How Can I Lower Cholesterol Levels?
Lowering the levels of cholesterol goes a long way in reducing the risk of heart disease and aids in a longer, healthier life. But is it easy to lower the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) in blood? Before we begin, please remember that cholesterol is needed by the body in small amounts for making new cells and hormones, and also for protecting the neurons. Normally we get cholesterol from certain foods such as meat, eggs, and milk. But levels of this compound increases with the intake of foods containing trans fats, saturated fats, and even simple sugars.
Here are few tips to regulate the levels of cholesterol in blood:
- Choose healthy foods – Include foods that stimulate the production of good cholesterol, HDL. Foods containing monounsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids are ideal for this. Include more avocados, almonds, fish, and flax seed in your for healthy fats.
- Restrict the intake of coffee – Increased coffee intake is shown to raise the levels of cholesterol by about 6-8%. People who indulge in coffee or caffeinated products were found to have higher levels of fatty acids in their blood which ultimately results in higher cholesterol levels.
- Opt for low-glycemic foods – Diet rich in carbohydrates decreases the level of good cholesterol ‘HDL’. Making the diet more balanced with plenty of protein, fiber and good fats is the right choice to have a good balance. Include more of whole grains and beans in the diet.
- Regular exercise – Moderate exercise for 30 minutes every day is needed to maintain cholesterol levels in blood. Physical activity stimulates good cholesterol to take harmful LDL cholesterol to the liver for destruction.
- Shed extra pounds – Losing weight helps in reducing the ‘bad’ cholesterol levels in blood.
- Quit smoking – Smoking has been found to be associated with low levels of ‘good’ cholesterol. Quit it for a healthier life.
- Avoid stress – Learn and try relaxation techniques and do not allow stress to drain you. This will reduce the ‘bad’ cholesterol and improve the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol.
- Eat a lot of fiber – Soluble fibers in our diet improve the levels of HDL cholesterol and decrease the levels of LDL cholesterol. High-fiber foods also help in losing extra weight which in turn helps in reducing the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol.
To put it in a nut shell, a healthy diet with regular exercise is all that is needed to reduce the levels of the cholesterol in blood.