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Cholesterol 102

We’re back on the topic of cholesterol. In our previous article, we went through the basics of cholesterol. What it actually is and how it affects our health.

Now we’ll be going abit further in depth on cholesterol management. Understanding that health issues related to cholesterol are largely due to our diet, proper care of our cholesterol levels means being watchful of our eating habits. The main goal cholesterol treatment is lowering your LDL level enough to reduce risk of coronary disease. In general, the higher your LDL level and the more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of developing heart disease or having a heart attack.

Here as some of the risks factors that make us susceptible to high cholesterol levels:

Diet – Consumption animal products such as red meat, milk, butter, eggs, cheese contain saturated fat. You will also find saturated fat in packaged and processed foods like margarine, palm oil, vegetable shortening, cookies, chips and fast foods. Weight – Excess weight tends to increase LDL, lower HDL and also increase total cholesterol levels. Getting rid of belly fat can go a long way in reducing risk for high cholesterol. Activity level – lack of exercise can lead to weight gain which in turn cause increase in LDL and total cholesterol levels. Hereditary – Genetics determine how fast LDL is made and removed in your body. If one or more of your parents or grandparents have high cholesterol levels, it puts you at risk too. Age and sex – Starting at puberty, men have lower levels of HDL than women. As women and men get older, their LDL cholesterol levels rise. Younger women have lower LDL cholesterol levels than men, but after age 55 they have higher levels than men. Stress – Stress over the long term has been shown in several studies to raise blood cholesterol levels. One way that stress may do this is by affecting your habits. For example, when some people are under stress, they console themselves by eating fatty foods.

Now that we recognise our risks factors, what can we do? Here are three changes that we’ve consistently found across various sources that can helping us keep our cholesterol levels in check before considering medication/drug treatment:

1. Diet

oatmeal

Being vigilant on watching your eating habits by staying away from high cholesterol foods plays a large if not the largest role in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Also, studies have shown that fatty fish, walnuts, oatmeal, and oat bran can help control your cholesterol. Some studies have shown that a diet combining these “superfoods” may work as well as some cholesterol-lowering medicines to reduce your LDL cholesterol levels

2. Exercise

run in the park

Regular physical activity is recommended for everyone. It can help raise HDL and lower LDL and is especially important for those with high triglyceride and/or low HDL levels who are overweight with a large waist measurement. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic exercise and more than two days a week of muscle strengthening activities.

3. Lifestyle

healthylifestyle

Stop smoking, reduce alcohol consumption and get enough sleep. In general, making more health conscious lifestyle decisions can make a huge difference. Although often the results aren’t experienced immediately, but making positive lifestyle changes will no doubt bring you better health in the long run. So, if you haven’t already been keeping a good watch on your cholesterol levels, with the information and suggestions here, we’d suggest you do so right away.

If you missed our previous article on the basics of cholesterol, here’s a link to get you up to date:

http://getactive.com.my/2013/07/cholesterol-101/

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/ http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol/CL00002 http://www.health.com/health/ http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/

 

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