Simple Tips To Lower Bad Cholesterol

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For decades now, cholesterol has mainly enjoyed a bad reputation while at a center of health and medical attention. The main reason for such bad publicity is that with increased amounts of processed foods and a fast-food diet combined with an unhealthy lifestyle, bad cholesterol has been one of the main causes of heart and coronary diseases, among other health-related issues.

bad cholesterol, tips to reduce bad cholesterol

Cholesterol crystals, photo courtesy of Yale Rosen via Flickr

What is cholesterol and why is it bad for us?

Cholesterol by itself is not bad. It’s a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all cells of our body. It travels through our bloodstream in small packages called lipoproteins. There are two kinds of lipoproteins carrying cholesterol throughout the body: low-density lipoproteins (LDL)-sometimes referred to as “bad” cholesterol since high LDL levels lead to a buildup of cholesterol in our arteries; and a high-density lipoproteins (HDL)-sometimes called “good” cholesterol since it carries cholesterol from other parts of our body back to our liver, which removes the cholesterol from our body. For good health, it’s essential to maintain healthy levels of both types of lipoproteins. However, having high LDL cholesterol increases our chance of getting coronary heart disease.

Here are a few tips how to lower the LDL cholesterol level:

regular exercise, tips for lowering bad cholesterol1. Regular exercise: Since exercise stimulates enzymes that help move LDL from the blood and blood-vessel walls to the liver where cholesterol is converted into bile (for digestion) or excreted, the more you work out, the more LDL gets removed from your body. Try to incorporate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (such as running, swimming, fast-walking or bicycling) and two days of muscle strengthening activities (such as yoga or Pilates) into your weekly program.

foods for lower cholesterol, healthy diet2. Healthy and balanced diet: Healthy and balanced diet helps maintain your overall health, not only heart and coronary. Establishing these good habits at your home for yourself and for your kids will go a long way, and doesn’t have to sacrifice your taste or enjoyment of dining. Try some of these ideas that will also help lowering bad cholesterol:

  • Eat a fiber-rich breakfast such as oatmeal, granola, wholegrain muffins or fruit. If you buy conventional products in your grocery store, get into habit of reading nutrition labels and choose products with at least five grams of fiber per serving. Oat bran and rice bran are the most effective.
  • Replace white-flour products with whole or multi grain, such as wholegrain breads, pizzas, pastas, crackers, bagels, muffins and pancakes.
  • Eat legumes at least three times a week: meals like bean soups or stews, cold bean salad, hummus and bean dips as snacks are an excellent source of protein. Soy protein is especially beneficial, soy milk, tofu and textured soy protein are also good.
  • Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day: for example: a banana with breakfast, an apple for morning snack, veggies salad with lunch, handful of dried fruits for afternoon snack and cooked vegetables with dinner. Whole fruits and veggies with skin have many more nutritional benefits than pressed juices or peeled produce.
  • Opt for lean meats such as poultry; reduce weekly amounts of pork and red meats.
  • Include fish in your weekly diet plan: Fish is low in fat, high in protein and an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. Eating at least two servings weekly may reduce cholesterol levels as well as the risk of other diseases ranging from childhood asthma to prostate cancer.
  • Include garlic and onion in your diet: garlic in both cooked or raw form contains compounds that help lower liver’s production of cholesterol. Raw onion is also very beneficial.
  • Include foods high in monounsaturated fats that help lower cholesterol levels such as salmon, olive oil, almonds, walnuts and avocados.
  • Eat plenty of foods rich in natural antioxidants vitamins C and E, such as red and green peppers, cantaloupe, sunflower seeds, walnuts, strawberries, papaya, almonds, peanuts, oranges, grapefruit, wheatgerm, soybeans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, wheatgerm oil or soybean oil.
  • Avoid products containing trans fats completely and opt for products with low amount of saturated fats as they both raise levels of bad cholesterol.
  • Include healthy oils in your diet, such as olive oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, and cocoa butter. Each of these oils  provides health benefits in a different form-some are beneficial raw, some are great for cooking, so check each one first before using it. Also, some oils are high in fat and should not be used in excess.

3. Moderate consumption of beer or wine: Research has shown that small amounts of wine or beer-one to two drinks a day, helps control cholesterol levels. However, risks of too much alcohol consumption far outweigh that benefits and it is only recommended that, if you do drink, you shouldn’t get carried away.

4. Avoid smoking tobacco products: Cigarette smoking as well as secondhand smoke both lower good HDL cholesterol levels. Smoking itself increases the risk of coronary artery and other diseases in people with high cholesterol.

We hope you can get inspired by the abundance of healthy and yummy recipes on our site, and set a good example to your children when it comes to healthy eating habits and lifestyle.

simple tips to lower bad cholesterol, healthy habits

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