Having high cholesterol levels is one of the primary risk factors for heart attack, stroke, and other life-threatening health problems. Keeping your cholesterol levels under control is an important step in staying healthy. Cholesterol is a special type of fat you need for the cells in your body to function properly. Managing high cholesterol early, is one of the best things you can do to live a healthy life, as lower cholesterol levels reduce not only the risk of heart disease, but also the risk for cancer.
Your cholesterol and triglyceride levels can change slowly over time and you will have no idea that they are high, so it is very important to have your levels checked regularly especially if you are at risk for high cholesterol.
Managing high cholesterol
According to research, twenty-five percent of your cholesterol comes from your diet, and the other seventy-five percent is made in your liver. You want to have high levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, and low levels of the dangerous LDL (bad) cholesterol.
When LDL or bad cholesterol circulates in the blood stream, it sticks to the walls of the arteries and hardens into a fatty layer called plaque. When this plaque accumulates, blood flow may become too slow or stop completely. This can result in a heart attack. According to research, your LDL or bad cholesterol should be 130 and your HDL or good cholesterol should be above 40. It also stated that an HDL or good cholesterol above 60 can protect against heart disease.
What should you look out for
Because there are usually no signs or symptoms of high cholesterol, many people don’t know that their cholesterol level is high. Your doctor will tell you how often you should be tested. The higher your risk for heart disease, the lower your LDL goal will be. Your doctor will tell you what your goal will be and develop a plan for you to follow to treat your high cholesterol. If your cholesterol is high, you may need to make long term goals to decrease it. You can lower your cholesterol levels by sticking to a diet low in saturated fats, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and getting your daily exercise to maintain lower cholesterol levels. If your cholesterol is not controlled with diet and lifestyle changes, your doctor may recommend medications that you can take to help with your cholesterol. You should take your medication as prescribed for its desired effect.
What should you eat to help
People who eat lots of plant -based foods tend to have lower rates of chronic diseases, like heart disease and cancer. Studies show that eating as little as three ounces of fish at least twice a week provides the body with protection. Fish contain fats that thin the blood and help prevent heart disease. The omega-3 acids in fish like salmon, tuna, and herring can help lower your blood pressure and heart rate. Omega-3 also reduce your risk of heart disease, lower your risk for stroke, and may help to protect you from cognitive decline in your latter years. You can eat seeds such as sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and pistachios to decrease your LDL or bad cholesterol.
Decrease fats in your diet
Other good sources of fiber include, pinto beans, red kidney beans, brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes. Saturated fats, which are found in animal foods such as red meats, whole milk, egg yolks, butter and cheese, can increase the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood. Experts recommend decreasing the amount of fats in your diet and have moderate amounts of mono-unsaturated fat, like the kind found in avocados, olive oil, and canola oil can lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. As you cut back on the amount of high-fat food you eat, you will need to supplement your meals with other foods like legumes (beans and lentils), various foods such as pasta, rice, bread, noodles and more vegetables and fruits.
High-fiber, high carbohydrate foods will fill you up with fewer calories and much less fat, and they may also help control your blood-cholesterol and blood sugar. It is suggested that you can eat one to two small fistfuls of raw unblanched almonds (1 to 2) ounces a day to reduce your cholesterol levels.
What to do to get healthy and stay healthy
Everybody has some cholesterol in his or her blood but it’s when the levels get too high that your heart and blood vessels are at risk. Too much cholesterol forms plaque which clogs your blood stream and this can lead to heart attack and stroke. Get your cholesterol level checked early to find out if it is too high, don’t wait, do something about it before it gets worse. You can start out with your diet and lifestyle changes. Your doctor can discuss measures you can take to lower your cholesterol. If you are overweight, your doctor may advise you to watch your calorie count to lose weight. Obesity can increase your blood cholesterol level and it is also linked to other risk factors such as high blood pressure and stroke.
Get moving for your HDL
Studies have shown that exercise can help to increase your HDL (good) cholesterol and also help you to lose weight and lower your blood pressure. Obesity can increase your cholesterol levels. Going for walks for at least thirty minutes to an hour, three or four times a week, can boost your HDL (good) cholesterol and help to prevent heart disease.
You can have high cholesterol for many years without symptoms, so it is very important to have your blood cholesterol level checked regularly. Your doctor will recommend how often you should have this done. If your cholesterol level is high, Your doctor will suggest ways for you to bring your levels down, such as staying on a healthy diet and exercise daily to bring your levels lower. Managing high cholesterol, should help you find ways to manage your cholesterol levels to live a much healthier life. Your life could depend on this.
Delores Powell: My passion is all about Health and Wellness, success, and to help others succeed as well.