Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in all the cells of our body and it looks like fat. Cholesterol is necessary since it helps our body to produce hormones that, consecutively, promotes a better digestion of food and also vitamin D.
On the other hand, it should be noted that the body itself produces the necessary cholesterol and there are many foods that contain this substance.
If you have high blood cholesterol, it can stick to other substances in your blood to form plaque. This is dangerous because it sticks to the walls of your blood vessels, producing a disease called arteriosclerosis, narrowing of the coronary arteries and many more.
What can increase my risk for high cholesterol?
- Family history: there is a genetic risk of inheriting cholesterol problems, although eating habits can have a lot to do with it.
- Age: Cholesterol problems generally appear as you get older, but it is not always like that; children and young people can also have high cholesterol levels.
- Weight: Being overweight or obese significantly increases your cholesterol level.
- Alcohol: Drinking regularly can dramatically increase cholesterol levels.
- Tobacco: the use of cigarettes reduces the amount of good cholesterol or HDL.
- Diet: A diet high in trans fat or saturated fat leads to increased cholesterol levels. Trans fat is found in packaged snacks or desserts, saturated fat is found in non-fat dairy products and fatty cuts of meat.
Some changes you can do
- Reduce saturated fats: these are found in dairy products and red meat and increase cholesterol levels. A decrease in the intake of these fats will help you reduce bad cholesterol, which are actually low-density lipoproteins.
- Reduce trans fats: better known as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and used in cookies, margarines and cakes. This type of fat greatly increases cholesterol levels.
- Consume more fiber: this can help reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood and we can find it in foods such as beans, apples, pears, oats, and many more.
- Consume whey protein: this is found in dairy products. Administered as a supplement, it can help lower blood cholesterol levels and even help with blood pressure.
- Add omega 3 to your diet: It can help you improve your heart health and lower blood pressure. Foods that contain this type of nutrient are mackerel, salmon, herring, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
It is known that being overweight can be very dangerous for people with high cholesterol. In this case, making a few small changes to your diet could bring great benefits, one of these may be avoiding sugary drinks, junk food and other types of food that are not natural. This could be replaced with something healthier, such as very low calorie or low fat foods, remember to always keep an eye on your calorie count.
Along with the diet, you could add physical activity as a supplement, thus making a big change in your life. You can start with small changes first, like taking the stairs and not the elevator or on your breaks walking a little, also stretching to relax the muscles a bit. What you should do is try to be active, such as taking your dog for a walk, watering your garden or even going shopping with your children, family or friends.
Cut down on alcohol
- The use of alcohol in excess is harmful to health, since it contributes to the generation of bad cholesterol (HDL). Quitting alcoholic beverages will have a positive impact on your life and you will notice it.
- If you are a consumer of alcohol, try to reduce it little by little, drink moderately. Try to be sober for a few days, you see a way to change this habit in your life, remember that this can create addiction and there would be a bigger problem. If you think this is a problem, see your doctor. There is nothing wrong with recognizing when we are doing wrong.
- Excessive alcohol consumption can cause different health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart failure, strokes, and many more.
It is already known that cigarettes are harmful to health. In this case, quitting can have a great benefit in lowering blood cholesterol levels. One of the benefits are the followings:
- Just a couple of minutes after you quit smoking, your blood pressure will return to normal levels, as smoking can create a drop in your blood pressure.
- Three months later, your lung activity and blood circulation will begin to improve.
- One year after quitting, your risk of heart disease drops considerably.
Exercising has many health benefits, one of them is to significantly lower blood cholesterol levels. Exercise promotes the formation of good cholesterol. You can add some aerobic activities to your daily life to try to improve your health, if you have doubts, do not hesitate to consult your doctor for a more personalized recommendation.
Cholesterol problems can be serious if you do not take action, the first step to combat it is to maintain a balanced eating plan, consuming more healthy fats and avoiding saturated fats that can be found in some foods, such as dairy, meat, fried foods, and some processed foods. In short, foods of animal origin are the ones that can contribute the most to raising your blood cholesterol levels.
The consumption of fiber can have benefits for you, because they act directly on the digestive tract, helping to absorb cholesterol. Fiber-rich foods are apples, whole-grain cereals, and legumes such as beans, garbans, or lentils. Diet plays a crucial role in lowering cholesterol.
In general, eating a healthier diet, more physical activity, and losing weight will help to significantly lower cholesterol levels without the need for medication.
It is possible to lower blood cholesterol levels, but you must be willing to make certain changes in your life to help you do this.
If you are not able to lower cholesterol levels naturally, it is best to talk to your doctor to try some type of medication for this.