The Importance of Lowering Cholesterol
Anyone who believes they are at risk of heart disease should take steps to rectify that situation as quickly as possible. High levels of LDL – the so-called ‘bad cholesterol” — are dangerous to your health and may increase with age. Anyone over the age of 20 should undergo screening for high cholesterol at least every five years – and more frequently if high cholesterol runs in your family.
There are a number of simple life style changes that are easy to implement and may reduce your cholesterol levels.
Taking part in regular exercise of any kind has many health benefits. Not only does it lower the levels of LDL but it will also increase the levels of the ‘good” cholesterol’ HDL. Incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine is easy to do – walking during your lunch hour with workmates or an evening stroll with your partner or pet are all simple ways of increasing activity levels. It is also a good idea to use your car less and walk more; if you have to use the car, park further away from your destination than normal. When using the bus, get on and off earlier and walk the extra distance. Little steps like these can go a long way.
Avoid saturated fats
Recent studies show a definite link between saturated fat and high cholesterol levels. You can reduce the intake of these types of fats by exchanging them for ‘smart’ fats such as canola oil, olive oil, nut butters, avocados, and oily fish.
Increase fish intake
Omega-3 fatty acids are excellent at lowering cholesterol levels and can be found not just in oily fish such as salmon, fresh tuna, sardines, mackerel, herring etc but also in walnuts, soybeans, flaxseed, and almonds. For those who dislike fish, a men’s omega-3 supplement can provide similar benefits.
Increase fiber intake
Fresh fruit, vegetables, pulses, and legumes, oats, and barley are all excellent sources of dietary and soluble fiber as well as antioxidants known to be beneficial to heart health and cholesterol reduction.
Recent studies indicate that consuming one alcoholic drink a day can increase levels of HDL. This is not, however, an excuse for excessive drinking; moderation is key. It is also important to avoid sodas and juices that may contain high levels of sugar. Consuming green tea instead has been shown to reduce the levels of LDL and the risk of cardiac disease by as much as 11 %.
This advice needs no further explanation. Smoking increases the risk of serious health problems and reduces levels of good cholesterol. Don’t do it. Period.
Individuals at risk of heart disease may benefit from medication to lower their cholesterol levels. Prescription medications such as statins are known to reduce LDL levels by as much as 50% far quicker than diet and exercise alone.
Natalia Z. is a one of the specialists on Webctor.com – a new health center which is responsible for bringing free and accurate medical information to the Internet. You can follow the portal on Twitter @webctor_com
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