Did you know that a poor diet, or even genetic issues, are often the cause of high cholesterol levels? What if you could figure out which foods you should start integrating into your eating plan or which foods you should avoid? And would you like to know other mechanisms to have cholesterol controlled? Learn here how.
Having high cholesterol levels implies extra care, both in terms of nutrition and in changing daily habits. There are two types of cholesterol, LDL – the so-called bad cholesterol – and HDL – the good cholesterol, and both levels must be balanced in our body.
The first step is to quit smoking, exercising regularly and focusing on a balanced diet. These are three solutions that will help you maintain the levels in the desirable values. However, you need to learn that there are foods that help to control, but there are others that do just the opposite. So let's start with what you should do with your diet.
Foods that can be cholesterol’s best friends
In the first place, if you feel more comfortable, make an appointment with a nutritionist so they can help you create an adapted eating plan and that will help you learn which foods are the best suited for your clinical condition.
Nevertheless, here you’ll have some tips so you can start improving your eating habits. You can, for example, get used to eating more vegetables (such as kale, onions, beetroot, cabbage, artichoke and broccoli). Besides that, they all have antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties and help maintain healthy arteries.
It’s needless to say that fruit consumption is essential, at least two or three pieces a day. Fruits like apple, pomegranate, pear, grapes, strawberries, citrus, banana or berries are rich in soluble fibers and they will help you reduce your LDL cholesterol level.
Nuts - like walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts and hazelnuts - are recommended, since they are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids that help lower cholesterol.
There are alternatives that might be a little more difficult to adapt to, but prioritize whole grain bread, cookies, and cereal, all rich in fibers. For the wellness of your cholesterol, avoid eating charcuterie, salty or sweet snacks or processed foods which are high in saturated fats and sugar.
It is also fundamental that your meals include more fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna and mackerel, all of them are rich in omega 3. Start to decrease your meat consumption and give preference to white, lean meats, such as chicken and turkey.
Finally, choose olive oil, vegetable oils and vegetable shortening, over lard or butter. Olive oil, rich in antioxidants, can reduce the “bad cholesterol”, increase HDL and, therefore, should be the chosen fat at home, for cooking.
Exercise is an important ally on cholesterol control
It’s unnecessary to alert you to the dangers of a sedentary life, since it is well-known that it is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. This is why it’s so important to exercise regularly. It will reduce high cholesterol and increase the “good cholesterol”, maintain your cardiovascular health stable, and help you feel better with yourself.
The most important thing is that you don't forget that the physical activities must always be adjusted to each body, and therefore, you should choose to have a specialist's advice first. It is recommended that you exercise at least three times a week for about 40 minutes as, once again, it will help lower your cholesterol.
In addition to all these tips, it is essential that you periodically perform clinical tests, in order to understand if the LDL and HDL cholesterol values are within the indicated values. Moderating your alcohol consumption is also important, as is ensuring you get seven to eight hours of sleep a day.