Understanding Cholesterol and How to Manage It
Cholesterol plays an important part in our body’s function and development but too much of it can lead to serious health problems. It is important to understand how a high level of cholesterol affects our body, the factors that increase your risk, and how you can manage your cholesterol levels to prevent health complications.
High cholesterol levels do not have symptoms but risk factors include the following:
- Age – Men over 45 years old and women over 55 have a higher risk of having high cholesterol levels.
- Health conditions – diabetes and other health conditions, including family history increases your risk.
- Weight and poor diet – being overweight and eating unhealthy food elevates your cholesterol level.
- No Exercise – exercise keeps your blood circulating at a rate that prevents development of plaques around arterial walls. You are likely to have high cholesterol levels if you do not exercise.
Consult with your doctor if you fall under one or more factors mentioned. Your doctor will most likely ask questions about your lifestyle, eating habits, family history, and then run tests if necessary.
There are two things that you need to change in your lifestyle if you want to manage your cholesterol levels. You have to start eating healthy and exercise more. Here are some tips on what food to get and the types of exercise you can perform to keep your cholesterol levels in check:
Diet -here are some foods that you should include in your diet because they help lower and maintain your cholesterol levels.
- Almonds – rich in unsaturated fat and increases your good (HDL) cholesterol.
- Orange Juice – has phytosterols, a compound that helps reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol.
- Olive Oil – contains antioxidants and monosaturated fats that lower LDL cholesterol.
- Steamed vegetables – steaming vegetables like asparagus, okra, carrots, green beans, eggplant and cauliflower was found to lower LDL cholesterol levels.
- Oatmeal – the popular cholesterol fighting food is rich in fiber that prevents cholesterol from being absorbed in the bloodstream.
- Blueberries – this food is found to keep your arteries plaque-free.
- Tomatoes – consume at least 25 milligrams of Lycopene-rich food everyday and you will lower your bad cholesterol.
- Avocado – this fruit helps lower LDL and triglycerides while increasing your HDL cholesterol.
- Dark Chocolate – if you like dessert, choose dark chocolate because it contains antioxidants that lower bad cholesterol.
Exercise – physical activity is important in lowering and maintaining a healthy cholesterol level. Here are the types of workout that can help you with your cholesterol levels:
- Increase HDL with exercises like swimming, cycling, walking, and aerobic exercises.
- Cut your LDL cholesterol with aerobic workouts and resistance training.
- Lower triglyceride levels with moderate intensity workouts. Sometimes, going up and down your office stairs or doing house chores is enough to increase heart rate.
Maintaining your cholesterol by choosing a healthy lifestyle lowers your risk of developing diseases like cardiovascular diseases. Take care of your body, watch what you eat, and visit your doctor to ensure that your cholesterol levels are always in check.