Tips and Tricks on How to Lower Cholesterol Levels
People often think that cholesterol is the culprit for heart problems and other diseases. But despite all the bad publicity poor cholesterol gets it is actually needed by the body. In addition there are actually several types of cholesterol; the two more important ones being High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol and Low Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol.
- High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol or more commonly known as “good cholesterol” has a higher percentage of protein. Its main function is to scavenge the blood stream for fats and bring them to the liver for processing. To put it simply, it cleans up the blood vessels and helps prevents the formation of fatty plaques that cause heart attacks and strokes.
- Low Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol or the “bad cholesterol” has less protein and more fat. It primarily works by bringing lipid or fat molecules to cells where they are used to maintain cell walls, making hormones or for energy. In a sense, LDL’s are actually needed by the body. However, in high amounts they cause fats to deposit on the blood vessels and cause health problems.
When health care professionals say that a person needs to lower his or her cholesterol levels, they actually mean keeping the HDL and LDL cholesterols within healthy limits. HDL Cholesterol should ideally be 60 mg/dl or higher while LDL should be less than 100 mg/dl. The keystone to keeping cholesterol within these limits is actually a healthy lifestyle.
Modify Your diet
A good percentage of the cholesterol in our body comes from the food we eat. Foods high in LDL’s include animal products like burgers and pork, fried products such as chips and fries and baked sweets. To lower cholesterol levels, one should limit the intake of foods high in LDL and opt for foods high in HDL such as olive oil and avocados.
Fiber forms an insoluble gel in the small intestines. This greatly helps control the absorption of cholesterol into the body. Foods that are good sources of fiber include oats, leafy vegetables and whole grains.
Keep Your Blood Sugar and Weight Under Control
Increased intake of sugar eventually can also cause an increase in fats in the body. Limiting sugar intake and keeping your weight healthy, can prevent the occurrence of diabetes and the conversion of extra sugar into fats.
A good way to prevent the build-up of fat is to exercise. Aerobic exercise like brisk walking, 30 to 60 minutes per day can do a lot to bring down LDL levels and increase HDL levels. Dancing, swimming, and aerobic classes are also good forms of aerobic exercises.
Regular Check Up and Medications
While diet plays a major role in controlling cholesterol levels, some people have a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia, where the body produces more cholesterol than normal. For people who have family members who have problems in cholesterol, they should have themselves monitored regularly because even with a healthy lifestyle, cholesterol may still be high. More often medications may be needed to normalize these levels.