7 Tips for Lower Cholesterol: How to tweak nutrition and exercise for heart health

Cholesterol management depends on your choice of the right food and exercise & nbsp | & nbsp Image source: & nbspiStock Images

the main points

  • Some foods deliver soluble fiber into the digestive system, and it binds cholesterol and removes it from the body through digestion before it enters the circulation.
  • You need to know what foods are good for cholesterol balance and control. This writing also shows what exercise is good for you.

High cholesterol can make your body feel like a time bomb. While we can’t see that waxy substance sticking to the inner lining of our blood vessels, cholesterol continues its silent march as a risk factor for both heart disease and stroke.

Nobody is advocating sickness and ill health knowingly. But as we move into the rhythm of life, regular checks sometimes are missed and that’s when the silent killers sneak in. High cholesterol, like high blood sugar, is a silent thief that saps health gains before you notice, causing a lot of damage.

Not all cholesterol is bad. These lipids (fats) are necessary in small amounts for many vital functions such as:

  • Building cell membranes.
  • making hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and adrenal hormones,
  • Helping our metabolism function efficiently,
  • To help the body produce vitamin D, etc.

The villain in this piece is low-density lipoprotein, or LDL (bad) cholesterol, which contributes to plaque buildup along with triglycerides, another type of fat. The plaques can threaten blood flow to the heart, brain, legs, or kidneys, leading to heart attack, stroke, or even death. The other type of cholesterol is high-density lipoprotein, or HDL (the “good”) cholesterol that reverses LDL and inhibits plaque buildup. So, next time you read your lipid profile report, check if your HDL is on the higher side and your LDL is within the healthy range. That would be a good balance.

To reduce your risk of heart-related emergencies, we report to you what Cleveland Clinic (USA), one of the world’s finest hospitals, shares on its website. If you want to learn tips on lowering cholesterol through diet and getting the most from exercise, here’s what Kate Patton (registered dietitian) and Michael Crawford (exercise physiologist) recommend.

  1. Reduce the use of animal fats: According to Heart.com, eating a lot of saturated fat can raise the level of bad cholesterol in the blood. A high level of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in the blood increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. This type of fat is usually solid during the winter. Saturated fats are found in animal foods such as beef, pork, poultry, full-fat dairy products, eggs, and tropical oils such as coconut and palm. So, do not consume processed meats such as bologna, salami, pepperoni and sausages, as well as fatty red meats such as ribs and cuts of beef, veal or lamb. Chicken or turkey skin and full-fat dairy products such as whole milk, cheese, cream, sour cream, cream cheese, and butter—all contain saturated fat as well as cholesterol, both of which are linked to high cholesterol and plaque buildup.
  2. Fiber is good for you: According to the Mayo Clinic, soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. Eating a few foods that contain fiber (such as a breakfast cereal with oatmeal, oatmeal, or oat bran) helps reduce bad cholesterol. In the gut, soluble fiber can bind to bile (which is made up of cholesterol) and remove it. Eat more ground flaxseeds, psyllium, barley, dried beans and legumes, fruits, and whole grains.
  3. Nothing compares to a good veggie meal: Stop eating meat, poultry, fish, eggs and cheese and say yes to plant-based protein like beans, lentils, tofu or quinoa. According to a report in Harvard Health, a “largely vegetarian portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods” significantly lowers LDL, triglycerides, and blood pressure. The main food ingredients are plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains rather than highly refined, mostly plant-based protein.
  4. Do not eat carbohydrates: Research shows that a low-carb diet can help you lose weight and reduce cardiovascular risk factors. Choose high-fiber carbohydrates such as oatmeal, whole grain starches, beans, lentils, and whole fruit, which will provide the energy you need but also keep you feeling full. Aim for a maximum of 1 cup of starchy foods, or fruit, but vegetables that are low in calories and high in fiber. – At what time
  5. Lose weight and improve health: If you are overweight or obese, any weight loss helps lower your bad cholesterol. Even a small to moderate weight loss — just 10 to 20 pounds — can have an effect. Start by cutting out excess starch in meals and eating lean protein instead. Start thinking about plate size, serving sizes, number of servings, etc. Eat fruit instead of drinking juice. Only eat when hungry.
  6. Activity is the key: Do up to 90 minutes of cardiovascular exercise daily for optimal heart health and weight loss. Choose any sport you like and can do – walking, cycling, jogging, trekking, etc. Once you have safely mastered moderate-intensity exercise, consider high-intensity interval training (HIIT) one to two times per week. Emerging research suggests that this type of training can improve the benefits of moderate-intensity exercise, particularly for increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. If you can keep your exercise consistent, you can see your triglyceride levels drop. Triglycerides are the only fats in the cholesterol profile used for energy. They decrease an average of 24 percent with regular cardiovascular exercise.
  7. Use the apps, if you like: Many great technology tools can give you feedback by tracking your physical activity and what you eat, as well as many important health metrics. Smartphone apps often contain exercise tracking, motivation techniques, calorie tracking, and tips. But remember that no device or app can substitute for the good lifestyle choices of healthy eating and adequate exercise.

Warning note: Always consult a doctor before beginning any exercise routine. Also, do not overdo the exercises. Listen to your body. If you experience chest pain, pressure, tightness, severe shortness of breath, dizziness, or heart palpitations, stop exercising and see a doctor.

Disclaimer: The advice and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or dietitian before starting any fitness program or making any changes to your diet.

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