Ways to lower your cholesterol
High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. In fact, the higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack.
When there is too much cholesterol in your blood, it builds up in the walls of your arteries. Over time, this build-up causes hardening of the arteries so that they become narrowed and blood flow to the heart is slowed down or blocked. The blood carries oxygen to the heart, and if enough blood and oxygen cannot reach your heart, you may suffer chest pain. If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by a blockage, the result is a heart attack.
Speaking about the same, Dr SS Agarwal – National President IMA & Padma Shri Awardee Dr KK Aggarwal – Honorary Secretary General IMA and President HCFI said, “High blood cholesterol itself does not cause symptoms; so many people are unaware that their cholesterol level is too high. Lifestyle changes are imperative given the increasing incidence of high cholesterol in people in the 21st century. There are many ways in which lifestyle diseases can be averted including living an active and healthy life, eating healthy food, staying away from cigarettes and alcohol and finding effective means of stress management.
Here are a few steps for using your diet to lower your cholesterol.
1. Consume unsaturated fats and avoid saturated and trans fats. Most vegetable fats (oils) are made up of unsaturated fats that are healthy for your heart. Foods that contain healthy fats include oily fish, nuts, seeds, and some vegetables. At the same time, limit your intake of foods high in saturated fat, which is found in many meat and dairy products, and stay away from trans fats.
2. Get more soluble fiber. Eat more soluble fiber, such as that found in oatmeal and fruits. This type of fiber can lower blood cholesterol levels when eaten as part of a healthy-fat diet.
3. Include plant sterols and stanols in your diet. These naturally occurring plant compounds are similar in structure to cholesterol. When you eat them, they help limit the amount of cholesterol your body can absorb. Plant sterols and stanols are found in an increasing number of food products such as spreads, juices, and yogurts.
4. Find a diet that works for you. When a friend or relative tells you how much his or her cholesterol level dropped after trying a particular diet, you may be tempted to try it yourself. If you do, and after a few months you discover that you're not getting the same benefits, you may need to chalk it up to genetic and physiological differences. There is no one-size-fits-all diet for cholesterol control. You may need to try several approaches to find one that works for you.
Although diet can be a simple and powerful way to improve cholesterol levels, its results may differ from one person to another.