Do you know that Ischemic heart disease and stroke are the world’s biggest killers? Not to mention, high cholesterol levels cause Ischemic heart disease.
If this doesn’t convince you to throw away that last piece of cheese pizza you are about to eat, it’s difficult to see what will.
You can get loads of meds to keep your cholesterol levels from fluctuating. But, why would you waste your hard-earned money for a disease that you can prevent in the first place?
Whether you have already got blocked arteries or not, here are some of the best tips to make a huge difference in your body by helping you lower your cholesterol levels.
What happens when your cholesterol levels skyrocket?
Cholesterol travels through blood with the help of proteins called lipoproteins that have two types. These two types are LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein).
People call LDL as “Bad” and HDL as “Good” cholesterol.
Too much bad LDL cholesterol can lead to heart disease and stroke. This can create a plaque inside the blood vessels, in the long run, making the blood vessels narrow.
Consequently, blood flow is disrupted and creates angina (chest pain) and heart attacks.
HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, helps absorb and carry the cholesterol to the liver. The deposited cholesterol is then flushed out of the body by the liver.
Put simply, high HDL cholesterol levels can drastically lower the risk of stroke and heart disease.
However, the twist is, the liver actually moderates the amount of cholesterol that it produces depending on the cholesterol you eat in a day. The more you absorb cholesterol from the food you eat, the less cholesterol is produced in the liver.
But the bottom line is, you can improve your health by making certain lifestyle changes. Infuse these below mentioned choices in your life so you won’t have to pay endless visits to the doctor.
Use more Monounsaturated Fats
Great sources of Monounsaturated fats include Olives, olive oil, Canola oil, Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews, and fruits such as Avocados.
Monounsaturated fats can reduce lipoprotein oxidation that clogs arteries which create complications.
So, it is a wise choice to have more monounsaturated fats to augment HDL cholesterol and decrease harmful LDL cholesterol.
Reduce saturated and trans fats
The term “saturated fats” is rather common in society because we use them a lot in our diets.
Primary examples of saturated fats are red meat and full-fat dairy products.
Trans fats are also harmful and are sometimes labeled as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil”. These unsaturated fats go through a modification process called hydrogenation.
Trans fats are mostly found in kinds of margarine, cookies, cakes, and crackers, etc.
Both saturated fats and trans fats increase bad cholesterol in our bodies.
If you see “partially hydrogenated oil” contained in a product, refrain from buying it.
Use more foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids
According to a study published in healthline.com, changing the diets of 4,220 adults have managed to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The predominant change was, replacing 5% of their calories from polyunsaturated fats. These given carbohydrates made the subjects’ glucose and fasting insulin levels go down significantly.
A fine example of a polyunsaturated fat source is Omega-3 fatty acids. You can easily include these in your diet by taking seafood and fish oil supplements, fatty fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, deep-sea tuna such as bluefin or albacore, and shellfish like shrimp.
Other sources of omega-3s are walnuts and flaxseeds:
Increase the intake of Soluble fiber
Soluble fibers are compounds that can be found in plants. These compounds dissolve in water but humans cannot digest them. Soluble fibers can vastly reduce cholesterol absorption into your bloodstream making you healthy.
Another study published in healthline.com revealed that 30 adults who took 3 grams of soluble fiber supplements for 12 weeks every day reduced their bad cholesterol (LDL) by 18%.
You can include soluble fiber in your diet by eating kidney beans, oatmeal, Brussels sprouts, pears, apples, lentils, whole grains, etc.
Take Whey protein
Whey protein is also a good source to lower total cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
According to a study mentioned in healthline.com, a specific experiment showed a prominent reduction of LDL cholesterol in the overweight individuals who were given 54 grams of whey protein for 12 weeks every day.
Although the evidence is scarce at this moment, whey protein certainly has a huge impact on reducing bad cholesterol levels.
Have a drink, but in moderation
If you’re a teetotaller, skip this tip.
But if you drink alcohol once in a while, continue to do so. The ethanol in alcoholic drinks is responsible for the increase of HDL cholesterol levels. 2 drinks per day is a safe amount of alcohol for men and 1 drink for women.
Alcohol has this effect of “reverse cholesterol transport”. This means cleaning the walls of the blood vessels and taking this cholesterol back to the liver.
However, note that this doesn’t suggest that you should gulp an insane amount of alcohol that ends up in heart disease.
Smokers develop dysfunctional immune cells due to the tobacco tar. The incapability of transporting cholesterol from vessel walls to the liver can clog the arteries. This significantly lowers your HDL levels.
However, if you’re an avid smoker, you can reverse damaging your body further by simply putting a full stop to this habit.
Regular exercise benefiting your health is a no brainer. Do 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week or at least 3 times to improve your overall cholesterol levels. You don’t need to have a gym membership to get active.
Try having a daily walk whenever you’re free, make time for your preferred sport or ride a bike. Take the steps instead of the elevator. (Duh)
As you can clearly see, a small change in our diet or lifestyle can make a huge impact on our cholesterol levels.
Another good approach would be taking supplements such as Fish Oil that is high in omega-3 fatty acids or Psyllium, a soluble fiber supplement to improve your overall cholesterol levels.
The bottom line is not completely avoiding fat, but including more good fat in our diets. Remember to contact your health care provider if you suspect your cholesterol levels are off the charts.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry!