We all must have heard the phrase, “A healthy heart, a long life” and we couldn’t agree any less to it in this article that throws light on the ways to lower bad cholesterol. We all know that bad cholesterol can cause some real harm to our body and mind, isn’t it? Yet we find ourselves dwelling into the cravings for all things that are oversweet and other things that can be termed as junk food. When was the last time you set your mind to work on reducing your bad cholesterol levels only to give up as it requires some serious efforts and money as well? Cannot count, isn’t it? Well, we need to admit that this change cannot happen over time, and most importantly it cannot happen without any dedication from your end.
We love eating and what if we told you that food alone can help lower your bad cholesterol in a much effective way? Yeah! We’re not kidding people! Food is magical and they can fix health problems too; remember “you are what you eat.” But first, let’s understand what bad cholesterol is and how it can be in some simple ways.
What Is Bad Cholesterol?
First of all, let us tell you that eliminating cholesterol as a whole isn’t the idea here. Cholesterol is very much required in the body. It is the liver that makes cholesterol for it has many important functions to play. For example, cholesterol is a key ingredient in the making of several hormones and also it ensures that the walls of the cells are flexible. However, just like how anything that is too many causes harm in the body, even cholesterol does. Cholesterol when begins to accumulate in all the wrong places in the body can be a cause of serious worry.
Fat can dissolve in water whereas cholesterol cannot. Instead, cholesterol is transported throughout the body by lipoprotein molecules, they carry it in the blood. Now, what we need to understand is that there are different kinds of lipoprotein and they have different effects on our body too. For example, in the case of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), when it is at high levels, it tends to get deposit cholesterol on the walls of the blood vessels. This can lead to serious damages in the body like clogged arteries, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failures, etc. many people refer to this LDL as bad cholesterol. The only grace about this bad cholesterol is that you can reduce it if you follow a fat-free diet regularly.
Simple Ways To Get Rid Of Bad Cholesterol
Now that we know that increased levels of LDL can lead to blockage in arteries which in turn can lead to stroke, heart disease, and even arterial diseases like arteriosclerosis, let’s take a look at some of the ways that will help us get rid of the bad cholesterol.
- Eat Heart-healthy Foods
Minor changes in eating habits will do. For example:
- Reduce Saturated Fats: These fats are found primarily in full-fat dairy products, red meat and can raise the bad cholesterol levels. Decreasing the consumption of the same can lead to lower levels of LDL.
- Eliminate Trans Fats: These fats are listed on food labels by the name “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil”—these are present in the store brought food items like margarine, cookies, crackers, cakes, etc. These trans fats are known to raise the overall levels of cholesterol in the body.
- Eating Foods That Are Rich In Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These don’t affect the LDL levels of cholesterol in our body. In fact, they provide various other heart-healthy benefits like lowering blood pressure levels of the body. Food examples are herring, mackerel, walnuts, salmon, and even flaxseeds.
- Increasing Intake Of Soluble Fiber: It is known to decrease cholesterol absorption levels into the bloodstream of the body. Soluble fiber is found in foods like brussels sprouts, apples, oatmeal, kidney beans, pears, etc.
- Increase Physical Activity And Exercise On Most Days Of The Week
Exercise has always been known to improve the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) in the body. Working out every single day for at least 30 minutes or at least five times a week is enough to burn the excess fat and improve good levels of cholesterol in the body. Consider:
- Indulging in your favorite sport
- Riding your bicycle to the nearest grocery store instead of taking your car out
- Brisk walking every day after you’ve eaten lunch
Working out in groups helps in staying motivated.
- Lose Your Excess Weight
If you’re carrying just a little of those extra pounds, that too contributes to high levels of cholesterol in the body. The smallest of the lifestyle changes that you make add up. If you’re used to drinking sugar beverages, switch to infused water by adding a few mint sprigs and a wedge of lime in your water bottle. You can snack on air-popped popcorn instead of fries.
Look at methods to incorporate more physical activity that will help you lead an active life and stay fit without gaining weight.
- Eat Your Vegetables, Fruits, And Nuts
Avocados and nuts are excellent sources of unsaturated fats and they are the ideal healthy snacks. Here are a few categories of foods that are soluble fiber-rich and traps the bad cholesterol and eliminates it from the body:
Soluble fiber-rich foods:
- Kidney beans
- Dark leafy greens
Always make sure that you are getting enough servings of vegetables, fruits, and nuts every single day.
Sometimes in certain cases, healthy lifestyle changes will not be sufficient. In such cases, it is best advised to consult your doctor and take the medication that is prescribed to help manage the cholesterol levels in your body. Good lifestyle changes can help you lower the amount of medication with time. The key here is to be consistent with whatever good changes and habits you start.