Make these 8 lifestyle changes to lower cholesterol levels and keep heart disease at bay& |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- Having high cholesterol can put you at an increased risk of heart disease and stroke
- Unhealthful lifestyle choices are the leading cause of high cholesterol, although other factors can contribute to high LDL
- This article explores some natural ways to increase HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol
New Delhi: High levels of cholesterol — a fat-like substance that helps your body build healthy cells and produce hormones — can increase your risk of heart disease. The heart, as we know, is a vital organ in our body, hence, maintaining it in the right way does matter a lot. While there are many conditions that can affect the overall functioning of this essential organ, leading to life-threatening diseases, high LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels in your body has been identified as one of the main risk factors for heart disease. Other medical conditions and factors that can contribute to a cardiac disease include diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, and a poor diet.
Cholesterol is one of the main components that help in building the cell walls in our body. But like it is said anything above the scale is harmful, the concept applies to heart cholesterol too. Well, cholesterol is a waxy fat layer found in our body and blood as well. When the levels exceed in our blood, cholesterol tends to block the arteries that pump blood to our heart leading to many cardiovascular diseases. But did you know that there are different types of cholesterol – based on what the lipoprotein carries? Read on to learn more about the types of cholesterol, their roles and what you can do to lower LDL.
There are two main types of cholesterol
“Blood cholesterol is mainly of two kinds, said Dr Sunil Kumar, consultant cardiologist, Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal, Bangalore, as he explains the difference between LDL and HDL.
- LDL (low-density lipoprotein): While LDL is the bad cholesterol that blocks your arteries.
- HDL (high-density lipoprotein): HDL is the good cholesterol that helps in carrying the LDL away from the arteries, keeping our heart safe.
What you can do to lower cholesterol
Usually, high cholesterol is due to poor diet, zero exercise, bad sleep patterns and excessive stress. But the level of cholesterol can be controlled with proper lifestyle changes. Here are some tips suggested by the doctor to lower the bad cholesterol naturally:
- Consuming soluble fibre-rich diet: Soluble fibre prevents some dietary cholesterol from being broken down and digested. Foods like oatmeal, chick pea, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans can lower blood cholesterol.
- Reduce salt intake: Even though salt does not play a direct role in increasing cholesterol, it does affect a person’s blood pressure which can lead to heart strokes. Replace your foods with low sodium intake or with no salt foods.
- Eat fresh fruits and veggies: Apples, bananas, prunes, organs, pears help in lowering the cholesterol in the body. Fruits and vegetables are the direct sources for soluble fibres. So add lots of greens to your diet.
- Reduce/quit alcohol and smoking: When a person consumes alcohol or smokes regularly, their LDL level increases and HDL level will go down. When consumed excessively, these habits can increase the risk of heart diseases and triglycerides levels in our body.
- Avoid trans-fat foods: Oily, spicy, colourful, cheesy, sugary all these foods raise LDL levels and reduce HDL levels in the body, resulting in heart issues.
- Lose the extra weight: If you are above the normal weight, that means your LDL levels might be high too. By losing weight a person will cut down their LDL levels.
- Add omega/fish to your diet: Reduce red meat and include fish (salmon, sardines, tuna) in your diet. It will not only increase your omega levels in your body but will protect your heart by reducing saturated fats in your body.
- Exercise regularly: Be active. It helps in increasing the HDL levels in our body and will reduce LDL and triglycerides. 20 minutes of cardio in a day can slowly boost your cholesterol levels.
Along with these tips, keep yourself calm and stress-free, the less your stress levels are the better is your heart. Keep laughing as this will calm your mind and will help you in leading a healthy long life.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.