Cholesterol is one of the most important types of fat found in the body and is needed by the body to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help digest food.
Cholesterol does not cause complications when its levels are kept within a specified limit. However, when this substance is increased in the blood, it can lead to health complications. Additionally, high cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease and heart attack, explains the Mayo Clinic research institute.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in the United States, if cholesterol begins to cause health complications, it is usually due to unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as eating a diet high in fat or processed foods, in combination with genes that are inherited from parents.
Medication can help improve the amount of cholesterol in the blood, but one of the best ways is to work on changing habits, as this comes with medication, if they are needed, it will help to quickly improve the condition.
Changes in the food consumed are decisive and therefore saturated fats, which are found mainly in red meat and whole dairy products, must be eliminated. “Reducing your saturated fat intake can lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the ‘bad’ cholesterol,” states the Mayo Clinic.
Likewise, avoid trans fats which are used in margarines, cookies and cakes.because they tend to raise general cholesterol levels.
In exchange, you should increase your intake of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which, although they don’t have a direct impact on cholesterol, have other heart health benefits, including lowering blood pressure. Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts and flax seeds.
The Healthline portal states that flax seeds and flax seed oil contain high levels of alpha-linolenic acid. It is an omega-3 fatty acid that may help reduce the risk of heart disease. He assures that some studies suggest that preparations with this seed can help lower cholesterol, especially in people with high levels of this substance and in postmenopausal women.
It is also essential to increase the consumption of soluble fiber, which can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into the blood. Soluble fiber is found in foods such as oatmeal, beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears. Likewise, it is beneficial to add whey protein, which is found in dairy products.
Other Key Habits
In addition to dietary changes, exercise is essential and can help improve cholesterol levels. Moderate physical activity can raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as “good” cholesterol. The ideal is to perform at least 30 minutes of daily exercise, five times a week.
Another habit that needs to be changed is smoking. If people smoke, ideally they should quit, because according to experts at the Mayo Clinic, the effects will be seen quickly. For example, within 20 minutes of quitting smoking, blood pressure and heart rate recover from the cigarette-induced peak; Within three months of quitting, blood circulation and lung function begin to improve, and a year later the risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker.
Maintaining a healthy weight is also crucial. Having a few extra pounds, even if they are few, contributes to hypercholesterolemia, so the ideal is to avoid fat, minimize the consumption of sugary drinks, do not eat in excess, in addition to doing some exercice. All added up, it helps to lose weight or stay within an ideal weight.