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Cholesterol is a type of fat found in the body as well as come food items. Cholesterol is essential for the body as it acts as the building block of cell membranes. However, too much cholesterol in the bloodstream can be dangerous. Cholesterol is one the leading causes of blocking of arteries. Cholesterol forms a plaque on the artery walls and thus causes the arteries to get constrict reducing the blood flow to the heart, thereby increasing the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Therefore, it is important to maintain a balance of the cholesterol levels in the blood. One of the best ways to control cholesterol is by taking a healthy diet and by leading a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy Lifestyle Tips for Cholesterol Control:
Limit the intake of foods with saturated and trans-fats: Saturated and trans-fats increase the cholesterol levels in the blood and also increase the risk of heart diseases. Thus, a diet which does not include saturated and trans-fats is recommended to control cholesterol levels. Also foods rich in dietary cholesterol like egg yolks, meat etc. must be avoided. Instead, one must include foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega- 3 fatty acids help in lowering triglycerides as well as LDL cholesterol which is the bad cholesterol found in the bloodstream.
Include fiber-rich foods in the diet: A healthy and well-balanced diet includes a lot of fibers as well. Foods rich in soluble fibers are known to lower cholesterol levels significantly. Fiber rich foods like oats, barley, peas, beans etc. help to lower LDL cholesterol and raise the HDL. The fibers in these foods reduce cholesterol absorption in the blood stream and thus help to control cholesterol levels.
Include protein rich foods in the daily diet: Protein-rich foods like beans, legumes, soy, and nuts help to lower cholesterol levels. These reduce the LDL, keep blood sugar in check and also help to raise the HDL cholesterol thus maintaining a balance in the cholesterol levels found in the bloodstream.
Indulge in physical exercise: Exercising and practicing aerobic exercises for about 30 minutes a day can help to reduce cholesterol levels significantly. Exercising helps to lower LDL cholesterol and thus balance the total cholesterol levels in the blood.
Lose as much weight as possible: Losing weight is considered good for all reasons. It is essential to lose excess fats to lower the cholesterol levels in the body. Excess fats are a leading cause of increased cholesterol levels and also increase the risk of heart diseases.
Drink green tea: Green tea is considered to be very effective in lowering cholesterol levels. The tannins found in green tea help to lower cholesterol levels. Green tea also contains catechins that lower the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines and thus help to lower LDL cholesterol. Green tea, therefore, contributes in maintaining a balance of the total cholesterol levels.
Take plant sterols: Plant sterols are structurally similar to cholesterol and help in reducing cholesterol absorption in the intestines. Thus, the plant sterols help in lowering LDL cholesterol by a significant margin. Plant sterols can be included in the diet by consuming foods like grains, vegetables, fruits etc.
Opt for psyllium: Psyllium is a bulk –forming natural dietary fiber which helps to lower overall LDL cholesterol levels. Psyllium forms a gel-like substance that removes cholesterol from the gut and thus helps to control cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Psyllium is easily available as a natural dietary fiber supplement.
Increase the intake of olive oil: Normal oils must be replaced with olive oil when it comes to lowering cholesterol levels. Olive oil is rich in oleic acid which is a monounsaturated fatty acid. Oleic acid helps to lower LDL cholesterol and thus maintains a proper balance of cholesterol level in the bloodstream.
Include garlic in the diet: Garlic is believed to lower blood cholesterol by a significant level, especially in healthy individuals. Garlic acts on serum cholesterol and lowers it to a great extent. Thus, garlic helps to control cholesterol levels and also helps to protect against heart attacks and strokes.
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