By Dt. Ritika Dua, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Good heart health is very important for a healthy living and it’s cumulative. The earlier we start making healthy lifestyle choices, the better it is as we get older, particularly when it comes to high cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance made by the body and found in certain foods, our body need some cholesterol in order to function properly, but having too much puts us at risk for having a heart attack or stroke. How to control the cholesterol levels?
- Eat Healthy Foods:
- First and foremost is to choose healthier fats for consumption
- Eliminate diet with trans-fatty acids.
- Eat food rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Increase soluble fibre and add whey protein.
- Exercise on most days of the week and increase physical activity:
- Moderate physical activity can help raise high – density lipoprotein i.e. the good cholesterol 30 minutes of exercise is recommended in consultation of doctor.
- Physical activity, even in 10-minute intervals several times a day, can help begin to lose weight.
- Quit Smoking: Quit smoking to improve the HDL cholesterol level. It’s observed that within 20 minutes of quitting, the blood pressure and the heart rate decreases.
- Lose Weight: Increased weight contributes to high cholesterol. Start by evaluating the eating habits and daily routine. Avoid fast food and switch to something healthier.
- Consumption of Alcohol should be only in moderation: Too much of alcohol can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke.
- Ban Trans Fats: Tran’s fats raise the LDL level, lower the HDL and increase risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Though it’s hard to avoid as it’s found in fried foods, baked goods etc. but try avoiding the same while shopping always read the labels of the food.
- Scale Back: There is no need to lose a lot of weight to lower the cholesterol. For overweight, dropping just 10 pounds will be helpful in cutting the LDL by up to 8%.
- Fill up on Fibre: Foods like oatmeal, apples, prunes, and beans are high in soluble fibre, which helps body from absorbing cholesterol.
- Opt for Olive Oil: Substituting olive oil with butter may reduce LDL cholesterol by as much as 15%, which is similar to the effect of a low dose of medication. Extra virgin oil is recommended as it’s less processed and contains more antioxidants, which help prevent disease.
Do not get into self-medication. Always consult an expert physician followed by Heart Specialist if need be. Stay Healthy!