Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But if you have too much of cholesterol in your blood, it may stick to the walls of your arteries and narrow or even block them. This puts you at risk for coronary artery disease and other heart diseases.
Risk factors for cholesterol include lack of physical activity, being overweight or obese, smoking, eating processed and junk foods, presence of diabetes type 2, kidney disease or hypothyroidism.
How to lower cholesterol level ?
Lifestyle modification is proven to be the simplest way to lower cholesterol level:
🍴Losing extra weight is the first step to adopt. Research has revealed that losing just 5 to 10 per cent of existing body weight was linked to lower cholesterol level and decreased the risk of cardiovascular diseases in obese individual.
🍴A whole-food-based nutritious diet is crucial for optimal health. Adding nuts, seeds, legumes, green leafy vegetables, beans, fruits to the daily diet will keep the blood cholesterol level in control. Foods that are high in cholesterol like egg, liver, shellfish are packed with important nutrients and should be included in the daily diet with caution to avoid these for people living with diabetes. A personalised consultation with a certified dietitian is the best course of action to decide frequency of eating, amount of each food and composition of the diet.
🍴Be careful of trans fatty acids. Almost all processed and ultra-processed foods like pizza, cookies, biscuits, instant noodles, French fries, and fried chicken are high in trans fatty acids and increase the risk of heart diseases, a leading cause of death worldwide.
🍴Exercise regularly. Exercise can raise HDL cholesterol level. If you’re overweight, try to lose weight. Excess weight tends to increase your LDL level which is directly linked to higher cholesterol.
🍴 Avoid saturated fat and trans fat in your diet. They are usually present in deep fried and proccessed foods. Instead, try adding healthier fats in your diet, such as lean meat, nuts, and unsaturated oils like canola, olive, and safflower oils.
There are many controllable and uncontrollable factors when it comes to higher cholesterol; heredity, age and sex are uncontrollable factors. So, let’s focus on the factors you can control; i.e the above mentioned ones. Lifestyle modification can be used to treat a range of diseases, including cholesterol.