Cholesterol is a soft, waxy, fat like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body. Too much of cholesterol results in a buildup of fatty materials and debris on the arteries wall narrowing the arteries or even blocking them. High cholesterol puts you at risk of heart diseases and stroke. Factors responsible for high cholesterol are genetic makeup, inactivity, obesity, an unhealthy diet. Here are some tips to lower cholesterol.
Eat healthy diet
Eat a healthy heart diet that includes plenty of vegetables and fruits.
Choose low fat free milk, cheese and yogurt.
Limit intake of salt and sugar.
Consume less saturated fats, which comes from animal products such as, cheese, fatty meats, dairy desserts.
Try to stay away from trans fats. Sources of trans fats are baked foods ( cookies, crackers and cake), snack foods ( microwave popcorn), fried foods.
Limit foods high in cholesterol, including fatty meats and organ meat such as, liver and kidney.
Eat foods rich in omega -3 fatty acids. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, mackerel, walnuts, almonds and ground flaxseeds.
Increase fiber to your diet. Good sources of soluble fiber include fruits, legumes, dried beans, flaxseeds, oats, lentils and vegetables.
Physical activity help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol. Taking a brisk walk during a lunch hour, riding a bicycle to work, swimming, playing sports can help lose weight. Even taking stairs instead of the elevator or doing some sit ups while watching television can make a difference. Find a exercise friend or join an exercise group to stay motivated.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being obese increases the risk of high cholesterol. Carrying even a few extra pounds contributes to high cholesterol. Start evaluating eating habits and daily routine. If you eat when you are bored, take a walk instead. If you choose fast food restaurants for lunch every day, pack some healthy foods from home. Replace potato chips with a carrot sticks for snacks.
Cigarette smoking damages blood vessels, speeds up the hardening of the arteries and contributes to heart diseases. Quitting smoking lowers the risk of heart disease. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you smoke, quit it immediately.
Limit alcohol intake
If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. If you do not drink, do not start. Drinking too much alcohol raise your cholesterol level contributing to stroke, high blood pressure, heart failure.
Do not skip meals
Study indicates that cholesterol levels increase when you eat fewer meals. Furthermore, skipping meals may also contribute to overeating later in the day contributing to obesity.