High cholesterol is a problem for a growing number of people and poses a risk for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the world.
The good news is that high cholesterol can be prevented and reduced by lifestyle changes.
Here are some habits that can help you lower your cholesterol levels.
Reduce saturated fat intake and eliminate trans fats.
Saturated fats increase LDL cholesterol known as bad cholesterol. They are found mainly in animal products, but also in some bakery products that contain saturated vegetable fats, such as palm and coconut oil. The five main sources of saturated fats are cheese, ready-made desserts (cakes, muffins and ice cream), chicken, pork and hamburgers.
Trans fats are a form of unsaturated fats, which are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. They also increase bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol. Most of them are formed in an industrial process.
Get more healthy fats
Replace saturated and trans fats with healthier fats, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and omega-3s. Olives, olive oil, avocados and nuts are good sources of unsaturated fats. In this way, you can reduce bad cholesterol (LDL), increase good cholesterol (HDL) and consequently reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects and can be especially beneficial for cardiovascular health. By substituting meat and getting more omega-3 fatty acids, you can lower bad cholesterol, lower triglycerides, and increase good cholesterol.
Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, sardines and herring. Their plant sources are flax seeds, nuts and chia seeds.
Consume more fiber
Soluble fiber – which is found in oats, barley, beans, lentils and many fruits and vegetables – reduces cholesterol absorption by binding to cholesterol in the digestive tract and preventing its digestion. Therefore, a diet rich in soluble fiber can significantly lower cholesterol levels.
Exercise helps regulate body weight, improve mood and lower blood sugar, and can also increase good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. According to the instructions, adults should exercise at least 150 minutes a week at a moderate intensity.
Consume more plant protein:
Choose plant proteins like beans, lentils and tofu. Animal products are not the only source of protein. We can get all the necessary proteins by eating plants.
Pay attention to body weight:
Lose weight if necessary. Not all people with high cholesterol are overweight, but if you have it or are obese, even a small weight loss can improve your cholesterol.