With the ever increasing incidences of High cholesterol levels (termed as hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidemia) in the blood is an alarming sign towards getting prone to heart related conditions like heart attack, high blood pressure etc. High cholesterol levels in the blood is commonly seen in middle aged working population leading a stressful lifestyle combined with irregular eating habits, sedentary habits, chronic smoking, alcoholism.
Cholesterol plays a vital role in secretion of various hormones like cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, aldosterone etc and enzymes of the body, thus helping in regulating the immunity and defense system of the body. Another major function is the transportation of lipoproteins through the bloodstream to the various parts of the body. It plays an important role in synthesis of Vitamin D 3 which is responsible for development of bones.
There are two kinds of lipoproteins- HDL and LDL. Having both types of lipoproteins is healthy for the body.
So, the higher the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood, the greater is your chance of getting a heart disease. The higher the level of HDL cholesterol, the lower is your chance of getting heart disease.
One of the major cause for high cholesterol levels is the faulty diet intake which once corrected can easily help maintain normal range of cholesterol levels. One of the essential steps towards maintaining or reducing the levels is regular meal timings ie every 3 to 4 hours in a day. Attention to the quantity of your food intake which should be proportionately suitable to your lifestyle. The amount of intake should be equal to the amount of calories or the type of activity one follows throughout the day.
One should include a diet rich in proteins, fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants in your diet. The following is a list of food sources one can include in the diet:
1) Garlic: Known to reduce total and LDH cholesterol levels.
2) Walnuts: Rich in omega 3 fatty acids helps in maintaining the flexibility and the elasticity of the blood vessels.
3) Oatmeal or oat bran: Provides adequate fiber to the body, thus helping the blood vessels in circulation of blood to various parts of the body.
4) Flax seeds: One of the richest source of omega 3 fatty acids, one teaspoon per day helps lower high cholesterol levels.
5) Avacados: Rich in antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids, helps improve the immune system and strengthen the blood vessels.
6) Beans and lentils: Another rich source of proteins and fiber, provides maintaining elasticity of the blood vessels and formation of blood cells.
7) Onions: Helps raise HDL cholesterol levels and helps burn fat.
8) Berries: Rich source of antioxidants helps lower LDH cholesterol levels. One serving each day along with cereals would be a good and healthy breakfast option.
9) Fish: Tuna/salmon – Another rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, helps reduce cholesterol levels in the arteries and blood vessels. Regular intake helps in lower the risk of coronary heart diseases.
10) Olive oil, Canola oil: Contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help in drastic reduction of LDL cholesterol.
As the old proverb goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure’, along with the dietary changes, other lifestyle changes one can incorporate are:
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