Fight Cholesterol with few easy tips
Always thought cholesterol is bad, fat is bad. But have you thought why? what makes it bad? how much of it makes it bad? Cholesterol and fats play important role in body but it’s difficult to understand how much of it is useful and how much of it is harmful. Let’s learn some simple tips that will help you deal with your cholesterol problems says Sports Nutritionist Krupali Shah
Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found among the lipids in the bloodstream and in all the body’s cells. It is important to the healthy functioning of our bodies. It is needed to form cell membranes and hormones. Cholesterol is carried through our blood by particles called lipoproteins: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). High levels of LDL cholesterol lead to atherosclerosis increasing the risk of heart attack and ischemic stroke. HDL cholesterol reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease as it carries cholesterol away from the blood stream.
What is Blood fat?
Triglyceride is the most common type of fat in the body. Normal triglyceride levels vary by age and sex. But if you have heart disease or diabetes you are likely to have high levels. High levels of triglyceride combined with high levels of LDL cholesterol speed up atherosclerosis increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.
|Total Cholesterol Level||Category|
|Less than 200 mg/dL||Desirable level that puts you at lower risk for coronary heart disease. A cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or higher raises your risk.|
|200 to 239 mg/dL||Borderline high|
|240 mg/dL and above||High blood cholesterol. A person with this level has more than twice the risk of coronary heart disease as someone whose cholesterol is below 200 mg/dL.|
Hyperlipidaemia is just the medical word for a high level of fat in the blood.Generally speaking this means the same thing as high cholesterol (hypercholesterolaemia) and/or triglyceride measurements.Hyperlipidaemia itself does not really cause symptoms, but it does put some folk at risk of developing other problems as they grow older.
The consequence of hyperlipidaemia is that with time it can predispose to the clogging-up of blood vessels, known as atherosclerosis, and this increases your risk of coronary heart disease and strokes (cardiovascular risk).
However, the latest scientific view is that the level of cholesterol alone is not the whole story.
Your risk of future heart disease also depends on many other factors that influence the health of your blood vessels and circulation.
It turns out that there is both good and bad cholesterol and it is the relative amounts of each that is important. Other medical and lifestyle influences make ‘bad cholesterol’ (LDL cholesterol) very much more of a problem.
Such influences include the presence of smoking, hypertension (high blood pressure) or diabetes, lack of exercise and a family history of heart disease or stroke (under the age of 60 years)
You can reduce cholesterol with medications, but if you’d rather make lifestyle changes to reduce cholesterol, you can try these five healthy lifestyle changes. If you’re already taking medications, these changes can also improve their cholesterol-lowering effect.
Carrying some extra pounds — even just a few — contributes to high cholesterol. Losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can help significantly reduce cholesterol levels.
Start by taking an honest, thorough look at your eating habits and daily routine. Consider your challenges to weight loss and ways to overcome them.If you eat when you’re bored or frustrated, take a walk instead. If you pick up fast food for lunch every day, pack something healthier from home. If you’re sitting in front of the television, try munching on carrot sticks instead of potato chips as you watch. Take time and enjoy rather than “devouring” your food. Don’t eat mindlessly.
Always look for ways to incorporate more activity into your daily routine, such as using the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Take stock of what you currently eat and your physical activity level and slowly work in changes.
Eat heart-healthy foods
Choose healthier fats. Saturated fats, found in red meat and dairy products, raise your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol. As a general rule, you should get less than 7 percent of your daily calories from saturated fat. Instead, choose leaner cuts of meat, low-fat dairy and monounsaturated fats — found in olive, peanut and canola oils — for a healthier option.
Eliminate trans fats. Trans fat can be found in fried foods and many commercial baked products, such as cookies, crackers and snack cakes. But don’t rely on packages that are labeled “trans fat-free.” In the United States, if a food contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, it can be labeled “trans fat-free.” Even though those amounts seem small, they can add up quickly if you eat a lot of foods that have a small amount of trans fat in them. Instead, read the ingredients list. You can tell if a food has trans fat in it if it contains partially hydrogenated oil.
Limit the cholesterol in your food. Aim for no more than 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day — less than 200 mg if you have heart disease or diabetes. The most concentrated sources of cholesterol include organ meats, egg yolks and whole milk products. Use lean cuts of meat, egg substitutes and skim milk instead.
Select whole grains. Various nutrients found in whole grains promote heart health. Choose whole-grain breads, whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat flour and brown rice.
Stock up on fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are rich in dietary fiber, which can help lower cholesterol. Snack on seasonal fruits. Experiment with veggie-based casseroles, soups and stir-fries. If you prefer dried fruit to fresh fruit, limit yourself to no more than a handful (about an ounce or two). Dried fruit tends to have more calories than does fresh fruit.
Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can help lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Some types of fish — such as salmon, mackerel and herring — are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, almonds and ground flaxseeds.
Exercise on most days of the week
Whether you’re overweight or not, exercise can reduce cholesterol. Better yet, moderate physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol. With your doctor’s OK, work up to at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Remember that adding physical activity, even in 10-minute intervals several times a day, can help you begin to lose weight. Just be sure that you can keep up the changes you decide to make. Consider:
Taking a brisk daily walk during your lunch hour
Riding your bike to work
Playing a favorite sport
To stay motivated, find an exercise buddy or join an exercise group. And remember, any activity is helpful. Even taking the stairs instead of the elevator or doing a few situps while watching television can make a difference.
Quit smokingIf you smoke, stop. Quitting may improve your HDL cholesterol level. And the benefits don’t end there. Just 20 minutes after quitting, your blood pressure decreases. Within 24 hours, your risk of a heart attack decreases. Within one year, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker. Within 15 years, your risk of heart disease is similar to someone who never smoked.
MedicationsSometimes healthy lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower cholesterol levels. Make sure the changes you choose to make are ones that you can continue, and don’t be disappointed if you don’t see results immediately. If your doctor recommends medication to help lower your cholesterol, take it as prescribed, but continue your lifestyle changes.
A major exercise effect on blood cholesterol levels appears to be an increase in HDL-C as a result of aerobic training. This change is very important because HDL-C is the most critical determinant of CHD. As health and fitness practitioners, designing exercise programs that alter the individual’s blood lipid and lipoproteins in a positive way is an important component to be included in your program objectives. Unfortunately, the missing part of the puzzle is just how much exercise is needed to raise HDL-C. Until specific recommendations based on further research are developed, we recommend following ACSM guidelines for frequency, intensity and duration of exercise because these are the most current and scientifically-documented recommendations. In addition to regular physical activity, you can help your clients develop a low-cholesterol living style by advising them about wise food choices, effective weight control measures, and other health-risk factors.
By Krupali Shah