Cholesterol is an important component of cell membranes and has different functions in the human body, however high levels of cholesterol circulating in the blood are harmful and can damage the arteries and lead to many cardiovascular diseases. Nowadays, blood cholesterol level estimation is a routine test that is recommended for everyone over the age of 20, every few years. People with high cholesterol numbers are at a great risk of heart diseases, stroke, diabetes and many other diseases and are therefore advised to regulate their cholesterol, often my medication. While the medicines work, they have a number of side effects and are also not the best choice of treatment. Any medicine would only work best if combined with a strictly regulated diet.
Some of the key steps one may follow to lower their cholesterol are as follows:
1. Regular physical activity
While some people might not have time to hit the gym everyday or even go for a run, however it is absolutely critical to include some form of moderate physical activity in your daily schedule. Something as simple as walk (brisk walking) can do wonders. Exercise or activity, does not effect cholesterol directly, but it raises the metabolism, and increases the number of calories you expend; also strengthening the cardiovascular system. It is important however to maintain some sort of regularity with your activity routine. 3 hours of workout in 1 day is not as good as 1 hour of work out every other day. You can try to increase the duration it slowly as you go. Regular exercise or activity not only helps in lowering of the LDL (bad cholesterol), it will also help in increasing the HDL or good cholesterol numbers.
2. Eat healthy
The key is to avoid fatty foods and saturated fat, incorporate some amount of fiber in your diet and also eat more fruits and vegetables instead of lean meat and whole grains instead of processed flour or bread. A low fat diet is the most important part of monitoring your cholesterol.
3. Eating fish or cod liver oil also helps in lowering cholesterol via omega 3 fatty acids.
4. Nuts such as walnuts and almonds also help in lowering cholesterol. However most of the dry fruits are rich in calories, so the total intake per serving should be closely limited.
5. No smoking:
Cigarette smoke not only damages your lungs directly, it also interacts with the circulating cholesterol for building up of plaque that causes blockages. Also smoking decreases the good HDL cholesterol in the body.
6. De-stress and relax.
Chronic stress can affect the body in many physiological ways and one of them is by having a direct impact on cholesterol.
7. Consider medication after a consultation with your doctor.
Everyone’s case could be different, and some people might need immediate attention and a medical intervention in order to avoid dangerous consequences. Medications are not always bad, in fact are necessary at times. It is only important to check yourself and not blindly rely on medications. Your doctor would help you design a treatment plan that works best for you, which may include medicines to start with, which you maybe able to slowly decrease or stop after you bring about serious lifestyle modifications and start seeing results. Self-intervention and a disciplined diet along with exercise are the best ways to check your cholesterol and remain disease-free.