but also help you maintain your healthy cholesterol levels. It helps to improve HDL levels in the body. Along with managing cholesterol levels, quitting smoking can help regulate blood pressure and circulation in the lungs and body. The risk of being diagnosed with a heart disease reduces by half after a year of quitting smoking.
- Maintain a healthy weight: The chances of having increased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL or bad cholesterol) are higher in people who are obese or overweight. Aim to be in the healthy weight range with an appropriate body mass index to make sure you are not underweight or overweight. Eat low calories, burn more fat and exercise daily to maintain healthy body weight.
- Try to save up on your medical bills of cholesterol-reducing medications by practising a healthy lifestyle and dietary habits starting today. Consult dieticians and nutritionists on the HealthAssure app to find out more on diet plans suitable for your body type and weight. Find a qualified and expert cardiologist near you to keep a check on your heart health regularly using the HealthAssure app. Download now!
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